New pet owners certainly are a lot like new parents - the slightest cough or sniffle of their new "baby" sends them running for your doctor's (or vet's) office. That is perfectly natural. The bacteria lands on heart valves and causes heart failure.
The Humane Society of the United States Of America has its own criteria for veterinary clinics that you could integrate to your own. Digging is really a way through which dogs cool themselves.