The Incredible Dr. Pol

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Incredible Dr. Pol TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Rural vet's life is positive entertainment for older kids.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There are great messages throughout the show about taking pride in your work, putting your talents to good use, and helping others. Dr. Pol is selfless with his time and shows compassion toward his patients. Another major theme is empathy. The series' setting in rural Michigan exposes viewers to the realities of farm life and encourages respect for the challenges that face those who grow and produce the food we eat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's easy to admire Dr. Pol in both the professional and the personal sense. He works hard at a job that he loves, he appreciates his coworkers, he's a champion for animals, and he's a dedicated family man.


Scenes aren't violent, but cameras follow Dr. Pol as he performs surgical procedures on animals large and small, so there's a good deal of blood and close-up views of draining abscesses, cuts, prolapsed organs, and a host of other maladies. Many of the scenarios are life and death for the animals, and the farmers and doctors talk frankly about the patients' chances for survival. Animals are shown in pain and frightened. Sensitive areas are blurred by the camera, as when the doctor forces a bulging uterus back through a cow's vagina.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Incredible Dr. Pol is a reality series that follows a veterinarian on routine exams and emergency farm calls, and cameras capture the dramatic moments as he works to save the lives of animals of all shapes and sizes. Although the changing nature of the content makes it hard to predict its appropriateness for younger viewers, you can expect a fair amount of blood and other bodily fluids as doctors work to save animals teetering between life and death due to illness or injury. This is a real know-your-kid situation, since many of the medical procedures (draining abscesses, sewing stomachs to the inside of a belly, and anesthetizing an aggressive animal, for instance) may confuse and potentially frighten youngsters who aren't familiar with them, but if this is part of your family's culture (through farming, for instance), it won't have the same effect. If your kids can handle the content, though, this is a great series you can both enjoy, and there are quality messages about the rewards of hard work, respectful living, and fostering good relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byscole2019 March 29, 2019

Great and informative show

I love the show but I get upset with Charles the son, he could do more to help his dad. I feel like he is either scared of the animals or lazy. He stands aroun... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byLana L. July 11, 2018

There are some discrepancies in the claims

In one of the first shows, Dr. Pol emphasizes that it's "pets first, and people and money second." In a later episode (Season 2) a man brings in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCLEETUSyeetus March 21, 2021

Pretty bloody, but it's not violent

Educational very. Bloody yes. Violent no. Some one said Charles dident do much and just stood around while his dad did the work. That's cuz he has zero vet... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byGabriel0328 July 11, 2019

Great show

My grandma introduced me to this show on Christmas a couple of years ago. I loved the show and still do now, there are pretty gross things in this show like dra... Continue reading

What's the story?

Farmers in rural Michigan lay claim to THE INCREDIBLE DR.POL, a veterinary legend in Dr. Jan Pol, a seventy-something modern-day James Herriott whose dedication to his some 18,000 patients (and their people) is an anomaly in modern medicine. Whether it's a dog suffering the effects of a run-in with a porcupine or a cow with a life-threatening case of pneumonia, Dr. Pol treats every patient with kindness and a no-nonsense attitude that endears him to the farmers and pet owners who trust him with their animals. The series follows Dr. Pol in the exam room and on farm calls as he works tirelessly to keep the animals in good health and the farmers seeing profits. Dr. Pol's team includes his wife and office manager, Diane; his son, Charles, who's visiting from California to help out in the clinic; and Dr. Brenda Grettenberger.

Is it any good?

There are few TV personalities who model the good life quite like Dr. Pol. A relentless go-getter with impressive stamina, he's generous with his time and uses his considerable skills and knowledge to help others. The effect of the care he gives extends beyond the animals he treats, and he takes as much pride in helping the farming community stay profitable as he does in bringing a patient back from the brink of death.

The Incredible Dr. Pol is positive, life-affirming reality TV that's great for families, but only if your kids can handle the true-to-life drama that surrounds the doc's work. The series doesn’t shy away from showing close-ups of surgeries and medical procedures like manual replacements of prolapsed organs or taking a rectal temperature, and it does raise the issue of death when the content warrants it. If your kids are OK with this kind of thing, though, this is a worthwhile series that has great messages about personal fulfillment and strong communities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about communities, like the one in The Incredible Dr. Pol. What kinds of jobs are essential to the success of a community? How do people rely on each other? What happens to a community if a few of the people leave?

  • Kids: What do you want to be when you grow up? What personal fulfillment do you hope to get from the job? Is money a factor in your decision? Why or why not? How will you be able to help others in this career?

  • What can we learn from reality shows like this one? What do you think was Dr. Pol's motivation in doing this show? Is it possible to get an accurate sense of a person's character through the TV screen? Does Dr. Pol seem believable?

  • How does The Incredible Dr. Pol promote empathy? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals and reality

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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