Most people think of their veterinarian as a doctor for their pet, which is accurate in many ways. However, veterinarians are more than just doctors. They are also educators, nutritionists, and advisers on all things pet-related. So when it comes time to choose a vet for your beloved animal companion, it is essential to do your research.
There are many factors to consider when making this decision, from location to cost to the types of services offered. The most important thing is to find a veterinarian who you feel comfortable with and who has the knowledge and experience to meet your pet’s needs. Take your time finding the right one – it could be the difference between life and death for your furry friend.
Points to Consider When Selecting a Vet
The best time to find a vet is before you need to use their services. If you plan to move, find one before you pack the boxes-nothing worse than trying to find help when you are stressed, worried, and in a new area. Here are some items to consider as you begin your search.
Ask around. Get referrals. Does anyone you know go to that particular vet? Check out Yelp.com and read reviews on similar sites. Have people had positive experiences with the veterinarian’s services? What did they like/dislike about the vet?
It is crucial that you double-check that your veterinarian attended an accredited school and earned a Veterinary Medicine degree. A framed diploma should be displayed prominently in the office. Look for a vet that is established and not a recent grad. For vets with 20+ years of experience, inquire about what types of continuing education they have completed.
Select a vet that can spend quality time with you during your appointment so that you leave the office feeling comfortable that all your questions and concerns are addressed. Avoid vets that overbook appointments and dedicate a measly 5 minutes to your needs.
Make sure you can pop in as an emergency walk-in should your dog have an unexpected accident. Is the vet available to take phone calls if you have any questions? If you called and asked to be considered for cancellation, does the office attempt to fit you in?
Depending on location, clientele (celebrity vs. lower income), facility size, etc., veterinarian offices can determine the prices of standard procedures such as vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries. Check to ensure that your vet offers a fair and average market price. Ask if the veterinary office accepts pet insurance and whether or not flexible payment plans are available for expensive emergency procedures.
Clean & Sanitary Facilities
This should be a no-brainer. You don’t want to set foot into an animal care center unless it is clean, tidy, and, most importantly, sanitary. If you are waiting for your appointment and notice urine and blood on the floor, it’s time to take your dog elsewhere.
Is the vet familiar with your particular breed of dog and its associated issues (e.g., luxating patella in small dogs, hip dysplasia in German shepherds, etc.)? Do they have a team of credible specialists ready to refer you if something isn’t within their expertise?
It’s essential to find a vet that is compassionate and genuine. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person and will want someone understanding and sympathetic when helping you face difficult decisions like having to put your dog down.
A good veterinarian should go above and beyond to ensure your dog is healthy. You want a vet that will run additional tests and check for all of those “highly unlikely but could be possible” scenarios.
Between work and family life, remembering to keep up with things like your dog’s vaccination schedule is tough. Many vet offices will send out reminder letters and phone calls to let you know that your dog is due to come in for a shot or an annual checkup. An organized veterinarian office will also follow up to see how your dog is healing after his latest surgery or if his latest ailment is going away after finishing the prescribed medication.
When you bring your pet to the vet, you want to be sure that it will be treated with care and compassion. The staff at your vet’s office should make you feel welcome and put your pet at ease. They should also be professional and knowledgeable so that you can trust them to provide the best possible care for your animal friend. Take some time to get to know the staff at your vet’s office and observe how they interact with your pet. If you feel comfortable with them, and they seem to have genuine concern for your pet’s wellbeing, then you can be confident that you’ve found a good team of people to care for your furry friend.
What to Do Before Committing to a Veterinarian
Deciding on a veterinarian is an important decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, you’re entrusting the care of your beloved pet to someone else, and you want to be sure that they will receive the best possible treatment. When looking for a vet, it’s important to do your research. Read online reviews, talk to friends and family, and visit the office in person to get a feel for the environment. Once you’ve found a few potential candidates, take the time to ask lots of questions. Find out about their qualifications, experience, and policies. Be sure to also ask about their approach to pet care. Do they believe in preventative medicine? Do they have experience treating animals with special needs? By taking the time to find the right vet, you can ensure that your pet will receive the best possible care.
Questions to Ask
During your in-person visit, ask plenty of questions, so you’re not surprised when something comes up. Here are some questions we encourage you to ask.
- Do you have a pharmacy?
- Do you offer dental care?
- What is your policy for payment?
- Do you take walk-ins?
- How many veterinarians do you have?
- Do they do procedures and tests on-site?
- What is the cost of an office visit?
What If I Have An Issue with My Veterinarian?
If you have an issue with your current vet, the best thing to do is have open communication. Please sit down and talk to them about your concerns, listen to what they have to say, and ask questions. If you’re still not happy, you have the right to get your records and look for another vet. The most important thing is finding a vet you’re comfortable with and who you can trust.
Places to Find Suggestions for a Vet
A local breed club can be an excellent resource for finding a recommendation for a vet office. They often maintain relationships with local veterinarians who might be a wonderful fit for your pup.
Your Current Veterinarian
Before you move, it is crucial to find a new veterinarian. Ask around your current practice or look online for reviews of the closest vets available in your new town. You should also ensure that your pet’s medical records are sent to the new practice before you switch. This will ensure they have access to their research and will help in case any future emergencies arise.
With so many vets to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your pet. However, by taking the time to do your research and ask around, you should be able to find a vet that you and your pet are comfortable with. Once you’ve found a good vet, stick with them! Building up a relationship with your vet is important for both you and your pet. How or where did you hear about your pet’s vet?