By Nicole Pajer
Next to you, the most important person in your dog’s life is their veterinarian. Do your 4-legged friend a favor and put his best interests at heart when selecting one.
Here are 10 things to look for in a good vet.
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 experience, inquire about what types of continuing education they have completed.
Select a vet that is able to spend quality time with you during your appointment so that you leave the office feeling comfortable that all of your questions and concerns were addressed. Avoid vets that overbook appointments and dedicate a measly 5 minutes to your needs.
Make sure that you are able to pop in as an emergency walk-in should your dog happen to have an unexpected accident. Is the vet available to take phone calls if you have any questions? If you call and asked to be considered for a cancellation does the office attempt to fit you in?
Depending on location, clientele (celebrity vs. lower income), size of facility, etc. veterinarian offices can mark up the prices of standard procedures such as vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries. Check to make sure that your vet offers a fair and standard market price. Ask if the veterinary office accepts pet insurance and whether or not flexible payment plans are available for expensive emergency procedures.
6. 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 the issues associated with them (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 to if something isn’t within their area of expertise?
It’s important to find a vet that is compassionate and genuine. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person and will want someone who is 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 make sure that 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 give you a phone call to let you know that your dog is due to come in for a shot or an annual check up. An organized veterinarian office will also follow up to see how your dog is healing after his latest surgery or if his latest ailment going away after finishing prescribed medication.