The Best Time Is Now!
One of the most common concerns that we face as pet owners is the challenge of finding a good vet. Your vet should be your closest ally in your quest for a healthy and happy pet, so it’s important to find one that you can trust and that puts you and your dog at ease.
Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research to ensure that the vet you choose will be the right one for you and your dog. Hopefully, this will be a long-term relationship, so take a little time to ensure that you choose wisely.
Word of mouth is the best way to start your search. Ask friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers that you personally know and trust and give evidence of being a good caregiver to their pets. However, be sure to ask them the basis of their decision; their criteria may be different from yours.
Online searches will list the vets in your area, but please don’t be fooled by the rankings for 1 simple reason: Every clinic sees thousands of clients (some 10,000+) per Doctor, per year, yet these reviews are written by only 5 to 10%, or less, of their practice; clearly not the best criteria for making a safe and informed decision about your pet’s healthcare.
Things To Consider
Now you’re ready to conduct your “interview.” As you begin, please remember that interviews are always two-sided. Don’t be afraid if your questions seem awkward or unnatural. Although they are important, what’s even more important is the opportunity for you and the vet to get to know each other. A good vet is going to realize this and appreciate your taking the time to shop around for the quality care you need and deserve.
Things To Ask
Ask whether the vet is available in emergencies, and if so, how can you contact him. If he is not available, does he have a suggestion for emergency care? Is there an emergency hospital nearby? It is critical to have this information on hand before an emergency strikes; don’t wait until you’re in a situation where every minute counts. Some other important questions:
• Is he familiar with your pet’s breed?
• Is he familiar with your pet’s particular condition?
• Is there more than one vet working in the office?
• Do they have specialties?
• Can you request a certain vet?
• Can you meet all the vets?
• Do they offer any other services such as boarding or grooming?
• What are his fees for routine services like check-ups or vaccinations?
• Does he accept major credit cards?
• Will he allow you to make payments if your pet requires an expensive surgery or treatment?
• Are you comfortable with his responses?
• Does he explain well or does he dismiss your questions?
Things To Look For
• Is the examination room (and its floor) clean and orderly?
• Has the table been wiped after the last patient left?
• Does the vet perform a check-up on your pet during the first visit? (This includes feeling your pet all over for suspicious lumps or bumps, checking the eyes, ears, teeth, and heart)
• Does he ask questions about your pet’s general health?
• Does he take a medical history?
• Does he rush the check up (or not do it all)?
• Does he talk down to you?
• Is he comfortable with your pet?
• Is your pet comfortable with him?
• Does the staff have a good rapport with your pet?
• Is this vet able to examine your pet without causing him too much stress?
Once you have decided which vet to use, promise yourself that you and your pet will visit him regularly. Keep him informed of any changes that may occur. Never be afraid to ask questions or even get a second opinion if you feel the need. By taking an active part in your pet’s health care now, you should be able to keep your friend with you for many years to come.