Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the most significant decisions any pet owner will face. There are so many important factors to consider when choosing who you will trust with your pets health.
Our pets can't tell us what's wrong when they are feeling ill, so you have to rely on the knowledge, experience, and understanding of your veterinarian. This is why choosing a good one is so crutial.
Unfortunately, not all vets share the same love and passion for their trade. In any industry, there are good and bad professionals. It should be your goal to find the best veterinarian who will suit your pets needs. Here are some tips on how to find the right vet.
Choosing Your Veterinarian: 12 Things To Consider
Does The Veterinarian Come Referred By A Family Member Or A Friend?
It's a great when your vet comes referred to you by a trusted source. That fact you know someone who has experienced their service and thinks highly enough about it to send you their way speaks volumes. No one will refer a bad veterinarian. If they have had a bad experience, it's not a place they would ever promote. So consider highly recommended vets as great place to start your search.
Have You Looked Into The Veterinarians Reviews or Accrediations?
These days everything can be found online with a quick google search. Take some time to plug your vets name into a search engine and see what comes up. Also try looking up clinic reviews, and reviews of the veterinarian specifically. Often times when visiting the clinic, the vets certifications will be displayed for clients to see, take notice.
What Are The Clinics Hours?
Make sure to choose a clinic that has flexible hours. If you work a full time job with set or sporadic hours, you want to know that you can make time to see the vet at least one day out of their weekly schedule. Are they open past 6:00PM any day of the week? Are they open on Saturday or Sunday? This will be important when you are making appointments, or if your dog is on a special medicated diet / prescription that you need to purchase directly from your vet. You want to make sure the hours don't limit you from getting what you need.
What Procedures Are The Clinic Licensed To Preform?
You should always be aware of which practices are available at your local clinic. Typically veterinary clinics are certified to preform spaying/neutering, vaccinations, diagnosis and various treatments, X-rays, etc... But consider any other possible needs. Can they preform or call someone in for ultrasounds, dentistry, more invasive surgical practices, nutrition counselling, grooming, etc... Make sure you are aware of everything they have to offer.
How Does The Clinic Price?
Unfortunately procedures are not a set price. Each clinic will determine their pricing guidelines. You never want to go to a clinic because they are 'cheaper'. But if they are reputable and lesser in cost, win! However hard to find, they do exist. If they price higher, make sure it's with reason -- this must mean they are highly certified and have successfully been in business for quite some time. Always ask for their pricing beforehand to prevent shock, as we know, vet bills can be extremely pricy.
Does The Clinic Accept Pet Insurance?
Over the years the use of pet insurance has increasingly grown. More companies are offering insurance options, and flexible plans for your furry friend. Make sure your vet of choice accepts whichever insurance provider you are with. Many clinics will partner with a specific insurance provider, but this doesn't mean they won't accept others. Don't be afraid to ask.
How Are You And Your Pet Greeted By The Vets, Vet Techs, And The Office Staff?
When you walk into the clinic do you feel welcome? The way you and your dog are treated speaks volumes. Generally those who work at a veterinarian clinic have a love for animals, and this should show in your interaction with them. The veterinarian and vet techs should be enthused to see your animal, they should also be overly friendly towards them, providing a happy and safe place for them to be. After all, they are the ones poking and prodding your pet, for them to feel happy and safe is key.
Does The Clinic Offer After Hour Medical Service? How Do They Handle After Hour Emergencies?
Some veterinarian clinics consider themselves an 'animal hospital'. This of course is to an extent. This could mean they have an after hour emergency contact that will allow you to reach a veterinarian, or even call them into the clinic after hours. In other instances, your local vet may just refer you to a 24 hour animal hospital. Some animal hospitals are open 24/7 where as others operate after hours, generally 6:00pm - 8:00am. Be aware of where they refer you, and do your research on the hospital. Search local hospitals and gather information, you never know when you will need to call them, this isn't something you want to be unprepared for.
Is The Clinic Clean And Well Presented?
Walking into a clinic and having it smell of animal urine, or other odd smells is quite unappealing. How do you trust a clinic to care for your dog if they can't maintain their building? Animals are very sensitive to smell, especially when it comes to other breeds. You don't want to bring them to a place that will cause a panic with smell. This is of course up to your discretion, if you prefer a clean clinic, factor that into your search.
If You Happen To Need A referral To A Specialist, How Is That Handled And Who Do They Refer You To?
Veterinarians usually build a rapport with one another. Perhaps they met in school or from working together at another clinic. They will generally refer you to the speciality service in a time of need because they are a trusted source. So ask who they will refer in a time of need, and what hospital or clinic they work out of. You can then do your internet research and see if you are happy with this association.
Does The Clinic Offer Any Type Of Payment Plan For Large Procedures?
As we know, vet bills can add up rather quickly. It's always good to know if your vet will allow you a payment plan in a time of need. Some treatments can reach the $10,000 mark quite easily, if this happens are you prepared? What if you don't have pet insurance, will this payment be an issue? It never hurts to ask up front. Always prepare yourself for any possible situation.
Does The Clinic Offer Boarding Services?
At times we may have leave town on business or we decide to take a vacation, and unfortunately we are unable to bring our fur-babies with us. Who do we leave our pets with if a family member or a friend is unable to watch them? We have to trust boarding services. If your clinic provides boarding services you'll want to know if the animals are monitored 24/7, or if they are left in a cage overnight. Will a staff member come in to let them out for a walk/pee? When will they be fed? Are they left in a cage all day? If they have an accident, will their bed, blanket, or toys be washed immediately? Ask all of the important questions prior to boarding. Make sure your pet is well taken care of.