Like finding a doctor for yourself, finding the right veterinarian for your pet can be nerve wracking, especially if this is your first pet or you’re unfamiliar with the veterinary options in your area. You’re obviously looking for a caring, empathetic vet as well as a clinic that is convenient for you and has great hours.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started in your vet search
Ask Others in the Area
Get recommendations from friends, co-workers, neighbors in the area who also own pets and think the same way you do about them. They’re likely to want the same things in a vet that you want.
Ask Your Veterinarian
If you’re moving to a new area, ask your current vet for recommendations. They are likely to know of some good people in the field where you are going or they might know who to ask.
Tour the Facility
Like any hospital, you want a place that is clean, comfortable, and up-to-date. The hospital should be proud to show off their facility and want you and your dog to feel comfortable. Further, if they care for multiple types of animals, they should be separated into different spaces.
Get Acquainted with Each Other
When you’ve chosen a specific place to try, get a checkup for your pet. This lets you and your pet get to know the veterinarian. If they know your pet while they are healthy, they can better take care of your pet when they are not. Further, if your pet knows the vet beyond when things are bad, they’re less likely to be fearful of the place or them.
Beyond these steps, there’s some questions you can ask the veterinarian to determine if it is the right place for you.
Can you request an appointment with a certain veterinarian? The answer should be yes.
Do you have a large network of specialists if needed? The answer should be yes.
What is your telephone policy? They should have educated staff available to answer your questions over the phone. But you should always be able to leave the veterinarian a message to call you back.
What is your response to emergencies? If your pet has a serious emergency (automobile accident), the hospital should be able to see you immediately or arrange for your pet to go to another hospital that can.
How long should I have to wait to schedule a routine appointment? Most practices should be able to schedule an appointment within a couple days to a week, depending on how busy they are, and how urgent your pet’s needs are.
What types of payment methods do you offer? Ask the practice to make sure that they are set up to accept the types of payments you need.
Do you have an email system where I can schedule appointments and ask questions? An increasing number of practices offer online services. Ask to see if they offer these types of services.
We love our pets and finding the right vet can seem intimidating at first, but asking these questions and following these suggestions can help you find someone you and your pet are comfortable with.
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