Your veterinarian should become your pet’s second-best friend. Finding the right veterinarian and office will make for a positive experience for both you and your pet and visits will become something you both look forward to. Nothing brings peace of mind quite like knowing your pet is in good hands when it comes to their health.
When choosing a vet, you are looking for someone with medical knowledge and expertise in the field, but you are also looking for someone that fits the needs of your pet and has great people and animal skills. You want your pet to feel comfortable and safe in the veterinary office and you also want to be able to communicate openly and honestly with your vet about concerns, questions, or issues you may be having. When making your decision also consider the location of the office – too far from home can be daunting in an emergency, although driving a few extra miles may be worth it for the right care for your pet. Also, consider fees or special offers that may be associated with the office. Visit costs can vary between different veterinary offices and pet hospitals; finding the right balance of price and confidence will ensure you have the best experience over the course of your pet’s life. Some veterinary offices and pet hospitals offer wellness programs and pet health plans to help with the cost of animal care over your pet’s lifetime, something worth asking about during your search.
It is important to choose a veterinarian during times of calm and not during a crisis. Begin your search when your pet is healthy and well to ensure you make the best decision possible for you and your furry loved one.
How to Find a Veterinarian
Ask for Recommendations
If you are switching veterinarians because of a recent move or just looking to find a new pet healthcare provider, ask for recommendations from your previous veterinarian. Be sure to get copies of your pet’s records for the new hospital staff. Also, consider consulting neighbors and friends with pets to see which veterinarian they use or prefer. Searching the Yellow Pages and Internet for veterinarians in your area can be a great place to start. You may also find coupons for free first-time visits or routine exams this way.
Visit the Hospital
First, try a virtual visit. Most veterinary practices have a website, so you should be able to check out their services, staff, facility, and office hours without making too many phone calls. From the website you can get a feel for whether or not the staff and/or office are what you’re looking for. From the Internet, you will also be able to locate reviews from clients and visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to check up on the background of the practice. Once you have narrowed your search down to a couple of veterinarians, schedule appointments with each clinic for a routine exam and initial consultation.
As you meet each new veterinarian, consider asking the following questions:
The first list is for yourself:
- Was it easy to make an appointment to fit my schedule?
- Was the receptionist friendly and helpful?
- Was the waiting area orderly and clean?
- Was everyone kind to my pet?
The second list is for the veterinarian:
- Do you handle emergency calls or refer to an emergency clinic?
- Do you perform x-rays, lab work or other advanced testing in house?
- Will my pet be able to see the same veterinarian for each visit?
- What types of payment do you accept and do you work with any pet insurance company?
- Do you offer any discounts for multiple pets or package pricing?
- Do you provide boarding/grooming services, and are these animals kept separate from the hospitalized animals?
- Can I have a tour of the facility?
After your pet’s exams at each hospital, you will be able to choose the veterinarian and facility where you and your pet feel most comfortable. Choosing a second-best friend for your pet can be a stressful process, but with proper research and asking the right questions you should find the perfect fit for your family.