Emergencies strike when you least expect it, especially with pets. Finding a veterinarian before your dog or cat gets sick or injured is essential to ensuring you have a qualified, knowledgeable vet whom you trust.
One of the biggest concerns many pet owners have is how to find the best veterinarian for their pets’ needs. You must be proactive to find a qualified vet with whom you and your pet feel comfortable. Here are some easy ways to choose a veterinarian:
Ask for recommendations.
Sometimes the best way to choose a veterinarian is to ask your family, friends, and acquaintances who have pets. Ask those who offer you a recommendation what they like about the vet and what they don’t like.
What do other people think of the veterinarians you are considering? Do they like the vets? Do they not like them? Do they recommend the veterinary practice? Keep in mind, when reading reviews, that some people may be angry or disgruntled and may lash out with the review.
Make an initial appointment.
An initial appointment serves as something of an interview. You can learn how the veterinarian works, his beliefs on care, and, perhaps most important, whether your dog, cat, or pet feels comfortable with him.
An initial appointment also allows you to evaluate the veterinary practice. Is it clean? Do you feel comfortable? Does the practice have veterinary technicians? Is there a receptionist? Must you make an appointment to see the veterinarian?
Ask plenty of questions.
Before you go to the initial appointment, make a list of questions you would like answered. Questions might include:
- How many times a year do you recommend a dog/cat/other pet have a routine exam?
- What are your beliefs on vaccinations? Some vets, for example, recommend that vaccinations be given annually while others vaccinate every few years.
- Do you offer same day appointments?
- How many veterinarians are in the practice?
- Do you offer emergency hours in the evenings, on the weekends, and during holidays?
- Can you reach the vet via email or via phone and personally talk to him during normal business hours?
That initial appointment, and the answers you receive, should help you better decide whether the vet is right for you and for your pet. If you don’t like the vet or your pet doesn’t feel comfortable, start the process over again. It’s important to find someone you can learn to trust and with whom you both feel comfortable. After all, he or she will likely be the veterinarian throughout your pet’s life.