Choosing the right vet can make a big difference on how both you and your dog feel about veterinarian care.
Here are some tips to help you decide on which doggie doctor is right for you:
Choosing a vet is a lot like choosing a doctor for yourself.
You are going to want someone who is certified, and has the bedside manner that you prefer. A good way to start looking is to start asking around. Look for other pet owners and ask who they see and why (or who they would not see).
Social proof is also a very good indicator. Check out veterinarian practices on Facebook and Yelp and see what people are saying about them.
Remember that everyone is going to have opinions, so do not count everything as gospel truth when they tell you their stories. But a vet that has a consistently bad reputation is probably one that you do not want to visit.
Next, plan to visit your possible vet.
You can do this in two ways – one you could call up or walk in and ask to see a tour of the clinic. Keep in mind that vet clinics are like hospitals and things will get crazy some of the time and it might not be possible to accommodate your request if you just walk in. However, the staff should be willing to show you around the facility. The office staff should be friendly and accommodating.
Once you think you have found the clinic you would like to use, you might want to consider a few additional points:
It is good to know how many vets they have on staff.
Having multiple vets will generally make it easier to get an appointment on short notice. It also might mean that you see a different vet each time you go, so you will want to be sure that you are comfortable with all of them.
You might want to know what sort of testing they are able to do onsite.
At least basic diagnostic testing should be available. If a vet sends lab work to another company for testing, inquire about the turnaround time. Ask if they do x-rays, surgery, and ultrasounds on site as well as blood work. If dogs are sent elsewhere for more complicated procedures, make sure you know where that clinic is and if it will suit your style as well.
Since you never know when an emergency will occur, it is helpful to know what your vet recommends after hours or in case of a real emergency.
Some vets will have an after hour call line or make house calls, while others will refer you to an emergency center. Depending on how you prefer emergencies to be handled may make or break your new vet.
It is also helpful to find a vet that shares your personal philosophies on pet care.
Ask about their feelings on euthanasia and/or breeding. Find out how they perform surgery. Ask opinions on spaying and neutering.
You will want someone who shares a similar philosophy to yours to make your relationship run smoother. You might also find out what kind of pets your vet owns, as this will give you an idea of your vet’s personality, as well.
Inquire about how the staff continues their education.
Clinics that are frequently attending seminars and workshops will not only be more up to date on medical advances, but are usually more open to trying alternative treatments as well.
Lastly, find out the vets protocols for daily business.
How far ahead do you have to call for an appointment?
What do you do if you want to be seen same day?
If an unforeseen emergency comes up, such as an emergency surgery, how does the vet handle billing?
With a little research, both you and your dog will find a vet that both of you can feel better about. And remember, nothing is set in stone. If you think you have found the perfect vet that later turns out not to be, you can always look for a new one.
Hi, I’m professional dog trainer Alex Antoniazzi, ABCDT and the founder of BrightDog Academy. I have been training dogs (and their owners) for close to 10 years now, and educating people on the best way to care for their dog is something I really enjoy. Feel free to message me here or on my own site any time!