7 Tips to Find the Right Vet for Your Pet

Finding The Right Vet for Your Pet

7 Tips to Find the Right Vet for Your Pet

You might as well admit it. As soon as you looked into the eyes of your rescue, your heart melted. Now part of your family, you want to make the best decisions for your new pet’s health and well-being. Choosing the right veterinarian can be challenging, so we’ve provided a list of essential tips to help you find the right vet for you and your pet.

When to Find your Vet?

If possible, try to find your vet before the adoption.  Choosing your vet before your new bundle of fur comes home is beneficial for a few reasons:

  • Routine Visit – Depending on your pet’s needs and age, you might need to schedule a wellness visit or a round of shots shortly after adoption. It’s best if you already have your vet in mind so you can easily schedule your first appointment. You will find that many of the best vets’ schedules fill quickly, so don’t delay in setting your appointment.
  • Ruh-Roh! We all know emergencies happen, and no one wants to get caught googling “best vet near me” when their baby is hurting.
  • Questions, Questions, Questions! Some vets are great about answering non-emergency questions via e-mail. As your pet adjusts to her new home, she might have some behaviors that make you question: “Is this normal? Is my pet okay?” Especially if you are a first-time pet owner, you might be wondering why your cat keeps headbutting you or maybe why your dog keeps rubbing his bum on the carpet. If you can’t find your answers online or in your “how to raise a puppy” books, then having easy access to your vet can be super helpful.
How to Choose a Veterinarian

Determine Your Pet's Needs & Your Needs

Before starting your search, consider if your pet has any special needs; perhaps he has a skin issue or is a breed prone to hip problems. A local vet might specialize in these things.

Also, consider your needs, what is most important to you when choosing a vet? Flexible hours? Cost? Do they take insurance? Location? Do you want them to offer holistic services? Make a list of what is important to you and then start the search!

STARTING YOUR SEARCH

Ask for Recommendations

Nothing is better than a recommendation from a happy customer.

  • Ask Around – Friends, family, and neighbors are ideal, but even strangers you see walking in the park with a happy, healthy pet can have some good suggestions!
  • Rescue Organizations – Another great resource is the shelter from where you are adopting your pet. If you’re on a tight budget, the shelters and rescue organizations will most likely know practitioners who offer lower-cost services.
  • Professionals – Groomers, trainers, pet store owners and employees are also quality options for a good recommendation. After all, people don’t go into those lines of work unless they love animals. So, who better to ask?
How to Find a good vet

Do some Web Sleuthing

Now that you have a few recommendations to start with, head to the web and start checking out basic info. Considering your needs and your pet’s needs, here are some factors to consider:

  • Location – Having a vet close to where your pet lives and plays every day offers some peace of mind in the event an emergency pops up (not to mention the everyday convenience for the humans).
  • Hours – Are they flexible, or will you have to take off work or rearrange your schedule every time you make an appointment?
  • Extended Hours – Are they are a 24-hour operation? If not, to whom do they refer you to for emergency services? What about weekend hours? What about off-hour access via phone and e-mail? What are their telemedicine services and hours?
  • Services – What services do they offer? If you are adopting a special needs pet or a geriatric pet, ask if they have any specialties in your areas of need.
  • Additional Services – If all goes well, your pet will love your vet and the staff. Sometimes vets offer other services such as boarding, which can be a great resource, especially if you have a pet with special needs.
  • Staff Bios & Accreditations – Checking out the staff bios and accreditations can give you a good feel of the practice’s size and experience.
  • Social Links & Reviews – Social links and web reviews are also great places to learn a bit more about a practice. However, keep in mind that there are will always be those trolly-haters out there, so don’t be turned off if you see one bad review.

Put in a Call

Now that you have narrowed the search, it’s a good time to put in a call to get the info you can’t find online.

Things to consider:

  • Availability – How long does it take to get an appointment?
  • Staff – How friendly and helpful is the staff?
  • Costs
    • Ask about charges for routine checkups
    • Costs for vaccinations
    • Check for the costs of other services you might need for your dog’s breed or special needs.
    • Most vets accept credit cards, but it’s always smart to confirm!
    • Do they offer payment plans for major procedures?
    • Do they accept pet insurance? Keep in mind that some insurances interact with you and not the vet. You pay the vet up front and then submit the itemized bill to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Find the best veterinarian

Fido's First Appointment

Today is that dreaded day where your fur baby gets poked and prodded for the first time. You want to find a vet who puts your pet at ease as much as possible. When the bum thermometer makes an appearance, all bets are off. Joking aside, here are the things to look for during your first visit:

  • Facility:
    • Is the office clean and well-tended?
    • Has the examination room been sanitized?
    • Is the equipment up-to-date and in good shape?
  • Staff – Is the staff friendly, professional, and helpful?
  • Veterinarian and Technicians:
    • How is their bedside manner?
    • Are they able to put your pet at ease?
    • How do they handle your pet?
    • Do they seem knowledgeable?
    • Do they take the time to answer all of your questions?
    • Will you see the same vet every time? If not, what can they tell you about the rest of the staff? How do they cover for one another during weekends and vacations?
  • Protocols and Philosophies – If you have a special needs pet, we suggest discussing the vet’s protocols for things like pain management and surgical practices to make sure you are comfortable with their philosophies.

Record Keeping

Your vet should keep records of all of your pet’s visits, vaccinations, and procedures. Still, it is always a good idea to take notes during your visit and keep copies of all of the records so nothing is missed, not to mention you’ll need records of vaccinations for a variety of things from puppy daycare playdates to travel to licenses.

Selecting a vet can be challenging, but if you put in the time to find the right person, your veterinarian will become a trusted partner in the care and love of your pet.

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