As soon as you get a pet, you need to make sure you have a good vet. Start looking for a veterinarian once you know you are getting a pet and long before you actually need one for an emergency situation. It is a good idea to know where to take your animal if you have any kind of problem, instead of searching for someone suitable in an emergency. Choosing a vet can be a big decision. Don’t just go with the first person listed in the phone book. Instead, take the time to find the one who works well with your pet and is trustworthy. Here are a few tips on finding the perfect doctor for your pet.
1. Find a vet that is experienced with your pet’s species
If you have a dog or a cat, nearly any vet can handle them. However, if your pet is a little more exotic, such as a snake, ferret or parrot, it may be more difficult to find someone who has experience with this type of animal. You don’t want a doctor who will be guessing at treatments, so look for someone who has plenty of experience treating your pet’s species.
2. Take your pet for a checkup
One of the best ways to see how well a veterinarian interacts with your pet is to go in for a checkup. You will get a much better feel for the doctor this way and you can also see how your pet reacts. If you’re not pleased, you can look for someone else before there is an emergency situation.
3. Find out if there are multiple vets working at the clinic or hospital
It can be very useful to see a vet in a clinic where there are multiple pet doctors. If one is out sick or on vacation, you won’t need to seek out someone new. It’s a good idea to try and meet everyone who works in the clinic so you’ll know who the backup is for your regular vet.
4. Ask for recommendations
Have friends with the same kind of pet? They should be able to recommend a vet to you. Recommendations usually work out better than a simple ad in the newspaper or a listing in the Yellow Pages. Your friend can let you know what they like about their veterinarian and give you tips for meeting them.
5. Look for reasonable rates
Even if you have an exotic pet, you don’t want to pay extreme rates. Check out prices early on in your search and eliminate vets who don’t offer reasonable pricing. You can often find out what a vet charges with a simple phone call. Ask about pet visits and overnight stays to get a better picture of the pricing models.
6. Avoid unprofessional clinics
Everything about the vet’s office should be neat and clean, including the vet. If the staff seems disorganized or messy, you probably don’t want your pet being cared for at the clinic. The waiting room and exam rooms should all be spotless and without unpleasant odors. Ask for a tour of the space so you can check out the animal holding areas and procedure rooms as well.
7. Stick with a vet who can take on emergencies
Not all vets handle emergencies, so look for one who does. This will eliminate many of the stress factors when a pet is sick or injured, as you will know exactly who to call and where to go. This is something you should ask in the first phone call to determine whether or not it is worth seeing the pet doctor.
8. Shop around
There is no reason to stick with the first vet you see. Instead, take the time to meet several veterinarians and check out multiple clinics in the area. Small towns may not have many options, but if you can meet more than one vet, you will be in a better position to choose the right one.
9. Location matters
A convenient location is another factor in choosing a clinic to use. Keep in mind that if your pet is very ill or badly injured, you are not going to want a long drive ahead of you. It’s a good idea to find a vet within 30 minutes of your home, if possible. The clinic should also be easy to find, with parking close by so you can get an injured animal inside as quickly as possible.
10. Choose a vet with your taste in medicine
Not all vets practice western medicine and that could be a good thing if you are interested in someone who will work with herbs and natural medicine to keep your pet healthy. Decide ahead of time if you want a holistic veterinarian who will use alternative medicine or an allopathic vet who uses western medicine.
You may also find someone who combines the two methods, depending on the situation. It’s a big deal to find the right veterinarian for your animals. Get a tour of the vet clinic and make sure to ask plenty of questions so you can make the right decision. It can help to see more than one vet and later decide which you prefer.