Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet is an important decision. Pets are often like family members, sharing in our joys, griefs, and day to day experiences. Veterinarians are partners in the effort to not only prolong our pets lives, but to give them healthy, happy experiences while they are with us. Unfortunately, not all veterinarians are equally qualified for the task, and it is left to pet owners to weed out those that are ill fitted.
Many pet owners have already begun testing the waters, and have used sites that post veterinarian reviews to review veterinarians they have visited. Many pet owners also review veterinarians on Google. If you’ve already waded through the vet reviews posted online and are still at a loss for which vet to choose, read on. Here, we’ll supplement what you’ve heard from those helpful souls who review veterinarians with a few tips for choosing the right vet for your pet.
The best first step towards the selection of a vet is to set up an appointment. This appointment isn’t for a check up. In fact, the ASPCA recommends leaving your pet home for the first meeting. The goal is for you to get a feel for the facility and to ask some important questions.
What to Look For
- Clean facilities. Does it smell like a place where a lot of pets have been? It shouldn’t. Does it look dirty? Pass.
- Modern, updated set up. Just as in the world of human medicine, there are constant updates and advances in veterinary medicine. You wouldn’t want to walk into a doctor’s office that felt like a backwards trip in time. Don’t put your pet through it, either.
- Organization. A well organized vet is one that will be better equipped to care for your pet efficiently, safely, and gently. The absent minded professor trope is one best left out of veterinary offices.
What to Ask
- How many vets are on staff? Sometimes, vets will share a practice along with the responsibility for each other’s patients during vacations and other absences.
- Is the practice AAHA accredited? You wouldn’t want an unqualified doctor. Don’t choose an unqualified vet for your beloved pet.
- What kind of equipment does the practice use? Top of the line equipment shows that a practice is dedicated to providing the best care to their patients.
- Does the vet refer patients to specialists when necessary?
- Are there licensed vet techs on the staff? Some practices will hire non certified techs.
- What is the protocol for pain management?
If you don’t like what you see or don’t like the answers you get, move on. Most practices are used to clients coming and going and won’t follow up or harass you. If you choose to leave your current practice, be sure to obtain a complete copy of your pet’s health records for your new veterinarian.
Working with the right vet is an essential piece of caring for your pet. Between the recommendations of those who review veterinarians and your first visit, you should be able to develop a good idea of which vets are well suited to caring for your pet. It also would be helpful to review veterinarians with whom you meet for future pet parents looking for a qualified vet.