You are the voice of your pet. You need to be confident in the treatment and advice that you are getting for your four-legged friends. Choosing a veterinarian is like choosing a doctor for you or the kids. Here’s a useful checklist to help you make your decision.
How best to “vet” your vet?
The knowledge of others can be wisdom to your ears. The best way of finding a good vet is to talk to people that you trust. Friends with pets are a good place to start. Discuss their own experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. If you own a pure-breed pet, breed clubs can be a wealth of information. They will know about particular vets who have specialist knowledge of the breed and the specific health problems that they may be susceptible to. If you are moving and already have a great vet, they may know of someone in your new area who they can recommend. It’s worth asking.
Be careful of relying completely on internet reviews. The internet is a good resource, but not on its own. Search engines and other directories are no substitute for personal references from people you know.
Look for membership of AVMA (the American Veterinary Medical Association) and AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association) who are both nationally recognized for their excellent standards of veterinarian care. A state and local organisation affiliation is a useful mark to look out for too. Gaining these accreditations are a good sign that a veterinarian is committed to your pets’ welfare and their own professional development.
When choosing a veterinary practice, there are many practical things that need to fit in with your life and your pets’ welfare, such as:
The location of the practice
Is it near your home, within easy reach?
Are they open when you need them?
For example, to make an appointment after work, or early in the morning?
Level of emergency care offered
Does the practice offer an out of hours service?
If so, how are these urgent calls handled?
Care expertise on offer
Does this vet provide all the care that your pet requires?
If your four-legged friend has a particular health problem, can they deal with it?
Payment methods and fees
It can be a stressful time taking your pet to the vet, so it is worth finding out in advance if the fees are affordable and whether there are payment options and plans that the practice offers. If you have pet insurance, you should also check that the vet accepts your particular plan.
Ask for a tour
Once you have done your research, a potential vet should be willing to give you a tour of their facility.
If not, why not?
Look out for basic signs:
1. How clean is the facility?
2. How do the staff treat other patients and their owners?
You want to be greeted by friendliness and sympathy in a calm and caring environment.
Ask for an introductory meeting
At this meeting, you can get a better understanding of a particular veterinarian. Discuss your pet and any of the questions and topics listed above, such as fees, hours and emergency care. Get an idea of whether they just treat the problem or offer preventative advice such as exercise plans or dietary supplements like Glucosamine and Omega 3. Really get a feel for how the practice works and whether they’d be suited to you and your pet.
It is a good idea to visit several vets before making a decision.
Thanks to expert veterinarian care and a better awareness of healthy living, diet and preventative measures, our much loved pets are living longer. With so much information and variety of treatments and care available, it’s easy to be confused. Following this checklist will help you make an informed choice.
Tango Champ want to help you and your pets to find your ideal vet. Healthy pets make happy pets (and stress-free humans).