Choosing a Veterinarian for your Pet
April 05, 2019 by Furry Tales
A pet is as important as a human child. Just like how we would put in the time and efforts to find a good doctor for a human kid, it is essential to have the right vet for your pet to deal with his/her health issues. Different veterinarians specialise in certain types of pets, for example, there are distinct cat doctors or vets that specialize in snakes or other exotic creatures. There are also ones that are general practitioners who deal with all types of animals. How do you know your choice for a veterinarian is a good one?
Below are a few tips that can help you decide on the right veterinarian for you and your pet:
- Keep the details handy: Look for a veterinarian before you get your pet home. It is not a good idea to wait until your pet is home and then try to find a vet. Sometimes some pets fall ill as soon as they come home to you, which could be due to various reasons. It’s always helpful to have a veterinarian in mind when you get home your furkid.
- Ask Around: You should find a vet that specializes or is good with the type of pet that you have, but the best way to find a good vet is to ask around. Ask friends, other family members, neighbours or even local shelters and NGO’s about who they could recommend. This way you can also clear some doubts you may have.
- Introduce yourself: Contact the top three choices and try to take a tour of their facility before deciding. Ask if you and your pet could possibly meet with them prior to making an appointment, just to introduce yourselves. This will give you a chance to assess the vet and their staff. Are they friendly and calm? How does the vet interact with your pet and with you as well? A good vet should be able to calm a stressful situation and not add to it.
- How is the facility?: Evaluate the premises at the vet’s facility. Be aware of how well the building is taken care of—is it clean and properly kept? Are there separate sections for different types of pets (cats and dogs often react when in each other’s company). Ask other pet owners in the waiting room how they feel about that vet and waiting times.
- Reference Check: Ask for references you need (other than those of your friends or relatives) to discover if there is any bad background history.
- Timings: Find out what the operating hours of the clinic are. What are their after-hours policies in case you have an emergency with your pet?
- Location: Note how far away the vet is from your home. If the clinic is a short distance from your house, it can give you peace of mind and make vet visits that much more hassle-free. Although, the nearest vet may not necessarily be the right fit for your requirements. Please ensure other important boxes are being ticked as well. Does it have parking? Is there an area nearby where you can walk your dog (for a quick pit- stop) before the visit? These factors can all play a part in your vet choice.
- Qualifications: Ask the vet questions about his/her qualifications and experiences. Because remember, it is important that you find the right vet for your pet.
- Special Needs Care: Ask what special equipment the facility may have on site if your pet has special needs. This vet may offer on-site tests or treatments that may be beneficial. Sometimes certain treatments are out-sourced to another practice (which you may not like). Ask if they also provide emergency care for after hours because not all clinics do.
- Primary Carer: Find out if this clinic has more than one vet on staff. Some clinics have multiple staff members and your pet may not always see the same person. Find out how it is decided who will look after your pet and if you can see the same person all the time. (This pertains to your pet’s comfort level by dealing with someone they already know in times of crisis.) Will your pet’s care be a team effort, and are you comfortable with that approach?
- Information: Some vet clinics offer seminars and information videos on pet care. Does this one have resource materials that you can borrow to learn more about your pet and their care?
- Commercials: It is also important to consider the vet’s prices. Although you may think this will not be an issue, it is still important to compare apples with apples. Vet visits can be hefty. Sometimes a price that one vet offers may include medication and monitoring while another’s vet’s prices may not. Prices can also vary significantly, due to their overhead costs, specialisation, etc..
- Pet Care Philosophies: Are you and the vet and their staff on the same page with regards to certain philosophies and ethics on debatable topics like spaying/neutering, euthanasia, chronic disease care, to name a few? These things play an important role because like mindedness helps ease any doubts you may have.
Regular trips, even just for check-ups, can reassure your pet when it is truly in need. Choosing the right vet for your pet before you really need it can help you and your pet when in a health crisis. Do not hesitate to get a second opinion if you are unsure about the opinion of the vet you usually go to. A diagnosis, test result or surgery can be life-altering for you and your pet. A second opinion might help put your mind at ease. Your pet’s quality of life is important to you, it should be to your vet too.