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How to find a Vet for Your Pet

How to find a Vet for Your Pet

Finding a Vet for Your Pet

Finding a veterinarian for your pet is one of the most important things you can do to contribute to his or her well-being and longevity. But how do you know if your vet is the right one for both you and your pet? Asking the right questions from the start and paying attention to your instincts will help you find a veterinarian you are comfortable with and will take good care of your pet.

Questions to Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You will obviously not know as much about veterinary medicine as your vet (unless you are a vet), so ask away. Some basic things to ask when screening potential veterinarians and their offices are:

  1. Is the vet a member of any professional veterinary associations?
  2. Is there more than one vet in the practice? Do you have the ability to request a certain veterinarian you feel comfortable with?
  3. What are their office hours? How do they handle emergencies? Where are you sent if their office is closed?
  4. How do they handle payment? Can you pay in installments or do you need to pay in full at the time of service?
  5. Do they see your particular type of pet? Cats and dogs are pretty standard… do they examine exotic pets, reptiles, small animals, etc.?
  6. Do they do their own lab work on the premises or does it need to be sent out?
  7. How easy is it to get an appointment for a routine check-up? Vaccinations? Emergency care?
  8. Will the veterinarian himself or herself return your calls or are they channeled through the office staff?
  9. What type of services do they offer besides routine check-ups and vaccinations? Dental work? Surgeries?
  10. Do they offer boarding or other non-medical services?

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Pay attention to the way in which not only the veterinarian but the office staff answers your questions. You will most likely be interfacing with them for day to day things. Do they seem rushed? Do they take time to explain things to you? Rely on your own comfort level. If flags go off in your mind while talking with a veterinarian or the staff, feel free to look for another. It is your decision and it is your pet after all.

Talk with Your Friends

Word of mouth is a good way to get references for veterinary care. Do your neighbors, friends, family have pets? Whom do they see? Are they satisfied with their vet? How do their pets interact with the vet? Are they scared? Does the veterinarian try to soothe them? How easy is it for them to set up appointments? Have they ever had a pet emergency that was handled by their vet? How long have they been seeing them? These and other questions you have are good to ask people you know. In all likelihood, they’ll be happy to help you out.

Visiting the Veterinarian

You can choose to visit the vet’s office before you take your pet, or if you feel comfortable with your initial screening, you might take your pet for a routine office visit. Notice if there’s parking close to the building. Rex may be able to walk when he’s healthy to the vet’s office if it is a slight distance, but if he was hurt or if you had to carry him, how would that go? Is there room in the waiting area for pets to roam (if that’s allowed)?

Does it smell funny or is it odor-free? How friendly are the office staff? Did you have to wait long to see the veterinarian? How does your pet interact with the veterinarian? Take the time to observe your surroundings when you’re there as well as who’s around you. Sometimes someone or some place that sounds good on paper, isn’t always what you thought it would be once you investigate.

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By keeping these questions in mind and trusting your instincts, you’ll likely be able to find a veterinarian to suit your pet’s needs. Remember, all pets and people are different. You may have different preferences for veterinary service than your friend. Go with what makes you feel comfortable. Just because your friend’s ferret seems to tolerate their veterinarian well doesn’t mean that yours will. Be picky – after all, while it’s your pet’s health that is at stake, only YOU can determine who will help to ensure it.


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