There may come a time when you have to look for a new veterinarian to care for your pets. Perhaps you’ve moved to a new town or your previous vet has retired. It can be a bit daunting to trust your beloved pets with someone you don’t know well, especially if they’re sick or injured. Here are some suggestions on how to choose your new vet before you find yourself in the emergency room with Fido or Mr. Whiskers.
First, ask your friends, family, and work colleagues for recommendations. If someone you know is happy with a service, then the odds are you will be, too. Remove any practices from your list that are further than your ideal driving distance. You’ll be left with a number of local vets; follow up on them.
The next step is to call on these practices and have a look for yourself. The waiting room should be clean and the atmosphere should feel professional but welcoming. Watch how the staff interacts with clients. Are they friendly, cheerful and efficient? Obviously, there will be times in a busy practice where an emergency means perhaps the puddle in the corner hasn’t been mopped up yet and there’s an air of organized chaos as the staff cares for a seriously sick patient. However, you should get a good idea of how the practice runs and feels. Trust your instinct here, because there’s a lot of emotion involved when your pet is sick and you need to feel safe. This may whittle your list of possible practices down a little more.
At this stage, it’s not a bad idea to spend a few dollars and take your pet in for a wellness visit and exam at your shortlisted practices. Keep an eye on how long you have to wait before being taken into a consulting room. Barring any emergencies, and they can happen often in a veterinary hospital, you should be seen fairly close to the time of your appointment. If the vet is running late, ideally the reception staff should let you know.
When in the consulting room, look at how the veterinarian and technician handle your pet and explain what’s going on to you. Ask questions if you need to; they should explain things in a way that’s easy for you to understand. Don’t forget your pet – how does he feel about his prospective new vet? He may be a little anxious because it’s an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar smells and people, but the staff should be gentle with him and help him to relax.
There is quite a process here and it can take you some time to work through the neighborhood veterinary hospitals to find the one that’s right for you. Most veterinary hospitals offer similar services and it often boils down to how you feel about the practice. After all, these are the people you’re going to trust with your pet’s care when they’re not well, and when you’re stressed and frightened. If you get acquainted with them when all’s well, you’ll feel much more at ease when things go wrong.