As a pet parent, you are responsible for making sure that your furry friend receives the care she needs. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong before taking your dog or cat to the vet, you should have a veterinarian that you visit at least twice a year for routine check-ups. Having a regular check-up with your pet’s veterinarian will help you to make sure that your pet is in good health. It is also important for detecting health problems before they become more advanced.
How do you go about choosing a veterinarian?
Below you will find tips for choosing a reputable veterinarian from a respected and experienced practice.
Finding Prospective Veterinarians
The best way to find a veterinarian is to ask around. Speak to your pet-owning friends about which vets they use and use the LovePets directory, where you will find reviews and other community members who use the clinic.
Key Point: When you find a vet's website, look for an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accreditation – this ensures that the vet’s practice meets the AAHA’s standards for facility and care.
Narrowing Down the Search
After looking up a few different veterinarians online and speaking to your friends about recommendations, you then need to narrow the list down even further. To do so, you will need to contact the veterinarian and consider visiting the office before you make an appointment for your pet. When you call the veterinarian’s practice, ask some of the following questions to determine the vet’s experience and the level of care provided:
1. How many veterinarians are there in the clinic?
2. Are any of the veterinarians board-certified?
3. Are exams performed by vet technicians or other staff members?
4. Do the veterinarians in the practice specialize in anything?
5. What emergency services does the clinic offer?
6. How long have the veterinarians been involved with the clinic?
6. What is included in a standard veterinary exam and how much does it cost?
7. Are tests including X-rays, ultrasounds, and blood work performed on-site?
The answers you receive to these questions will help you to determine whether the veterinary practice is experienced and professional. If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive to these questions, remove the practice from your list and move on to the next option.
After you have narrowed down your options to one or two practices, you may even want to pay the practices a visit. When you do, check to make sure the facilities are clean and well kept. Ask yourself whether the staff seems knowledgeable and courteous – do you feel as though the staff would truly care for your pet? These visits are also good opportunities to talk about the process for scheduling an appointment – some vets require you to fill out paperwork prior to your first visit.
After visiting the facilities, you should be able to make a decision regarding which veterinary practice is the best choice.
Get the Most Out of your Visit
Even if your dog or cat is not sick, you should plan to visit the vet twice a year – about every six months.
When it comes time for your pet’s appointment, make sure you bring any relevant identification and medical information with you – especially if you are transferring from another vet. The more information you can give the vet about the new patient, the better the quality of care the vet will be able to deliver.
Do not be afraid to ask questions during the visit or take notes, especially if you will be administering some kind of medication for your pet. Other than that, just be on time for your appointment and answer the vet’s questions as thoroughly as you can.
Having a veterinarian you can trust is incredibly important as a pet parent. If your animal should happen to fall ill, you will be able to schedule an appointment with the knowledge that your pet will be in good hands.