Choosing a veterinarian is one of the most important decisions a pet owner will make regarding their animal’s health. The veterinarian is the person you trust to help you make life-and-death decisions for your pet. Waiting until your pet needs care is not the way to go when making this important choice. Instead, it is best to weigh your options, ask your questions, and make your visits before your new best friend even comes home. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right veterinarian for your pet so that your new family member can be healthy from the start.
The 10 Tips to Choose the Right Vet
1. Ask Your Friends
If you have friends who are pet parents, you have a great network to ask questions about pet ownership. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a veterinarian. Most likely your pet-owning friends have been through the worry and confusion you’re currently experiencing. Ask them their opinions on veterinarians and the experiences they’ve had. Your neighbors and coworkers are also great people with whom to discuss options.
2. Do an Online Search
Doing an online search can help you get familiar with the veterinarians in your area. Not only will you discover the business names, doctors’ names, and histories, but you’ll also find that many states offer directories you can access. These directories are a great way to learn more about veterinarians and their specialties.
3. Read the Reviews
When doing your online searches, you’ll visit websites for veterinarians. Take the time to read over the reviews you may find on those sites. If the veterinarian you’re interested in doesn’t have reviews on their website, check other review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List for assistance.
4. Determine Your Range
How far are you willing to drive to a veterinarian? Do you feel safer having one within a few miles of your home? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a few veterinarian practices you can eliminate from your list.
5. Visit the Practices
Whether you have your options narrowed down to one veterinarian or multiple, visiting the practice is a must. As you walk around, take note of how friendly the staff is and how they interact with the animals. Also, notice the cleanliness of the practice to determine whether you’re comfortable bringing your pet there.
6. Ask Questions
Once you’re at the practice, it’s time to ask all of your questions. What are the practice’s hours? Do they offer emergency care? Is the practice accredited? All these questions (and more) are crucial to determining whether the veterinarian you’re visiting is the right one for your pet.
7. Discuss Payment Options
While we may feel that money is no object when it comes to our pet’s care, having an idea of what the costs may range will help you stay better prepared for visits. You should also ask if the practice accepts pet insurance and what their thoughts are on the different insurance policies available.
8. Meet the Veterinarian
Speaking with the staff is a great way to learn more about the practice, but the veterinarian is the one who will be treating your pet. They should be the ones onto whom most of your attention is focused. Before you decide on a practice, you can meet all potential veterinarians. While with the provider, you can ask about their experience with particular patients like your own pet. This can help you determine your comfort level with the particular veterinarian on site.
9. Do You See Eye to Eye?
When meeting the veterinarian, it’s important to uncover their philosophies on pet care. This is also the perfect time to share what you expect from your veterinarian care. If these philosophies don’t mesh, you may need to find another vet.
10. Schedule Your Pet’s First Appointment
Once you’ve followed all the above steps and decided on the right veterinarian for your pet, it’s time to schedule your first visit. This should be done before you bring the pet into your home, so that you are offering them the best care from the beginning.
Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet should be at the top of your to-do list before bringing your new friend home. By following the steps above, you can easily find a veterinarian that is accessible, affordable, and on the same page as you when it comes to your pet’s care. Once this connection is made, you’ll realize it’s one of the most important decisions you’ve ever made concerning your pet.
Featured Image Credit: Viktor Gladkov, Shutterstock