All pets need to be seen by a veterinarian at least once a year for their check-up and vaccines. While it can be tempting to choose the vet’s office that is closest to your home or offers the cheapest prices, it’s important to take time to select the right vet for your pets. Like the family doctor, this is a crucial relationship that will help your pet live a long and healthy life.
- Make sure the vet is knowledgeable about your pet’s species
This may seem like a given, but some vets prefer to see dogs and cats only; some are large animal specific, while others specialize in exotics. “Exotics” is an all-encompassing term that can mean ferrets, birds, pigs, and more, so be sure your vet sees pets of the correct species regularly before scheduling an appointment with them. If the practice employs several vets, don’t be afraid to ask which one might be most experienced for your particular pet.
- Listen to word of mouth
Check your local Facebook or Next Door group to see if this topic has come up in the past. You can sift through responses to get an idea of the local favorites, or learn who to stay away from. Google reviews can also be helpful, but remember, many people only review if they had a negative experience, so online reviews can be skewed. If you adopted, ask the rescue you got your pet from who they see. Vets who take care of rescues’ pets often have big hearts and are compassionate about animal welfare.
- Ensure the support staff is excellent
It’s great if you love your vet, but what if you can never get ahold of the receptionist, are constantly overcharged, or are concerned about the way a vet tech is handling your pet? Veterinary staff should be kind, knowledgeable, courteous, and not afraid to ask the vet if they aren’t sure about something. Be sure you have a good feeling about the staff when you make the first visit.
- Check on convenience
While proximity shouldn’t be the number one factor when choosing a vet, it is important to be somewhat close in case of emergency. Do they offer evening or weekend hours? How many vets are on staff, and how do they cover for illnesses or vacations? What emergency hospital do they have a relationship with?
- Take a tour
The most telling way to find the right veterinary office is to take a tour of the facility. You’re looking for clean, calm, and comfortable. Smelly facilities, broken equipment, or dirty rooms are a red flag. With notice, the staff should be more than willing to take you on a tour and answer any and all questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to bring a list, this is your fur baby, and your comfort level matters.
Choosing a vet can be daunting – but it is important for the health of your four-legged family members. Feel confident in knowing you’ve done your due diligence and followed the right steps to find great care for your pet. We will see you in store, soon!