If you are a new pet owner or new to your area, then you will be shopping around for a veterinarian. You really should do this as soon as possible so you don’t have to search for a good veterinarian in the midst of a medical emergency with your dog. Besides, you will want to get to know your veterinarian and build a rapport with him or her. They will want to get to know your dog, too. Finding the perfect veterinarian for your dog can be a daunting task. You may not know where to start or what to ask. If you consider these Top 10 Things To Look For When Finding A New Veterinarian, then you will be off to a good start.
10. The Staff
The front desk workers are the face of the business. They need to treat their clients—both their two-legged and four-legged ones—with courtesy and respect. When you visit the veterinarian’s office, observe the staff. Are they friendly and helpful? Do they look like they love animals and love their jobs? Can they communicate clearly and accurately? Many times, the information you receive from the veterinarian comes through a staff member so you will want to be sure that there are no obstacles to communication that could lead to confusion.
9. In-House Pharmacy
Ask the veterinarian’s office if they offer pharmacy services. That way, you get your dog’s medication filled while you are there, instead of having to make another stop or wait for mail-order meds. If your dog takes an uncommon medicine, then be sure to check to see if the veterinarian office regularly stocks it.
When you start your search for a new veterinarian, you will probably begin by looking at the clinics and offices closest to you. Of course, it is convenient to have a veterinarian nearby, especially in an emergency, however location should not be the only factor when deciding on a new vet. You will need to balance the convenience of having a vet close by with the services they provide and the quality of care.
7. Veterinary Specialists
Does your dog have any special health concerns? If so, then you may want to look for a veterinarian that specializes in a certain area. Just like human doctors, veterinarians can have additional training and education in fields such as geriatrics or animal nutrition or traumatic injuries or neurology. Depending on your situation, it may be extremely beneficial to have a vet that is knowledgeable and experienced in that area of expertise.
6. Testing Equipment And In-House Lab
Some veterinary offices have the ability to process bloodwork, take X-rays, and do MRIs in-house while others have to send out their lab work to an outside lab or transfer a pet to an emergency animal hospital for X-rays or scans. When you are shopping for a new veterinarian, you should ask if the vet office does their lab work and testing at their location or if they use another facility. For routine animal care, it won’t make much of a difference. But in an emergency situation or if you have a dog with special needs, then you may want a veterinary office that is equipped to do medical imaging and laboratory work on site.
5. Consistency Of Care
Some veterinary offices are quite large and employ several veterinarians. Ask the office if you will be assigned to one specific vet or if you will see whichever vet is available. Ideally, you will want to establish a relationship with one or two doctors. That way, the vet really gets to know you and your dog, as well as the medical history of your pet. Once you have a rapport with your vet, then you will feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns. You and your vet will form a team that works together to keep your dog in great health.
Cost of service is a real factor that should be considered. This doesn’t mean that you should look for the cheapest veterinarian in your area, but you should be aware of the average costs for veterinary services in your city. This will help you to see how one vet compares to others. Most veterinarian’s offices are happy to provide you with a breakdown of costs for office visits and routine care if you just ask.
Once you have narrowed down your search to a few veterinary offices, you will want to visit each one. While you are there, take a good look around the facility. Does it appear clean and fresh? Or is it dirty and foul-smelling? Dogs tend to tinkle when they are scared, nervous, or excited. Does the staff clean up accidents promptly and with the right cleaning products? Also, take a peek behind the front counter to see if they appear to be tidy and organized with their paperwork. A well-organized, clutter-free office with a commitment to cleanliness is sign that the veterinarians are committed to their business growth.
2. Doctors’ Certifications And Credentials
Most states have searchable online databases through which you can obtain a veterinarian’s credentials and certifications. In addition, the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, or ABVP, maintains their own nationwide online database. A good, reputable veterinarian will work hard to keep their certifications current and maintain a positive rating on these databases. You will need the veterinarian’s full name, practice name, state, and perhaps even their veterinarian license number. This is usually on display in their waiting room.
1. The Clinic’s Accreditations
The American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, is the accrediting body for animal care clinics in the United States. It is the goal of nearly every reputable veterinarian to have their practice accredited by this organization. Having the AAHA stamp of approval on a veterinary clinic shows that the practice meets or exceeds their standards. They also have a searchable online database that can help you find an accredited animal clinic in your area.
You want the very best care for your dog, however you also want a visit to your trusted veterinarian to be convenient for you and offer the services you need. Above all, you want to find a veterinarian who is friendly, caring, excels at his or her job, and can be a valuable partner for you to keep your dog happy and healthy. It takes time to establish a rapport with a veterinarian but once you do, you will have peace of mind that your dog is getting the very best care from a vet who loves him.