Choosing the right vet isn’t always an easy task for pet owners. Sure, some get lucky and find the perfect clinic on the first try. But more often than not, pet owners have to go through several vets before finding one that is not only affordable but also provides the level of care that your pet deserves.
The following tips may help you find the perfect vet that treats both you and your pet properly:
Who Are They?
Not all vets are created equal and you want to make sure that yours has all the necessary credentials. Find a vet that has not only graduated from a veterinary program but has graduated from a program that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Check to see if the vet is a member of any state or local associations, such as the AVMA. Also, check to make sure that the clinic meets the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines and are up to snuff.
In addition to checking on your vet’s credentials, you will want to know all about any associates or techs that may be routinely handling check-ups and emergencies. Many vets will have associates help them handle large volumes of checkups.
If your vet has additional vets working out of the same clinic, you will want to find out if they ever swap out cases or if your pet will have the same vet for each visit.
What do They Do?
Schedule an appointment to interview the vet and check out the establishment right off the bat. Also, make sure you ask over the phone whether or not the vet will see your specific type of pet. Some vets specialize in only cats and dogs while other vets will see all pets.
Consider the following when interviewing a vet and checking out their clinic:
- Office hours: What are the clinic’s regular business hours and are they compatible with your own schedule. Find out what the average wait time is for a regular, non-emergency appointment and how quickly your pet can be seen if there is an emergency.
- Staff: Determine whether or not all of the staff members are friendly and professional. As opposed to only interviewing the vet and techs, also get to know the receptionist and any student interns to find out if the staff are what you expect from a professional establishment.
- Fees: Find out which methods of payment the vet will accept and determine if they will accept (or offer) pet insurance. Ask for an itemized list of fees so that you will be prepared in the event that emergency care is needed.
- Services: Find out exactly which services the vet will offer and if they are members of any networks to get in touch with specialists if necessary.
- Emergency Care: Ask the vet if they provide emergency services, especially after office hours. If they do not provide after-office care, then find out if they can recommend an emergency clinic that they work well with.
- Facility: Make sure the facility is clean on both the outside and the interior. Dirty clinics may infect your pet so put cleanliness towards the top of your list.
When to Look For a Vet
Finding a vet should be the first step to owning a pet. You may even want to begin interviewing vets before you bring your pet home. Having everything worked out and the right vet picked before bringing your pet home can help prevent you from getting a vet that you don’t like.
Where to Find a Vet
Find a vet that is a convenient drive from your home. Decide up front how far you want to drive for routine checkups and for emergencies. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for convenience, but location could be an important aspect for you to consider.