When you bring a dog into your life, you are responsible from that day forward for his nutrition, safety, health, care and well-being. But finding the perfect veterinarian for both you and your dog doesn’t just happen by accident. Your chosen vet will be there in the most important, vital times of you and your pet’s life. They will watch your fur baby grow just as you do every step of the way, so choosing someone you see as family is instrumental. Here are 10 helpful tips for choosing the right vet for you and your dog:
Get the family together for a conference. Share your thoughts about what qualities in a veterinarian are important to all of you. Make a list of questions and concerns to ask every vet you interview. Also get references from breeders, shelter and dog rescues or other dog owners.
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited
Investigate the veterinarian’s education and experience. Does the clinic or hospital have AAHA approval? Although many excellent clinics are not AAHA members, such membership does ensure a certain level of medical care.
Does the veterinarian get involved with the community? Do they invite dogs and owners to visit the clinic and staff socially, during times of wellness as often as needed?
Ask the veterinarian about their philosophies. Do they mesh with yours? How does the veterinarian respond to your own question and concerns about canine care? Does this seem like someone with whom you’ll be able to communicate?
Access to medical information
Whether from a doctor or a technician, see if you can get timely answers to your medical questions. If your pet is hospitalized, can you call as often as you want for updates?
A good hospital should have access to x-ray, ultrasound, dentistry, in-house lab tests, IV pumps, blood pressure, and eye pressure monitoring, as well as the ability to send out labs and refer to specialists. And also inquire about any areas of health care that are specific to your pet. Does the doctor offer those special dog care services?
Open access to all areas
Ask for a tour of the hospital. A good hospital is going to be proud of their facility and want to show you everything. There is one exception: a medical procedure being performed that requires privacy.
Observe how the veterinarian interacts with the animals in the clinic. Do they project calm-assertive energy? If possible, introduce the veterinarian to your dog in a casual, friendly manner—long before you go for a visit. Be sure to sense the energy of your dog around the veterinarian to see if he is comfortable around them.
Vet techs and assistants
Do they seem knowledgeable about and sensitive to animals? Ask about the longevity of the medical and nursing staff. Staff members who feel empowered to do good medicine and nursing care tend to stay with a practice longer.
You need to be sure that the clinic is open hours that are convenient for you. However, long hours are not as important as good communication and dog care.