Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet can often be a difficult process. When I first relocated to a new city, I hardly knew anyone. After years of going to the same vet in my hometown, a vet that both my dog and I had grown to trust, starting from scratch was hard. The most important thing to remember is to do your research. Here are a few tips based on my experience:
1. Ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations.
Of course, this may be difficult if you’ve just relocated to a new city like I did. But asking anyone you may know—co-workers, acquaintances, etc., can be helpful. Most people will be completely candid about their experiences with veterinary care. Also, consider looking through reviews on such sites like Yelp.com.
2. Make sure that your potential vet is familiar with pet insurance.
You can use your pet insurance policy at any veterinarian. Finding a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about pet insurance will ensure that they can help your pet in times of need without hesitation or confusion regarding your pet insurance policy. It is also beneficial to discuss pet insurance with your veterinarian in advance and even consider providing them with your policy number and blank claim forms to keep on file.
3. Go to the vet’s office. Ask to talk to the vet and take note of your surroundings.
Even if you read glowing reviews online, you’ll never really know what a potential vet is like until you actually visit his office. Most vets welcome the fact that you are shopping around, so it’s likely that you can set up an informal interview in which you meet the vet and his or her staff. When you visit the office, take in your surroundings. Do the animals and their owners seem happy? Is the front desk staff friendly and forthcoming? If you see anything that casts doubts, reconsider going to this vet.
4. Make sure that the vet has 24-hour emergency care.
Not all veterinarian offices provide 24-hour emergency care service. If something were to happen to your pet, like an accident or illness that requires hospitalization, you want to make sure that they can get care in the same office as your vet. If not, be sure that they can provide you with a recommended emergency veterinary clinic.
5. Look for vets who have lots of experience with specific problems your pets may have.
Personally, I own both a dog and a pet parrot. While most vets do care for birds, exotic birds have very particular health concerns, which many vets are not adequately trained to address. As such, I take both my dog and parrot to different vets. One vet specializes in avian care.
More than anything, choosing the right vet comes down to your impressions. See how your vet interacts with your pet, and determine then if they’d make a good match. You’re looking for your pet’s doctor after all, not yours!
Amelia Wood pursues freelance writing projects in the medical billing and coding online niche. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to Wood: amelia1612(at)gmail.com.