How Do I Choose?
It is important not to wait until there is an emergency to choose a vet. If you are looking to adopt a new dog you should begin looking for a vet as soon as you bring her home or even before. Most people choose a vet by location alone. They simply find the one closest to their house and go with them even though this may not be the best choice for them or their dog.
The world of pet care is changing rapidly. With growing new trends like holistic care, changes in vaccination recommendations and new information about nutrition, it is important to select a vet who is knowledgeable and up to date on the newest information, policies and procedures. When looking for a vet, you should make sure their views about healthcare are in line with your own. Some vets will recommend surgery for certain ailments while others will prescribe a more natural approach including physical therapy and only choose surgery as a last resort. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable discussing your dog’s health and well-being with them. If you feel uncertain or unable to ask questions then they are not the best fit for you.
What to Look For
Be sure to schedule an initial consultation to tour the location and discuss your questions and concerns with the veterinarian prior to making your decision. Remember during this visit to pay attention to everything including the way the receptionist greets you and other clients. Pay attention to how they interact with the animals. Make sure the facilities are clean and up to date. Take notice of the informational packets or handouts they provide in both the waiting and examination rooms.
Ask plenty of questions. Remember you are going to be entrusting them with your dog’s life, this is your chance to interview them and make sure they are the right fit. Ask about their views on different medical issues. Ask about the staff and how they handle their clients. If your dog has any behavior issues be sure to ask how they approach them and what you can do to help.
Technical knowledge counts for a lot when choosing a vet but it is only part of the equation. You have to make sure that you and your dog are comfortable with whoever you choose. Hopefully the three of you will have a long and happy relationship together.
Things to Consider
1. How do they interact with your dog? How does your dog feel there? Dogs pick up on a lot and can tell us much through their body language and actions.
2. What overall feeling do you get from being there? Do you feel at ease or rushed?
3. What is their emergency protocol? Do they have a 24-hr emergency care?
4. How do they handle overnight stays should your dog need one?
5. Are things explained in terms you can understand?
6. Will your dog always see the same vet or is it a team approach?
7. Unfortunately, money does play a part. Ask what payment options they have especially if something major is needed that you cannot afford on the spot.
I Already Have a Vet
If you found yourself reading the paragraphs above and wondering if your vet is really the right vet for you, chances are they might not be. If you have any doubt, concerns or issues with your current vet, remember you are not obligated to stay with them. If they do not take the time to answer your questions and work with you feel free to explore other options. If you find a vet you are interested in schedule a consultation. Follow the steps above and see how they make you feel in comparison to your current vet.
Choosing a vet is really a personal choice. The right vet for one person is not necessarily the right vet for someone else. The most important thing is to choose a vet that makes you feel comfortable, will answer your questions, address your concerns and will work with you to improve the life of your dog. Remember healthcare is a partnership you should always have the ability to make a choice. After all no one knows your dog better than you do, so be their voice and stand up for them. They deserve it!
The Holistic Dog Book by Denise Flaim