Whether you’ve just moved in to a new place or just decided to get a fur baby, finding the right veterinarian is your first order of business. Someone—a person or an institution—that genuinely cares for your pet and that you can trust with your pet’s health. But where do you even begin?
Where to Start - Ask for Recommendations from Your Own Social Circle
Finding the right doctor for your pet often starts with the people you trust to begin with: your friends, neighbors in the dog park you frequent, or animal shelters. You can also use the American Animal Hospital Association to find out what the accredited clinics in your area are. At this point, you’re supposed to come up with a list of possible veterinarians around your area.
What to Consider – Narrow down your list by asking the right questions.
Once you come up with a list, the next step is to find out if they’re suitable for your fur baby. You can do this by asking a couple of important factors that the right vet for your pet must have.
Number of veterinarians. You may want to consider a clinic with a multi-vet practice. This way, you can be sure that your pet will have the proper care in as many health areas as possible. Also, a clinic with a multi-vet practice will naturally have better technology and staff member to take care of your concerns.
A good referral system. What’s the policy of the vet regarding referrals? Or is the vet open to referrals at all? The vet must know when to refer your pet to the proper specialist when he cannot provide what is required. It’s always good to know that the vet is after quality care for your pet, not your money.
Monitoring of patients. Find out if the clinic has an overnight employee that checks on the patients routinely, or just takes a quick stop every so often. If the clinic doesn’t have 24/7 care, you might want to ask if they regularly refer such patients to a 24/7 facility.
Equipment. You should look for a clinic that has at least the basic equipment to properly take care of your pet. The equipment for measuring your pets’ blood pressure, oxygen levels, and red blood cells levels. They must also have a digital radiography equipment or a processor that can develop X-rays of your pet automatically. If the vet doesn’t have these, there’s definitely a reason to worry.
When to Pay a Visit – Seek an appointment with the clinic
Before finally deciding on the clinic, you must pay them a visit first. And when you do, it’s best not to bring your pet in. This is your chance to answer some of the most important questions about their treatment philosophy. Sure, it might feel weird and unlike anything you’ve done before… But remember, your pet can’t talk, and his life is entirely up to you. Ask the right questions, and you’ll be saving your pet.
First, consider how clean and organized they are. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the exam room, which should be nothing less than sanitary.
Second, they must have complete records of their patients. Ask to see a sample, and find out if it’s detailed enough to your liking. And if their records are fully digitized, then that’s even better.
Third, ask them about the veterinary medications for dogs. The vet prescriptions must be dispensed and monitored properly.
Fourth, and this is corollary to the third question, is the surgical techniques that they perform. While you are at it, you might as well ask about what their uniform is during a surgery. It must include sterile gown, sterile gloves, scrubs, a cap, and a mask.
Fifth, your vet must understand your needs as a pet owner. He must, for example, be on board your plans to train your dog with a training dog collar. Or he must understand modern techniques used for dog barks, like a silent whistle for dogs. This all sounds normal, but you’d be surprise at how many vets don’t know these.
At the end of the day, your vet is your partner in taking care of your pet. It goes without saying that your partner must be as fully committed and invested in the health of your pet as you are. Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be keeping your fur baby for a long, long time.