Finding the right vet for you and your pets is critical. It’s important not to wait until you have an emergency to become familiar with a practice you trust and one your animals become comfortable with.
Even before a new pet comes home, a vet should be selected so a visit can be arranged shortly thereafter. Here are 10 tips to help you make the right choice for you:
- Hours of operation. Check if the practice has full hours preferably seven days a week and some evenings if not 24 hours
- Night time care. Check to see if the practice has humans on staff overnight, preferably vet techs not just “babysitters”; your pet should never be left alone whether recovering from a procedure or being boarded
- Veterinarian’s background: are they board certified in any specialties. If you have a senior pet you may want a practices that has cancer or senior care specialists; is this a single doctor practice or are there several doctors on staff
- Communication: a good rapport between you and your vet is critical so meet and see if your philosophies dovetail and this is someone you can speak frankly with should emergencies or tough decisions arise
- Staff : is the front office staff patient and welcoming, do they handle your concerns with respect; are the vet techs licensed and is there knowledgeable staff with little turnover
- Location: this may seem important but don’t let this be your deciding factor. Better to drive a bit farther to find everything else you need
- Environment: does your animal feel comfortable there; do they take their time with a nervous animal; do they handle your senior or fragile pet with care and kindness
- Reputation and personal references: the best way to find a stellar vet is to speak with others; when someone is happy with their doctor they share it and the best practices are built on reputation and referrals
- Services: Do you need boarding or grooming? Do you want holistic services available to you such as acupuncture? Do you need a specialist such as dental or heart on staff?
- Trust: and most important is your trust in the care your animal is receiving. I always knew when I traveled and my dogs were boarded at West Flamingo Animal Hospital that should anything happen while I was away, they were already in the right place. In fact Coco’s first episode signaling the near end of her incredible life occurred while she was being boarded and I was informed and came home to know she was in the right place at the right time and we could move forward together with her care. And when the end came she was held and surrounded by love not only by me and friends but her doctors and all the staff who had come to love her.