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9 Tips for Choosing a Veterinarian for Your Pet

Armen Hareyan's picture
Cute little dog

Choose a veterinarian for your dog before your pet gets sick. The last thing you want to do is try to pick an unknown veterinarian out of the phone book or online when your pet is sick. Instead, check around when you have lots of time before your pet ever gets sick. Consider the following issues:

1. Do you want a vet who is located near you? Location can be an important issue for many owners, especially if your dog has an emergency.

2. What days and hours is the veterinarian open? If you work then make sure that the vet will be open on days when you are off.

3. Does the veterinarian handle emergencies after hours or refer clients to a pet emergency hospital? Many vets no longer handler emergency calls after hours but some still do. Find out what a vet's policy is on emergencies.

4. What services does the veterinarian provide? Some vets have more advanced equipment than others, for example, and are able to do more diagnostic testing or can provide more advanced treatments. However, not all pets require these services.

5. How do the vet and staff handle phone calls? Sometimes you may need to call your vet. You may not know if you should take your pet in to see the doctor or not, or you might just have a question. Will you get a helpful response? Are client phone calls returned quickly?

6. If you choose a multi-veterinarian practice for your dog, can you see the vet you prefer? Sometimes you or your pet might like one vet better than the others. Can you see the vet you like best? Or do you have to see whoever is available?

7. What methods of payment does the veterinarian accept? Vet care can be expensive these days, especially for illnesses and injuries. Find out in advance what kind of payment your vet expects. Does he or she expect bills to be paid in full at the time of the visit? Can you make payment arrangements or pay on account?

8. Does the vet accept pet insurance? A relatively small number of people in North America have pet insurance for their pets but it is growing in popularity. Find out if your vet accepts pet insurance. Pet insurance usually requires you to pay for the services yourself and then the company will reimburse you for some portion of the bill.

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9. What is the veterinarian's staff like? This can be important since the staff often spends as much or more time with your pet as the vet.

How to find a good veterinarian for your pet

There are a lot of ways to find a good vet. One time-honored way is to ask your friends and neighbors. Talk to people whose opinions you respect who have pets. Ask them which vet they use. They will probably recommend a vet they use. This is often a good vet to check out.

You can also check online. Many cities have sites which offer client reviews of local veterinarians. You may find some extreme reviews from disgruntled clients, but there should be a consensus.

You can also check online to find out which vets belong to veterinary organizations you respect such as your state veterinary medical association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, or other organizations. If you're looking for a vet who is a specialist, check out his or her credentials.

When you have found a few vets who fit your criteria, pay a visit to their offices or veterinary hospitals. Do you like the atmosphere? Is the facility clean and pleasant? Is the staff courteous and friendly? You should be able to form an impression.

You probably won't know what you think of the veterinarian until you bring your pet in for a visit but these are some good ways to choose a vet for your pet. Plan ahead and consider all the factors before your pet needs to see the vet.

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Article by Nancy Cope a proud owner of 4 rescue dogs and owner of Pampered Dog Gifts an online dog boutique that specializes in special gifts for pampered pooches. Please visit Pampered-Dog-Gifts.com to shop for custom leather dog collars, gourmet treats, Halloween dog costumes and more for your spoiled pooch.

Reported by Nancy Cope
Reprinted with permission: Reference
Image: Creative Commons License