10 Things to Look for in a Great Vet
From communication to cleanliness, there’s much to consider for your dog’s vet clinic
As much as we like to think of medical professionals as super-human healers, many of us have had a bad enough visit to make us shop around. And the same goes for vets. It’s sometimes hard to find the perfect one.
Well, there’s no such thing as a perfect vet. But a good sign for a skilled dog doctor is a willingness to keep learning and finding the right solutions for your specific pet. The last thing you want is a disinterested veterinarian who acts like a know-it-all, and upsells you on expensive choices.
Your dog’s health and wellbeing is constantly on your mind, right? So you want the best professional care out there. Here are 10 essential factors to consider when choosing the right vet for your pet.
Having a clinic a block away from home doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your dog. And Yelp reviews are never the final word. Ask around – to real people – for the best recommendations and firsthand experience. Neighbours, groomers, and even local shelters will give you the real dirt.
Front Line Friendliness
Your first contact is your first impression, and that is most likely the people at the front desk. This might sound minor, but the service you receive from the receptionist over the phone is a clear indicator of the clinic’s approach to pet care. You want someone to take your call seriously, act calm and friendly, and really try to fit your times and needs in. If you get someone on the other line that feels put out by your call, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Look and Vibe
It’s perfectly alright to visit the clinic beforehand, without your pup, to get a sense of what it’s about. Is it clean and welcoming? Are the vets’ accreditations displayed? Is there a decent sized staff of doctors and technicians? Are cats and dogs treated in separate areas? Are there personal touches, like photos of dog clients and positive thank-you cards on display?
A good vet never thinks about his other appointments when it’s your time in the room. She should give you her undivided attention, ask the right questions, and be a rockstar at listening skills. When explaining medical matters to you, the vet should have a way of breaking things down for you to understand without being condescending or skipping detail.
It’s important that you like your vet’s personality. After all, this is the guy who keeps your dog alive! Good bedside manner takes compassion, attention, and a gentle touch. You want a vet who knows his stuff, but is helpful and humble enough to recommend other specialists if needed. And it goes a long way when he remembers your dog’s name and is genuinely happy to see the two of you. Bonus points for a sense of humour.
Inquire if all diagnostics are done on-site or sent out. Delays in getting results might be an issue for your needs. In the observation room, you also want a vet who is good with her hands, treating your pet with care and professionally diagnosing your dog with the right touch and tools.
Make sure your health and nutrition beliefs are the same as your dog’s caregiver. Do they practice holistic or alternative treatments? Do they share the same food philosophies as you? What are their views on cancer, spaying/neutering, and euthanasia? Do they have a fear-free approach? If your philosophies aren’t a match, there’s no point sticking around.
Services and Specialties
Many vets will specialize in certain departments that might make the choice clear for your dog. Of course you want a well-rounded doctor, but some will also have professional interests in things like dentistry, cardiology, geriatrics, and behaviour training that just might be the magic formula for you.
Hours and Emergency Plans
It’s a drag working weekdays and having a vet that closes at 5pm and takes the weekends off. Seek out a clinic that will try to accommodate your life. For emergencies, if the clinic isn’t a 24-hour facility, make sure your vet supplies you with the number and directions to the nearest place.
Fees and Payment
We don’t have to tell you how stressful an unplanned vet bill can be. That’s why you should always ask for estimates and options for payment and instalments. Many clinics offer student and senior rates as well as multiple pet prices.
Finding the right vet can be a time consuming task, but when you and your dog find the right match, it will all be worth it for the long run!