Choosing the best veterinarian for your beloved dog is essential.
Although we don’t like to think negatively, it’s very possible that you will have to put the life of your dog in their hands in their lifetime. It’s crucial that you trust your veterinarian and know that they are capable and qualified to treat your dog accordingly.
But how do you find the best veterinarian for your dog?
Continue reading our handy guide to find out the top 9 tips on finding the best vet clinic.
1. Ask Your Friends and Family for Referrals
No, your friends aren’t pet experts, but they are valuable sources of information.
They can tell you their experiences of a vet practice and how their pet was treated. They will also be able to tell you how clean and organized the office is, and how good the vet is at explaining things to the owners.
2. Organize a Tour
Make sure you call the practice and introduce yourself and say you are a prospective client. Veterinary practices will be more than happy to give you a tour. When you are touring the practice, ensure the whole place is clean.
Sick animals have accidents, but overall the whole practice should be spotless.
If the clinic doesn’t want to give you a tour, then cross them off your list and move onto the next available practice.
3. Check Qualifications and Specialty
You are looking for DVM’s or VMD’s. They are the GP’s of the veterinary world and will often have accompanying qualifications for specialist knowledge.
Many vet practices specialize in small pets, large animals, farm animals or exotic species. Ensure you find a vet that is happy to treat your dog and has the knowledge and experience to do so.
Some practices may also be specialist centers for certain conditions. You could find your local practice is the leading local orthopedic center or specialist cancer unit. Just ask at reception, they will give you all the information you need.
If you’re wondering if your dog needs to go to the vet check out this guide.
4. Overnight Care
Overnight care is absolutelyessential if your dog becomes unwell and needs to stay at the vet’s. Ask which staff, and how many, are with the animals overnight.
Is it just a veterinary technician? Are veterinary nurses there? Does one vet do the night shift too?
What you don’t want to find is that they leave hospitalized animals by themselves overnight. Some supervision and monitoring are always required for sick animals.
You should also check their emergency protocol, so you know what to do with an emergency with your dog.
5. Pain Management
This is a very important question to ask the head vet.
At some point in their life, your dog will be in pain. Whether it’s from a simple neutering surgery or old age, they will require pain relief.
Old school vets may be reluctant to prescribe pain relief as they believe animals in pain will be calmer and quieter and therefore heal quicker.
Recent research has shown the opposite, and pain relief should always be given to an animal in pain. Also, from a behavioral point of view, the most placid dog could turn aggressive if they are in severe pain. This is something you’ll want to avoid.
6. Who Do They Refer to For Specialist Treatment?
Your local vet is the GP of the animal world. If your dog requires specialist treatment, they will have to be transferred to a specialist vet, just like humans do.
Ask where your dog will be transferred to if they ever require specialist treatment. If your vet consults specialists regularly, this is a good thing. General vets can’t know everything, and it’s good your vet is aware of their knowledge limits.
This goes for both humans and animals.
Are the reception staff polite and professional? Do the nurses and vet techs look happy? Are the veterinarians happy to explain everything to you, or do they rush you out the door?
The behavior of the staff is a key indicator of how the practice runs and the ‘behind the scenes’ operations.
Likewise, do the vets use ethical coercion techniques when your dog is being less than helpful during an examination? You do not want a vet who ishappy to use pain or unnecessary force as a way of restraining an animal.
The only time this may be acceptable is in a life or death emergency where they have no other choice but to forcefully restrain your dog. It should not be commonplace for a routine examination or vaccination.
8. Read the Online Reviews
Clients who are unhappy will probably leave a bad review online, along with the clients who are thrilled with the service.
Taking a quick look on Google will soon uncover any major problems with that clinic and save yourself time on your hunt for the best veterinarian.
Veterinary care and surgery cost the same as it does for humans, so a cheap vet is likely cutting corners. Find a vet that charges the average price for your area. Many vets have payment plans or yearly subscriptions that cover a certain amount of care for your dog.
These plans can save you a lot of money in unexpected vet bills.
Keeping your dog healthy, with exercise and correct nutrition, will help to avoid unexpected vet costs.
Find the Best Veterinarian Today
We hope you will find the best veterinarian for your dog. Most vets really care about their patients, and you willsee that from the moment you step foot in the clinic.
For more information on dog professionals, check out the other articles on our blog.