Selecting the right and the proper veterinarian is a very important process and one that should not be taken lightly. The clinic should be the best you can do for your pet! It has to be very good and professional, but also affordable and close to home. In this post, I will give you 6 quick pointers that are very important when selecting your veterinarian.
We all know that it can be a difficult process, as you are entrusting the health and the well-being of your loved pet(s) into the hands of the clinic’s staff. It is a personal decision – but you there a few general guidelines that could help you decide if the pet clinic you are visiting is the right clinic for you and your pet. You want to make sure that the staff at your clinic is dedicated to give your loved one the best care possible and that they will do so with understanding and kindness, to lessen the stress your pet might be experiencing.
I write this article from Calgary, which is a big city (at least by Canadian standards) and while it has some of the finest veterinarian clinics in Canada, you still have to consider a few aspects other then quality of care.
Please consider the following points when deciding on your veterinarian.
Remember – the most important thing is that you want someone you can trust. Just like your family doctor, your veterinarian will play a major role in the health and happiness of your furry friend (or scaly, I love them all equally)!
Without further ado, I give you my list of 6 things to watch for when choosing a veterinarian clinic for your pet:
- Arrange for a tour or a brief visit in your chosen veterinary clinic to have a brief conversation with their staff and have overall impressions about the facilities.
While not all clinics provide tours, most clinics are happy to have a quick chat with you before you book your appointment. If possible, come in person without your pet before booking an appointment and have a chat with the staff. Be cautious of a clinic’s services if they are reluctant to have an open conversation about their facilities.
Keep an open eye for details when you’re in the clinic. The most important factors that are easy to spot are the cleanliness of the clinic and how modern and well-organized things look.
A clean environment reduces the chances that your loved pet will pick up an infection and an organized space shows attention to details and careful planning – you want those qualities in the person that is going to care for your loved one. It is important that that clinic has modernized equipment, as this often makes treatment better, faster and safer for your pet.
Finally, keep an eye for how professional the technician behave and how comfortable they are with animals. Some clinics settle for less professional help for some of the treatments and you want nothing but experts when the stacks are your pet’s health. Remember – these people will be taking care of your pet! Don’t settle for a mediocre treatment, there are plenty of clinics that will be happy to provide you with the best service possible!
- What particular things to look at and things you should ask.
When looking for the right veterinarian for your pet, you should ask specific questions, as they can help you decide if the clinic is right for you. Prepare them before coming to the clinic.
Some important points to raise might be:
- What is the specific appointment availability and accessibility? How much ahead of time do you have to book an appointment? Think if these hours suitable for you.
- What are their procedures for nuisance management? Some pets might have very specific problems or care required. Make sure the veterinarian is capable of dealing with those.
- Does the veterinarian transfer the patients care to specialists? What if your pet has some rare condition?
- Are emergency services and facilities available? If not, which 24 hours clinic would the veterinarian recommend? Always have a phone number or an address you can use in the case of a medical emergency with your pet. I hope you won’t need it, but proper preparation for emergency might save your pet’s life.
- Ask a friend or consult your family
The best possible way to start searching is when your friend or family member has a personal experience with a clinic, as you can gain some insight about the services offered and the quality of care. This can help you tremendously when looking for the right vet for your pet.
They can usually provide a general address and a preferred way of accessing the location – these factors are minor, but of greater importance if you are traveling with your pet. Some pets dislike car travel (especially cats!) and minimizing time spent traveling is of great value.
Obviously, it also speaks to the care’s quality – your friend’s recommendation means that he or she were happy with the care their pet received!
- The cleanliness of the location
When selecting your veterinarian, a major factor to consider aside from the location itself is the cleanliness of the location. Take a good look at your surroundings when in the clinic.
Ask to see where your pet will be kept if you are to leave it at the location – kennel or cage cleanness speaks volumes about how much attention a clinic is giving to the small details. Another good place to look is at the office itself – how clean are the floors? How tidy are the rooms where treatment is given to animals? Is the person handling your pet wearing a clean outfit and has clean hands?
A dirty environment shows lack of care and can be dangerous to your pet’s health, especially if it is in need of medical attention!
- The value of personality.
This is a very subjective point, but you must consider the personality of your veterinarian and the staff in the clinic. Visits to the clinic are stressful both for you and your pet and you want to be surrounded by people you feel you can trust. This is an especially important factor if you’re considering two options that are of the same quality on all other points.
If you feel that you and your pet “clicks” with the veterinarian after your first visit, this is a good indication that you might have found the right clinic! If, on the other hand, your pet is constantly afraid of the veterinarian and you feel he is not understanding your concerns, you might want to consider moving to a different location.
- Important factor of affordability.
I have already listed several factors that could help you and your pet select the right veterinary clinic. The last point is the cost of treatment. Let’s face it; this is a very important factor for many of us as well.
In the case of an emergency, you will be very concerned about your pet’s health and this can result in a fat bill to which you agreed under pressure. Make sure that you ask the right questions from the very beginning, to know and understand what to do in a case of an emergency.
Ask for the prices ahead of treatment and plan for these expenses in your future budgeting. A good idea is to have a “pet emergency fund” – set aside some money for your pets needs every month (this could be 50 dollars). This way, you’ll be able to afford emergency care for your loved pet!
Don’t be shy to shop around. While many clinics charge similar prices, some charge more than others. Consider this element in combination with all the other points mentioned – you don’t always want to go with the cheapest option offered!
While there are other factors which you might want to consider when selecting the right veterinarian, I hope that this list helps you establish a general understanding.
Oh, by the way – here’s some bonus content: check out this video to avoid the top 5 mistakes people make when choosing their vet.
Spoiler alert: NOT asking your veterinarian questions and NOT having a tour is the number one mistake!