Knowing how to pick the right veterinarian is crucial for your dog's health and well being. In fact, choosing the right vet should be one of your top priorities. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a vet for your dog, or any pet.
Don't grab the yellow pages and look for the closest veterinarians to your house. You wouldn't pick a family doctor that way and your dog's health shouldn't be treated with any less consideration. Ask friends and co-workers that own pets which vet they use. Make sure they are pleased with the attention the vet gives their pet. Word of mouth is probably the very best exposure a doctor can get. If someone is happy with how they are treated they will surely tell you why. The opposite is also true! Bad experiences are always something people want to expose.
If your local police department has a K-9 unit, inquire which veterinarians they use. Police dogs must be kept in prime health. Local kennel clubs can also be a good source of information.
Once you have a few recommendations phone each of them and ask if you can bring your dog or cat in for a "look see". Tell them you are looking for a new vet and want to see their facilities. When you visit the vet's office pay attention to the interaction between your pet and the vet. You won't want a vet that your dog seems leary of. If they don't seem to mesh when everything is okay it will most certainly lead to added stress for your pet during a medical crisis.
While at the office ask questions. You will want to inquire about the different services available. Do they have their own lab for testing and xrays? If they have to send lab work and xrays out for analysis that could lead to unnecessary delays. Ask about prices. Do they have a payment plan for emergency and expensive surgeries? How many vets are on duty? Is it a one vet office or are there other vets that share the office? What about emergency services and hours? Just like people, many pet accidents occur outside of normal 8:00 to 5:00 business hours. Make sure the vet you choose has emergency hour arrangements.
When you are comfortable with the veterinarian's answers, and when your pet seems to like him or her, you have found the right vet! Hopefully, the only contact you will have will be for routine visits. But, when an emergency occurs it will be comforting to know your pet will be in good hands.
Steve Kettle is a freelance writer and publisher of a pet website. For a FREE newsletter, and more tips on this and other pet topics please visit
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