The Right One: Choosing a Vet

Your dog should not spend a lost of time at the vets. At the same time, a vet’s office should never be strange or frightening. Dogs require a regular trip to make sure they are in good shape. A dog has to have check ups and requires vaccinations. If you own a dog, you need to have a vet.

Selecting a vet can be simple. You can find one in the Yellow Pages. You can ask a friend or receive a recommendation from a family member. If you are moving, your current vet may be able to help you locate a vet in your new community. Yet is this the right vet for you and your dog?

Before opting for just any vet, you need to ask certain questions. You need to visit, check out the facilities and examine the credentials. Hunting for a vet for your dog is similar in process and design to finding yourself a doctor. Be sure to consider all aspects. Do not short-change your animal.

A vet needs to be skilled in the work. He or she must be a professional. Vets must be compassionate about their patients and passionate about their job. A good vet is not afraid to provide you with good advice based on sound medical knowledge and personal wisdom. A good vet has both a heart and a brain. For a vet, medicine is both a science and an art.

A good vet is also able to communicate with your pet and, hopefully, with you. Sometimes, I would err on the side of the animal. Yet, you should consider other factors when selecting your vet. These run the gamut of location to paper work.

• Facilities. Are they clean and bright? Are they spacious with plenty of room for the clients and their owners? Can you sit comfortably while waiting? Is there an assortment of literature available on pertinent matters e.g. worms, spaying, heartworm, Pet insurance?

• Services: Does the vet do in-house lab tests or does he have to send them elsewhere? Is surgery performed here or do you have to take your pet to another clinic? What kind of services can and will your vet handle? Does the vet make referrals?

• Convenience. Is the vet office or hospital convenient for you? How late and early is your vet open? Are there parking issues? Does the clinic handle emergencies?

• Office: How does the Vet maintain records? Do they send out handy reminder cards? Do you receive certificates of sterilization and vaccination in addition to the tags? Does the office print out or provide you with detailed records on such things as patient care? Can they give you fact sheets on the health issues your dog may or does face?

• Payment and Affordability. While we all love our pets, sometimes we have to be practical. How does the vet request payment? Is it all or nothing or can you provide cash installments? Do they ever do pro bono work? What is their stand on pet health insurance?

You need to consider these and other aspects of veterinary care, before you entrust your dog to a particular vet. In fact, you may want to try out more than one vet before you find the right one. 

Information written by Gary Hendrix – for additional dog training articles by Gary, see the recent topics on dog carriers & suggestions on dog training.