Choose the Right Veterinarian

To choose the right veterinarian for your pets, you have to look at many of the same attributes you’d use to choose a medical doctor for your family. You, of course, want only a veterinarian who has graduated from an accredited college. Plus, you’ll want to find a vet who fits the needs of you and your pets. To choose the right veterinarian, use these helpful steps:

1. Get Recommendations
Check with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are also pet owners to find out who they recommend. You can also ask your pet’s groomer, sitter, or kennel owner for the names of reputable veterinarians in your area.

2. Make Appointments
Once you have five or six prospective names of veterinarians you can choose from, you’ll need to check each person out. The best way to do this is to call their offices and schedule fifteen-minute appointments. Not to take your pets to. These appointments are to meet the veterinarians and their office staff, and to take a quick tour around their offices.

Note: If you own exotic pets such as snakes and birds, check to make sure the prospective veterinarian cares for these types of animals.

If any of the veterinarians on your list refuse to make a “getting to know you” appointment, cross their name off. They must be too busy already to take on the care for your pets. (Or, they don’t simply care about favorable public relations.)

3. When you meet each prospective veterinarian, you’ll want to:

Find Out About the Veterinarian Him or Her Self
a) About his or her college education and certification
b) About the vet’s experience
c) What professional organizations he or she belongs to

Find Out About Their Office Staff, Hours and Policies
a) Meet the staff- are they friendly and helpful? Is their appearance clean and neat? For your pet’s benefit, are they professional? Do they seem knowledgeable about their jobs?

b) Inquire about their office hours- are they convenient for you to bring your pet? How are after-hours pet emergencies handled? That is, is the veterinarian on call 24/7? If he or she’s on vacation or otherwise unavailable, will there be a professional fill-in available?

c) Don’t try to choose the right veterinarian by basing your opinion on money. However, you’ll still need to find out what his/her costs are for examinations, spayings, neuterings, and so on. Also, find out what procedures and treatments this veterinarian can provide for your pet. This is especially important if your pet has special health problems and needs.

Take A Quick Tour Around the Office
a) Does the veterinarian have up-to-date equipment?
b) Is the office clean and neat?
c) Is the building kept in good repair?
d) Is the veterinarian’s office busy with clients, but not too busy? A vet who takes on too many animal patients won’t have the time to properly care for your pet.

Once you have gathered all of your information, you can check out each vet with the Better Business Bureau and with your state’s veterinary licensing board. Finally, you can use your findings to choose the right veterinarian for you and your pet.

Of course, even after you’ve done all of your homework, there’s a final test: if you choose the right veterinarian, your pet(s) will like your choice as well. If it’s been at least a year since the last exam, the vet will perform a general examination on each of your pets. Also, if you have an existing veterinarian, the new one will want to transfer your pet’s medical records to his or her office.

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