Your pet is a part of your family and you want the best for them. When choosing a vet, you want someone knowledgeable, experienced and kind so they can provide top-notch and compassionate care to your pet.
With the right tips for finding the perfect vet for your pet, you can find a provider that matches your pet’s needs and will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.
Where to Find a Veterinarian
Finding a veterinarian starts with making a list of potential candidates that you can narrow down based on your needs and preferences. Use the following resources to discover veterinarians in your local area that you can research further to decide if they are a perfect fit.
● Personal Recommendations
Asking friends or family for personal recommendations is a great way to find a trustworthy vet. People with pets can offer valuable insights into the quality of care provided by local veterinarians and share information about the vet’s communication style, pricing and bedside manner. Ask about specific qualities important to you and your pet, such as compassion, experience and expertise in a particular area of animal health.
● Online Searches
Use a search engine like Google or an online directory to find a veterinarian. Type a phrase like “veterinarian near me” into Google to locate vet clinics in your area. Click on the top search results to view a vet’s Google Business Page or website to read reviews, see office hours and browse their qualifications.
Online directories such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or VetSpecialists.com provide a searchable database of accredited veterinarians in your area.
● Breed Groups or Clubs
Finding a veterinarian through breed clubs or special interest groups can be an effective way to locate a vet. Your group may have a list of recommended veterinarians with expertise in treating your dog’s breed. For example, if you belong to a Facebook group that promotes ethically-sourced wet dog food for pets, you can ask the group for recommendations for vets whose pet care philosophies align with your own.
What to Consider When Evaluating a Potential Vet
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) mentions several considerations for evaluating a veterinarian clinic for your pup. When researching potential vets, consider these factors:
● Location and Office Hours
When choosing a veterinarian for your pet, consider the clinic’s location and office hours. Choose a conveniently located veterinary clinic within a few miles of your home that offers flexible hours to schedule routine check-ups, vaccinations and treatment appointments.
Also, select a vet that offers emergency services with extended hours. If an emergency happens with your pet, having a clinic nearby can help save your pet’s life and get them the care they need.
Questions to ask:
- What are your regular office hours?
- Do you offer extended or weekend hours?
- Are there any days or times when you are closed or not available?
- How do you handle emergencies outside of regular office hours?
- Do you offer home visits for certain types of appointments?
- Do you have any telemedicine options available for routine check-ups or follow-up appointments?
- How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment?
● Treatment and Care Philosophies
When choosing a vet, choose a provider whose treatment philosophies match yours. Meet with different veterinarians and ask about their approaches to pet care, so you can choose one whose treatment approach matches your preferences.
For example, if you prefer to feed your dog a specific diet, such as grass-fed beef dog food, find a vet who can provide guidance and support on this type of nutritional plan.
Questions to ask:
- What is your approach to dog health and wellness?
- How do you feel about alternative or holistic treatments for dogs?
- What is your opinion on raw or grain-free nutrition for dogs, such as fish-based dog food?
- What types of supplements do you recommend for dogs?
- How do you address behavior issues in dogs?
- What is your approach to preventative care for dogs?
- How do you work with pet owners to develop a treatment plan for their dog?
● Accreditations and Experience
When researching veterinarians, look for a vet with the proper certifications, accreditations and experience. For example, they should be accredited by an organization like the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). To determine if a vet is licensed, you can contact the Veterinary State Board in your location.
Questions to ask:
- What accreditations and licenses do you have?
- How many years have you been practicing veterinary medicine?
- Do you have experience treating my particular type of pet?
- Have you treated pets with my pet’s specific health condition before?
- Do you specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine?
- Can you provide references or testimonials from other pet owners you have worked with?
- How do you handle complicated or rare cases that may require more specialized care?
When selecting your pet’s veterinarian, consider the fees associated with their services. A 2020 study reported that the average vet visit was around $161, making it important to choose a provider who offers high-quality care for affordable fees.
Look for a vet who provides transparent pricing, takes pet insurance and offers payment plans to pet owners. Consider factors like the cost of routine preventative care, emergency services and any medications or treatments your pet may need to ensure that you can afford the care your pet needs in the long term.
Questions to ask:
- What are your fees for routine preventative care services?
- What is your fee structure for services such as surgeries or emergency care?
- Do you offer payment plans or financing options?
- Will I receive a cost estimate for my pet’s treatment before starting any services?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- Do you accept pet insurance and if so, which providers do you work with?
Tour the Clinic and Meet with the Vet
Selecting a new vet for your pet is crucial for their health and well-being. Take the time to meet with the vet before making your final decision. Tour the facility and speak with the provider and their staff to get a feel for how they treat pet owners and their animals. By researching vets in your area, asking insightful questions and meeting with them in person, you can choose the ideal provider for your pet’s long-term health.