Congratulations on being a pet parent. Let the fun begin!
One of the most important decisions you'll make now is choosing the right veterinarian for wellness and urgent care. There are a lot of resources online to help you make the decision, but let's narrow it down for you a bit.
- Is there a veterinarian in your area who specializes in your pet's breed? I was lucky enough to adopt my greyhounds from a local rescue center who only rescue greyhounds. They are a special breed, with some very unique physiological characteristics and behaviors, and being able to choose a veterinarian who is associated with the rescue center and provides regular care to these retired racing dogs has been very valuable to us. If you have a specialty breed and there are vets who have experience with your breed, call them. Meet with them. Let them meet your pet. It could be that easy!
- Check with family, friends, and colleagues and ask for a referral. Consider calling a local rescue shelter too. They are oftentimes already working with very reputable and trustworthy vets.
- Check hours of operation of the clinic/hospital and make sure the vet you are considering has availability beyond 8 to 5.
- Call or visit all the clinics you are considering. Are the staff friendly, helpful and knowledgeable? Is the practice busy and hectic? There are times with a busy waiting room points to the value of the staff providing care, so don't be put off by that.
- When speaking with staff and veterinarians at the clinics you are considering, do their care philosophies align with your own? For example, if the quality of life is most important to you for your pet, is that a shared value with the veterinary staff? Do they support alternative treatments and therapies?
- Talk about costs and payment options. Is payment due at the time of service, or is a line of credit available?
- As important as all these factors are, the proximity of the clinic to your home should be considered too, especially in the case of a medical emergency. If it isn't close by, does the clinic partner with someone in your area for emergency visits? Unfortunately, we all know there are times when getting our pet help quickly is paramount.
- Is your vet available for phone calls, texts or even Skype or video calls?
- Most important to me, does your pet like the vet and support staff? If my dogs feel secure and safe with the staff, they are less likely to be stressed and uncooperative.