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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

How to Choose the Best Vet for Your Pet

Finding the right veterinarian for the beloved pets in your family is a major decision for doting pet owners. Here’s a guide to help you find just the right vet to ensure your pet lives an optimum, healthy life.

Recommendations required

Start by asking friends and family for referrals to their favored veterinary clinics. Reputable breeders and adoption organizations are another good source for recommendations. Get additional feedback by performing an online search for reviews.

Visit the referred vet clinics

Contact highly recommended clinics and request an appointment (without your pet) to interview the staff and see the facility. Here’s what to look for and inquire about:

  • Ask to see exam rooms, the lab and the kennel area where animals are kept overnight. Surfaces should be clean and all areas should be uncluttered. Kennels should be clean of feces and urine. Spilled food and water are also a no-no. If you smell disinfectant, that’s a good thing.

  • Interview the vet who owns the clinic and meet other vets, technicians, and administrative staff. Note whether they take time for your questions.

  • Observe how the staff interacts with pets.

  • Look for credentials, educational degrees, certificates, membership in the American Veterinary Medical Association, and accreditation with the American Animal Hospital Association. Many fine veterinarians and hospitals don’t have these, but it’s a big plus if they do.

  • Ask about the clinic’s preventative care approach and whether alternative and holistic treatments are offered.

  • Does the clinic have a price list? Is the clinic upfront about costs when discussing treatments? Does it offer payment plans? Sometimes clinics on the outskirts of a city have better pricing because of lower operating costs.

  • Does the clinic offer after-work-hours appointments?

  • Does the clinic offer 24-hour emergency care? If not, where does the clinic recommend taking animals in an emergency situation?

  • Is the clinic busy? How long has it been in business?

  • If you have a bird, reptile or other, more unusual, pets, ask if the clinic is equipped to treat them.

Compare strengths, weaknesses, and location

Evaluate up to three clinics and compare results. Each clinic will have strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget to consider location in your evaluation. The best veterinary clinic is one that will provide quality care at a cost that is in line with your budget at a location that is convenient to your home or workplace.

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