How To Pick a Vet For Your Pets
There are a lot of times while owning a pet that someone may need to look for a new veterinarian. When planning for a new pet to come home for the first time or during a move to a new town are the most important times to look for a vet.
No matter how much organic food the dog eats, they will probably swallow an entire sock at midnight at least once. An anxiety-ridden drive to the animal hospital and a huge emergency vet bill are no one’s friend. That’s why it’s important to choose a vet as soon as possible. With time to plan ahead, it’s always easier to make a good choice. Read on for everything any pet owner needs to know about choosing a new vet.
Qualities That Should be Considered When Looking at Veterinarians?
When choosing a doctor for a pet, the same qualities people value in their own doctors are important in the vets they choose for their furry friends. For example, vets should be knowledgeable, listen and respond to owner concerns, and make pets feel safe while being treated and examined. It’s important for pets to be welcomed and have a positive experience at the vet, so people skills aren’t nearly as important as a staff who loves animals, and vice versa. Office hours and culture that fit pet owners’ lifestyles are a big draw. Most importantly, pet owners are looking for vets who inspire confidence. Ideally, their pet will return regularly for check-ups, shots, and any other needed care, so their vet needs to be someone who can be a trusted part of their life and their pets life.
What is AAHA Accreditation and Is It Needed?
The American Animal Hospital Association provides accreditation to vets who commit to meeting standards in roughly 900 areas of practice. Because this accreditation is not required for a vet to open a practice, it is a key standard for setting apart the best local doctors. Vets voluntarily submit to auditing by AAHA in order to receive accreditation, demonstrating their rigorous commitment to the best veterinary practices.
AAHA Accreditation provides standards for general areas such as medical record keeping, cleanliness of the facilities and nursing care. This also includes specialized areas such as anesthesia, radiology, and emergency care. Basically, AAHA sends an inspector to ask all the questions a pet owner may have and ensure they get the right answers. With the thoroughness of the accreditation standards, pet owners can rest assured, an AAHA Accredited veterinary clinic is working hard in every area of pet health to provide the highest quality of care. As a bonus, pet owners can search AAHA’s website for accredited vets before they even begin visiting in person.
Items to Look For When Touring the Office
A tour of the office is the best way to make sure this clinic is the right fit. By getting a visual of the space where the vet works, potential problems that websites and phone calls may have glossed over will come to light. During the tour, all five senses are important. What does the office smell like? It should smell clean. Does it look clean? Are the workers alert and friendly? Is it well lit and clutter free? The vet should provide a supervised tour of non-public areas. There, keep a look out for how the animals behave. Do they seem safe and at ease? Has the vet separated the dogs from the cats? Does the equipment look safe and up-to-date? Ask questions throughout the tour.
Questions to Ask the Vet About Their Practice
There are hundreds of questions pet owners may have when speaking to a potential vet about their practice. Which ones to focus on depends on the needs of the animal in need of care. Most importantly, owners should ask questions about services, such as:
- Do you specialize in small or exotic pets?
- What is the extent of care provided? i.e. routine care, diagnosis and treatment of serious illness, surgery?
- Do you provide emergency services, or recommend a nearby after-hours clinic?
- What informational materials do you have available?
- Do you provide referrals to nearby specialists?
It’s also important to know this vet will fit into any lifestyle. The following questions can answer that:
- Do you provide any online services?
- Office hours? Boarding? Drop off appointments?
- How long do I have to wait for an appointment?
- Can you request a specific veterinarian for all of your appointments?
And of course, it’s essential to know that the vet can provide quality care and quality financial options. Ask questions such as:
- Do you accept pet insurance?
- Do you have a preferred pet insurance provider?
- Do you provide payment plan options?
Veterinarians are a huge part of keeping pets happy and healthy, so finding the best is important! Asking hard questions and taking the time to look for someone who exceeds expectations is the way to go.