Choosing the right vet for your cat or dog can be a crucial step in ensuring your pet lives a long and happy life. Our Grenada vets share their thoughts on what you should look for when selecting a veterinarian.
Finding a Vet
Deciding on a veterinarian will be one of the biggest decisions you will make when it comes to keeping your cat or dog healthy.
You can start narrowing down your options based on variables that will be important to you such as the office's location and hours.
When to Find a Vet
You don't want to wait until you need a vet before acquiring one. Ideally, you should select your vet before bringing your pet home. Some veterinarians may even help you select the right pet for your family.
If you're in a situation such as going through a move, search for a new vet immediately, as you will not want to go through the panic of finding a vet after your cat or dog has already fallen ill or injured.
How to Find a Vet
There will be plenty of reviews and recommendations online that can be helpful. However, asking friends or family that you trust is a safer option.
Different families with different pets won't have the same needs as you, so it is a good idea to meet with multiple vets before making a final decision.
Each state's veterinary medical association will have a list of qualified veterinarians in your area. The American Animal Hospital Association will have a similar list that will help you locate accredited veterinary practices near you.
If you are moving or changing veterinarians, your current vet may be able to refer you to another office.
Know if Your Vet is Right for Your Pet
Arrange a visit with the veterinarian so you can tour the office and get a feel for it. You should be able to get a sense of cleanliness and how the office operates (friendly/helpful staff).
Do your best to get to know the vet(s) right off the bat. Veterinarians are people too, in which they can have very different personalities and philosophies. Find a vet whose attitude will be a good match for you and your pet.
Make sure the office hours are suitable for your daily schedule. Be sure to find out how an emergency would be handled during office hours or not.
Ask about specific procedures (MRI, X-ray, etc.) to see if they are performed at the office, or if you would have to travel to another location.
Questions to Ask Your Vet
There are questions that you should ask your vet that will be specific to your cat or dog with regards to age, size, medical history, etc. Below is a list of basic questions that any pet owner can ask to see if a vet will be the right fit.
- What are the office hours?
- How many vets are at the office?
- How are emergencies handled?
- Are all tests/procedures performed on-site?
- Are walk-ins accepted?
- What services are offered (dental, geriatric, etc.)?
- Is there an in-house pharmacy?
- How much is charged for an office visit?
- Is insurance accepted?
- What are the payment policies?
If you aren't entirely happy with your vet, meet with them to discuss what your expectations were. Both you and your vet will need to go into the conversation with an open mind and be willing to hear the other's thoughts. Your vet may be able to explain their approach to help you better understand, or they may adjust their approach to adhere to your concerns.
If you and your vet can't reach a certain level of understanding, you can request all of your cat or dog's medical information (which you are legally entitled to) and bring it to a new veterinarian.