When you move to a new location or bring home a new pet, you will need to select a local veterinarian or pet wellness center. Like people, our furry friends need regular doctor visits, too! In fact, dogs and cats under the age of 10 should visit a veterinarian at least once a year. Once they reach 10 years, it is essential for them to have a check up every six months.
Choosing the right veterinary service can be a little scary. You want to be sure that your dog or cat is receiving the best medical attention possible from a trustworthy and experienced medical professional. So how do you go about finding that special someone to keep your fur-baby healthy and happy?
Things to look for in a veterinary care center
- The facility is clean and comfortable
- The staff is caring, calm, and experienced
- Cost is appropriate for your budget
- The practice is American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited
- The clinic or hospital has access to the necessary medical equipment and does in-house lab tests
- The vet has business hours that fit your schedule
- The vet attends conferences and participates in ongoing education to stay up to date on the latest developments in the field
It is always a good idea to visit the pet wellness center, take a tour, and talk to the staff. Sit down with the person who will be in charge of your pet’s well-being, and be prepared with some important questions. You can even bring your pet along to allow him or her to become familiar with the place and the people.
Questions you should ask when selecting a veterinarian
- What kind of equipment does the practice use?
- Do you do surgery or will I be referred elsewhere?
- Are there licensed veterinary technicians on staff?
- If my pet has to stay overnight, how will he be monitered?
- What anesthetics do you use, and how is pain managed?
- Can you tell me about your accreditation?
- What is the wait time for an appointment?
- What are your emergency policies?
- Do you have a pharmacy on-site, or will I need to go somewhere else to pick up prescriptions?
Three-quarters of all vets in the U.S. are employed by a private practice. Like choosing a doctor for yourself or your children, choosing a veterinarian should be based on experience, skill, temperament, and communication. You want a vet who can answer your questions and communicate what’s going on with your pet’s health. Most importantly you want your pet to feel comfortable and receive quality care.