After you, a vet will be the most important person in your dog’s life. Like choosing a doctor for yourself, it’s important to find someone you can talk to and trust. Good communication is of utmost importance, your vet needs to be able to explain and discuss with you the symptoms of illness, test results and treatment plans amongst other things.
You and your dog will go through some emotional times together so it’s vitally important to find a vet you feel totally comfortable with.
The best time to find a vet is before your dog needs one!
Spend some time before your new dog arrives researching and choosing the veterinary practice you will be using.
Puppies can build up a phobia about going to the vet, so you’ll be starting him off on the right foot if his first visit is to a vet you already feel comfortable with.
If you are moving house and need to find a new vet, do this as soon as you can after you move.
How to find a vet
Ask family and friends who their veterinarian is and, importantly, why they would recommend them. Many people just use the one nearest to their home or the cheapest;
If you are buying a specific breed, ask local breed clubs, breeders and other owners which vet they use; and
A search of the yellow pages and internet will also identify veterinary practices in your area.
How to choose a vet
Once you have a list of potential veterinary clinics, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to meet the vets and support staff and have a tour of the premises. Most veterinary practices are only too happy to do this, but be prepared to be flexible about when it would be a convenient time for them to see you.
If you already have a dog ask if you can take him along with you when you visit the practice. It will be a good opportunity to see how all the staff at the practice communicate and interact with him. If he has any existing health concerns you can discuss these with the vet and determine whether the clinic will be able to treat them to your satisfaction.
Before you visit, think about what you are looking for from a veterinary practice. Here are a few ideas:
Are the staff friendly and polite – your initial contact by phone to arrange your visit will give you a good steer on this;
Is the practice clean and tidy, and look inviting? I think that the appearance of the reception and waiting areas are good indicators of how well organized and run a practice is;
How many vets are there, and is it the policy for you to see the same vet on each visit, or do you see whoever is on duty? Is this an important consideration for you?
4. How many staff members are there, do they appear caring and competent, and able to engage easily with both you and your dog?
5. Do you have to make an appointment to see the vet, can you do telephone consultations and what is the procedure if you have an emergency?
6. Are the vets specialists in any particular area, such as behavior, dermatology, geriatrics or surgery?
7. What services do the practice offer? For example if your dog needs an x-ray, surgery, dental work, laboratory tests or ultrasound, can this be done at the practice or do you need to go elsewhere for that treatment?
8. Is the practice in a convenient location and are the opening hours convenient?
9. Does the fee structure sound reasonable and do they offer payment plans?
This looks like a daunting list, but I usually find that your initial telephone call to introduce yourself and the impression you have pulling up outside the clinic and walking through the front door quickly tell you whether you’ve come to the right place or not.
It may take visits to a number of vets before you find one you are comfortable with, but take the time – you want to know your dog will have the best care you find for him. There are several holistic veterinarians in New York City. At New York Dog Nanny we highly recommend choosing the freshest dog food and products on the market and are proud to endorse all products/foods found on www.lifesabundance.com/peapod.
We also endorse Reiki, T-touch, Acupuncture and massage for dogs. We are happy to recommend practitioners in your area for these services as prevention is the best cure!