Choosing a veterinarian for your pet is like choosing a doctor for yourself! Being a pet sitter, I am often asked by my clients who I use as my veterinarian and how I chose him/her. When I moved to the Horsham, PA area, I had no idea who to use. I wound up going to a vet that my Aunt had used for years. She told me he was wonderful! So off I went to this vet. I liked him, but definitely wasn’t bowled over by him. Let’s face it, we all have different tastes. We all want different things from our vet, right?
For me, it was about who was going to listen to my concerns about food, shots and other things I had concerns about. As I got to know this particular vet, there were definitely things I was not crazy about. He was “old school” and stubborn! I found it difficult to speak to him openly about the things that were important to me for my dog. That was a big turn off for me. However, on the other side of the coin, he was wonderful with my dog. He spent extra time giving his physical exam and making sure that my dog was comfortable. I felt torn! Should I seek out another vet just because our personalities clashed? I decided that for me, the best thing to do was to find someone that I could relate too and the rest would fall into place.
Here are some suggestions that I think you will find helpful in your search.
- Do you want a small practice feel or are you comfortable with the possibility of many doctors seeing your pet? Going to a smaller practice might mean that your veterinarian gets to know your pet better. However, if there is an emergency, and your vet is not available, then you will have to go somewhere else or use an “on call” veterinarian.
- Are you concerned about over vaccination? A lot of standard veterinarian practices still go by the old rules, that vaccines are necessary once a year and that it is okay to give them all at once. Then there are holistic veterinarians who take a different approach and only vaccinate when necessary.
- How about food issues? You are concerned that your dry kibble isn’t doing what it should and you’ve heard stories about raw feeding and how good it is for your pet. Is your vet at least open to discussing this issue and giving you the real facts or is he or she against one or the other? A good vet should give you the facts and be open to discussion.
- Driving distance. Do you want someone local or is it okay that you might have to drive 20 minutes to a half hour to get to your vet? My vet is not close. They are about a 20-25 minute drive. Some tell me I am crazy. I don’t think so! I truly feel that it is worth the drive to get the service that I do. The veterinarians at the clinic where I go all believe in the same things I do. If I have a question or want to try something, they don’t judge and are open to discussion and helping me make the right choices for my dog.
- Is the facility clean? Is that really a big deal? Yes! Remember, germs lurk here. It also shows that the staff care about the way things look and take the extra time to make sure everything is in place and that your pet will not get hurt or pick up something while visiting their office.
- Ask friends and family. Ask co-workers. References go a long way. You may have heard one vet was not very good yet you know several people who see him and they love him. Ask them why! Asking questions goes a long way in finding the right person!
- Make an appointment! That’s what I did. I called the vet clinic where I wanted to take my dog and asked if I could come in to see the facility and ask some questions. When I arrived, they took me on a tour and then brought me into an office. The office manager came in and answered all of my questions. A few days later, they called to follow up and find out if everything was satisfactory and asked if they could be of any further help. Sold!
Remember, your pets health is just as important as your own. The more research you do, the better off you both will be.
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