Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet is an important decision. Veterinary care often sets the tone for your pet’s overall health, so it’s important that you find an animal clinic that you can trust.
In this article, we’ll cover some tips to help you decide on the perfect veterinary clinic for your furry friend, and factors you should consider if your pet has any specific needs.
One of the best ways to find out about the well-known veterinarians in your area is by asking your friends, neighbors, or other pet owners in your area.
Word of mouth goes a long way when people love the care they receive at an animal clinic, so you can usually get a feel for the best clinics in the area by simply talking to other local pet owners.
Speak with those in your area about your pet’s specific needs, and see if they have personal experience with any of the animal clinics in your area.
Once you’ve gathered a list of possible clinics, you can begin your personal research.
Your Pet’s Specific Needs
Now that you’ve gathered a list of animal clinics in your area, you’ll need to consider your pet’s specific needs.
Each clinic will vary on what they can offer their patients, so it’s important to make sure that the clinic you choose will best suit your pet.
Below are a few of the specific age ranges and conditions you should consider when you begin your search for the right veterinarian.
Young Pets (Puppies And Kittens)
Kittens and puppies will need specific preventive care in order to live out a healthy life. This means vaccinations, spay and neuters, monthly preventative care for heartworms and parasites, and yearly vaccines to follow throughout their lives.
Since there is a lot involved in the care of puppies and kittens, it’s important to find a clinic that has a plan in place for young animal care.
If your pet is approaching their senior years, you will need to find a clinic that is prepared to care for senior pets and the needs they require.
When your pet reaches their older years, they may need routine diagnostics and specific care to keep them comfortable and healthy.
This means that you should look for a clinic that offers senior blood work, senior check-ups, pain management, and experience with diseases that are common in a pet’s senior years.
Pets With Medical Conditions
It’s important to mention your pet’s specific medical condition when you are looking for your furry friend’s next animal clinic.
Some clinics have more experience with certain medical conditions, so it’s best to make sure that you know which veterinarian is suited to care for your fur baby.
Pets On Medications
If your pet is taking any daily medications, you’ll need to make sure that your vet clinic of choice has this medication at their clinic, or has the ability to send in a prescription for their medication.
Stopping medication abruptly can be damaging to your pet’s health, so you’ll need to make sure there is no lag time in between clinics if you are moving or finding a new animal clinic.
If you know that you will be without veterinary care for a short period of time, discuss the possibility of getting a couple of weeks extra of medication in order to give you time to find a regular vet in your new area.
Sometimes our pets require customized care that goes beyond the average veterinary clinic. Just like us, animals can have medical conditions that result in their need for specialty care.
When beginning your search for a specialized hospital, make sure to talk to the vets in your area. They often have specific specialists that they refer to and trust.
Some of the common veterinary specialties you may have to pursue at some point are:
- Internal medicine ( specific management or complicated medical conditions)
- Dental Surgeons
- Emergency and critical care
- Orthopedic Surgeons for muscles and bones
Since there is such a wide range of animal clinics, it’s best to specifically ask about a clinic’s services. Ideally, an animal clinic should have access to these common tools for care and diagnostics:
- Vaccines for common preventive diseases, and access to others if needed.
- Monthly prevention such as flea prevention and heartworm prevention.
- Ability to perform basic diagnostics such as X-rays, standard blood work, microscope examination, and urinalysis.
- Ability to perform standard procedures such as desexing, dental cleanings, and small wound repair.
- A list of trusted veterinary specialists they can refer to when needed.
The Appearance Of The Clinic And The Staff
When you are finding the right vet clinic for your furry friend, you’ll need to consider the professionalism of each vet clinic during your search.
The hospital’s cleanliness and organization is a direct reflection of their care, so this is something that you’ll need to pay close attention to.
Make sure to take a tour around any clinics on your list, and keep an eye out for these things:
Medical care requires organization and order.
If the waiting area is a mess, there is no adequate system to keep track of appointments, or doesn’t keep track of important medical records, then that says a lot about the clinic in question.
Cleanliness is essential in a clinic setting, as it can be a direct reflection on how much they care about the spread of disease and illness within their clinic.
Aside from a general desire to have a clean clinic, should be the knowledge of how important it is to clean up after each animal that visits. A clean clinic reflects how much they care about your pet’s exposure to illness.
3. Kindness And Respect
One of the biggest factors to consider is how you and your pet are treated when they are visiting an animal clinic.
A general feeling of comfort, and kindness towards you and your pet will create a lasting feeling of trust in the care that you’re receiving.
Since you will have to pay out of pocket at most animal clinics, it’s important to make sure that your animal clinic of interest fits your personal budget.
For this reason, you’ll need to ask about specific pricing when you begin your search for the perfect animal clinic.
It’s also important to consider the times when you are a bit pressed for cash.
Since our pet’s medical health can vary throughout their lives, we’re not always prepared for a medical emergency.
Many clinics understand this and often work with payment plan services that can help you cover any unexpected medical expenses.
Some of these payment options include:
- iCare Financial
- Pet Insurance Companies
- Payment plans that the office offers to clients
Medical emergencies happen every day and were not often prepared for them. Luckily, vet offices understand this and work to offer multiple options in order to still care for our pets during this time.
It’s best to make sure that your chosen clinic has at least one payment option just in case you find yourself in a bind.
When our pets become ill, it seems like it always happens during the late hours of the night, or during the weekend when your regular vet office is closed.
Since our pet’s lives can depend on how quickly we were able to get them to a medical office, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the emergency animal hospitals in the area.
By researching the emergency animal clinics in your area ahead of time, you won’t need to waste any time on research or finding directions in the moments of your pet’s emergency.
You can also call around and ask about general pricing for office visits and routine diagnostics, as these are often things that you should expect to pay during a medical emergency.
Make sure to also ask about the payment assistant option at the emergency animal clinics in your area, as these bills are often hefty. It’s best to find an ER that has the payment plan options we listed above for the times that you aren’t financially prepared.
Having a veterinarian that you can trust can be one of the most important tools in your pet’s medical journey.
By following the tips that we suggest above, you can be sure to find a clinic that you trust, and be on your way to a happy and healthy future for your beloved companion!