Choosing a vet for your pet is a big decision to make. You need to look for a clinic that not only meets your pet’s needs but caters for your needs too. Most people choose their nearest vet and whilst location is an important consideration, driving a few extra kilometers may be worth it to get the best care for your pet.
Facilities, veterinary expertise and the services offered do vary between clinics. For example, some clinics may have extensive diagnostic equipment which can result in faster diagnosis and treatment for your pet. Some clinics may be available 24/7, whilst others may be open for just a short time.
So what should you be considering when looking for a vet?
Are the clinic’s opening hours compatible with your schedule?
The clinic opening hours need to meet your needs. Do they open evenings and weekends? Do they charge extra for this service? Are house calls available?
What after hour emergency vet care do they offer?
Finding a veterinary clinic that provides emergency services is important as accidents do happen. Using a veterinarian that provides after hour care means that they have immediate access to your pet’s medical records which can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment in an emergency.
How do the veterinarians and staff treat you and your pet?
We all want calm, stress-free vet visits so making sure your pet is happy with the vet you choose is extremely important. It’s a good idea to visit the vet with your pet for a weight check and observe how the staff interact with the animals in their care. Are they approachable? Did they greet my pet? Did they seem knowledgeable and caring? Was my pet relaxed and calm?
Are X-rays, ultrasound, bloodwork, endoscopy and other diagnostics done in-house or referred to another provider?
Finding a clinic that is well equipped to provide diagnostic, medical and surgical care in house is essential and can result in quicker diagnosis and treatment for your pet.
Are their staff experienced and qualified?
Practices that employ qualified staff and invest in ongoing staff training are committed to providing high standards and are kept up to date with the latest techniques and treatments available.
Is the cheapest vet the best vet?
The cheapest vet isn’t always the best vet. Look for a clinic that it committed to providing a high standard of care. Do they always put your pet on intravenous fluids during surgery or is this an added extra? Do they use modern anaesthetics to ensure your pet has a comfortable recovery or do they use the cheaper option? Does your pet go home after desexing with take home pain relief as a standard or is this just an option?
The best vet always has your pet’s best interests at heart and will offer you the gold standard in veterinary care.
Are there payment plans available if an accident occurs or your pet needs an urgent procedure?
Difficult financial situations can arise in an instant so having access to payment plans should the need arise is essential.
What range of services do they offer?
Not all veterinary clinics offer the same services. For example, some clinics will provide extra pet related services such as Puppy preschool, weight loss clinics, grooming services etc. Consider what other services your pet may need in their lifetime.
Is the location and parking convenient?
Whilst location isn’t the most important factor when choosing a veterinarian, the clinic you choose needs to be located close enough to you to access quickly in an urgent or emergency situation. Off-road parking is also safer for your pet.
Do they have good reviews?
Personal recommendations are valuable. Ask your friends, relatives and local rescues which vet they use and recommend. Check out their online reviews and see what others think.