Choosing a veterinarian can a difficult process. Just as you would not necessarily pick the first doctor in the Yellow Pages, it is wise to seek out a vet that will best suit the needs of both you and your pet. Here are some things to keep in mind during your search:
Find One First
Even if you haven’t already gotten your animal, go ahead and start searching for a vet anyway. That way you will not have to settle on the first one available, should an emergency occur.
Questions to Ask
Here are some questions to ask practitioners:
- How often are appointments available?
- Do you offer emergency after hours services?
- Does this office accept your pet insurance plan?
- Are there any specialists that the vet commonly works with for procedures that go beyond the scope of their duties?
- How much does a basic examination and year shots appointment cost?
- Can you choose to work with only a specific vet on staff?
Take a Tour
Is it a good idea to also visit the office. Request a tour of the examination rooms and observe the general state of the facility. It should be clean, have no offensive odors, and offer private cage accommodation for the animals. You also have the option of bringing your animal along to see how they react to the environment and the practitioners there.
Finally, before you commit to trying a vet, check their credentials. You can do this online via the American Association of Veterinary State Boards website (despite the name, it also includes links for practitioners in Canada). You can look up whether a vet’s license is still valid, whether they were the subject of any hearings, how long they have practiced, and more.
When you are satisfied with your choice, make a general appointment (eg. yearly vaccinations). Talk to the vet, note how well they answer questions, and see how your pet reacts to the experience. If something does not feel right, try the next vet on your list. It is very important to find a practitioner that is the right fit.