Talk to your neighbors, friends, co-workers, friends of the gym, and family. Find out whom they use and are willing to recommend. Talk to animal rights lovers who likely know of veterinarians knowledgeable about your breed and the types of problems they experience.
Visit a local veterinary clinic without your pets.
Take a tour and examine whether the office is spotless and well organized. Ask about services they provide, find out what hours they are open, and ask what provisions are made for emergency coverage (after-hours and weekends). Many veterinary practices offer in-house digital x-rays, dental x-rays, pet dental care, ultrasounds, and radiology, as well as veterinary surgical services such as general surgery and neutering, orthopedic procedures, and assistance with chemotherapy. Find out what arrangements are available for specialty referrals. What is the average wait time for making a non-emergency appointment? Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
Find out whether the practice’s treatment philosophies match yours.
Ask the veterinarians for their beliefs about treating cancer, spaying and neutering, supporting senior dogs, and euthanasia. Do they believe in prescribing holistic or alternative treatments when appropriate? Do they emphasize preventative care? If you have children, would they be welcome to accompany you for a routine office visit? It’s great to be able to teach your children what’s involved in responsible pet care. Is the vet patient when answering your questions?
A close and convenient location is beneficial when you’re taking your dog to the vet. And should your pet need emergency care, you’ll want to know exactly where to go. If your new veterinarian does not provide 24-hour care, they should give precise directions to the nearest 24-hour emergency facility.
Ask about fees
Compare charges and avoid deals that look too good to be true. As with most products or services, you get what you pay for. Your best course of action is to ask ahead of time about fees, costs of procedures and what methods of payments are available and expected. Find out if the veterinarian provides written estimates for services. Are payment plans or financial assistance options available if you need them? If your pet is insured, does the clinic accept your insurance plan? Are you provided with a detailed explanation of services for every visit?
Check on professional accreditations and experience.
How many veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians are on staff? Please find out how long they have been in practice and about their education and training background.
Visit the veterinarian’s office with your pets.
Stop in with your pets and observe the “bedside manner” of the veterinary and office staff. How do they try to make your pets feel at ease? Have they set up the waiting area and examination rooms to make your pets feel as comfortable as possible? Today’s pets live longer, healthier lives thanks to the availability of high-quality veterinary care, preventive care, and pet owners’ careful monitoring of their animals for early signs of illness. When choosing your family’s veterinarian, use the same care and criteria for selecting a physician or dentist. Your intent should be to find the veterinarian who you think can best meet your pet’s medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term veterinarian-client-patient relationship.