To others, your pet may just be a four-footed creature that pesters visitors for belly scratches. To you, your pet is part of the family and deserves all the belly scratches—and the best care—that he can get. That's why choosing a vet for your pet is so important. Here are some tips for finding the right one.
Ask others. Word of mouth is the best way to find potential veterinarians. Be sure to ask someone who has a pet similar to yours. If you have an unusual pet, you may want to look for a board-certified veterinarian. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a board-certified vet has studied a specialty for two or four years and has passed a rigorous exam.
Visit the office. Don't just choose the first animal hospital you come across. Stop by and make sure the facility is clean and that cats and dogs are caged separately, and find out what animals are routinely treated, if specialty exams are done in-house or sent elsewhere, what emergency services are available, and whether the staff is friendly and welcoming.
Pay attention to details. Before making a decision, make sure the location and parking are adequate. Find out if appointments are necessary. Check if more than one vet is on staff and if there are technicians or other professionals to assist. Make sure treatment costs fit your budget. Don't, however, choose your vet based on cost alone. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra for high-quality care. In addition, many offices can set up payment plans.
Don't wait until your pet gets sick. The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Don't wait for killer bees to attack your tabby before finding a good vet. Choosing a vet in advance makes getting treatment a lot less stressful.
Switch caregivers, if necessary. Just because you take your pet to the vet once doesn't mean you have to continue. If your animal's doctor doesn't give your furry friend the treatment it deserves, then it may be time to move on.