You’ve brought home your new pet and he/she is settling in well. Everything is going great and your pet seems healthy and happy. Do you need to start looking for a veterinarian already?
The answer is yes! Even if your pet is healthy and happy, he/she is going to need annual vaccinations and de-worming at the very least so you’ll have to decide where you’ll be taking him/her. Don’t wait till the last minute or for your pet to be unwell before deciding which veterinary clinic would suit you best. Some preparation beforehand will save you a lot of headache later.
How Do I Choose a Veterinarian?
Some pet owners are very particular about seeing only one specific veterinarian. Others stick to a veterinary clinic but don’t mind if different vets see their pet. It’s all about trust, whether that’s trusting only one specific individual or a specific clinic. Once pet owners find someone they can trust with their pet’s health, they aren’t very likely to switch as that normally means trying out new veterinarians or clinics before finding one to settle on again. Having one clinic also makes things easier because all your pet’s medical history will be in one place.
All licensed veterinarians whether working for a veterinary clinic or hospital or in their own practice can treat pets. However every veterinarian has their own individual beliefs and methods regarding diagnosis and treatment. For example, one vet might prefer a watch and wait approach for a non urgent case but another may want to start diagnosis and possible treatment right away. If you’re the type of pet owner who believes it’s best not to prod or poke your pet unless required, you would be happy with the former veterinarian’s suggestion. However if you’re the type of owner who’d prefer treating something that might not necessarily require treatment just to be safe, you would find the latter’s opinion more helpful and reassuring. Choosing a veterinarian therefore depends on your approach and beliefs on pet health and pet care as much as it does theirs. You should be on the same wavelength as your vet, but also trust them enough so that if they do suggest something you’re not sure about, you allow them to do what’s best for your pet. Of course everyone makes mistakes and this doesn’t mean blindly trusting someone, not doing your research, or not seeking a second opinion if in doubt.
Factors to Consider
Sometimes it can take more than one try before finding a veterinarian you get along with and trust. That’s natural and there’s nothing wrong with trying out different options until you’re happy with your choice. However there are a few factors to consider when choosing a vet.
- Location: How far is your veterinary clinic from where you live? Will your pet be subject to only a short drive or are you ready to haul them to the other end of town? In general, the closer your veterinary clinic is from where you live the better because that means less time commuting and less hassle when taking your pet in for a visit.
- Referrals: You don’t have to choose a vet randomly and hope for the best. Ask for referrals from friends, family, and co-workers. You can even ask neighbours who have pets as they might be able to tell you about a great place nearby.
- Online reviews: Most businesses have an online presence nowadays. Even if a business isn’t active on Facebook or Instagram, it should have a business profile on Google. Read reviews and see what people are saying. Reviews are a good way to learn about customers’ experiences regarding level of professionalism, service quality, and even the hygiene and cleanliness of the place.
- Cost: Every veterinary clinic has its own prices and rates and these depend on a variety of factors. You should be comfortable paying for the services you’re using and they should be value for money. Bear in mind though that cheapest is not always a good idea as cheaper facilities are cheap for a reason. Similarly, most expensive does not necessarily mean the best so you might have to do some research and comparison to ensure you provide your pet with the best quality healthcare that you can afford.
Why Do I Need to Choose a Vet If My Pet is Healthy?
Choosing a veterinarian is important because there will be routine procedures you’ll have to take your pet in for even if he/she is otherwise healthy. If you have a puppy or kitten, you’ll be making multiple trips to the veterinarian within your pet’s first year as all vaccinations and following booster shots need to be completed. Once your puppy or kitten reaches maturity, they will need to be spayed or neutered (also within the first year of their life) which means it’s important to know your pet is in safe hands when the time comes for their surgery.
After their initial set of vaccinations and spaying/neutering, routine procedures like annual check ups and vaccinations are still required. De-worming, prevention of parasitic diseases, and flea and tick treatment (if your pet picks up something from outside) are pretty normal. It’s also not uncommon for some pets to develop oral and dental issues like plaque build-up and tartar as time goes on for which they may need some scaling to prevent dental disease and eventual tooth loss. This must be done under sedation so it’s important you take your pet to a clinic with all the required facilities for monitoring during the procedure and in case of an emergency situation.
It’s unlikely that your pet will never suffer from any ailment or health issue (no matter how well they’re taken care of), so at some point you will need the services of a veterinary clinic. It’s a better idea to be prepared in advance than wait for something to happen and then start looking for a trusted and reputable veterinarian. Make sure you do the best you can for your pet because your pet relies on you to keep him/her safe and healthy.
Wishing all pets and their humans lots of health and joy so they can make tons of happy memories together for years to come 🐾❤️