When looking after your canine's health, you want the best vet for dogs, someone you can trust with all of your pooch's physical needs. Where do you begin? Whether you're a first-time pet parent or a long-time best friend who's relocating with the family, there are a few factors you should consider before committing to a practice.
Think about it like this: What would you look for in your medical doctor? You'd want an educated, well-practiced physician who's kind, respectful, and convenient. And although your doctor's office hours would need to meet your availability, they should also be willing to tend to matters during off-hours for emergency treatment. When searching for a new veterinarian, hold the possible pet practitioner to the same high standard you'd look for in your own physician. Here's how:
Ask a Friend
If you get a personal recommendation for a dog-oriented vet near you, you're more likely to feel comfortable bringing your dog there for treatment. By the same token, if that same friend isn't happy with their veterinarian, they surely wouldn't recommend them. In fact, an unhappy but dog-loving friend may even be equipped to warn you of numerous questionable doggy doctors in the area. Ultimately, a friend or family member who loves his or her dog vet—and is willing to share—is a vote of confidence that you will too.
Consider the Location
Is convenience the most important aspect of your dog vet search? Localize your search online to find a vet for dogs that's closest to your home or work. Once you've identified a few who are close to you, research their practice online to find out more about each one. Then test the trip for yourself: bumpy roads the whole way there? You may tolerate them, but it's the last thing a nervous dog should associate with this regular visit.
Ask Animal Shelters, Pet Stores and Breeders
Maybe you recently adopted a new dog. Congrats! Before walking out the door and into your new life together, ask the breeder or an employee of the shelter for their opinion on the best dog vet in the area. They've all worked with a number of vets for dogs, so they'll be able to give you their honest opinion on who's the best veterinarian for your home's newest member.
Make sure any veterinarian you are considering has a clean office. Exam rooms, for instance, should be washed and disinfected between all puppy patients. All equipment should be cleaned and sterilized if necessary, as well. Garbage should be removed regularly throughout the day, and all dog accidents should be taken care of as soon as they occur.
It's important that the dog vet's office be organized as well. All patient charts should be filed properly, with appointment scheduling done so people and animals aren't kept waiting for long periods of time. If you find that staff are doing too many things at once, it might be better to find a new vet whose office isn't too busy to give your dog their full attention.
Are They All Caught Up?
Any veterinarian you consider must be up to date with the newest advances in dog medicine. Find out by observing awards, licenses, and certifications that may indicate this literacy hanging proudly on the waiting-room wall. Ask the vet how he or she approaches continuing education, too. The important part isn't how the vet stays informed; it's that he or she knows the most relevant and important information to treat your pet.
Are They Within Your Budget?
When it comes to your dog's health money shouldn't be your first priority; helping him get well should be. With that said, cost can still be a consideration when selecting a veterinarian for your dog because when all things are held equal between two vets, the one that better fits into your budget might help raise one above the other.
Personality Is Everything
If you're considering two (or more) locations that are modern, organized, and clean, how will you choose between them? Instead of the classic "eeny, meeny, miny, moe," base your decision on the dog vet's personality. Did you "click" in your first meeting as a client? Do you feel comfortable allowing him or her to take care of your furry companion without you in the room? Did your pooch take a shining to one vet over the other? If you don't see eye to eye with their values as a specialist, there's a good chance your dog won't feel right about them either. Find a practice that fits both of you.
It's alright to be choosy about your dog's doctor. Take your time to find an office that is convenient, educated, clean, and most importantly, one that your pup will trust and love.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.