Choosing a vet is admittedly a nerve-racking task, especially for first-time pet-owners. Vets are integral to a pet’s life and choosing the wrong vet might end up in disaster – it could happen that the vets in your area aren’t skilled, or your pet might not warm up to them, or simply that your personalities don’t fit. While licensed vets are generally trustworthy, it is important to note that choosing a good vet that will stay with you and your pet for a long time entails different factors to consider. So how do you choose a good vet?
The first thing to consider is when you should look for a good vet. Typically, pet-owners look for vet once the need arises, but it’s better to be prepared so that when the time comes that you need a vet for an emergency, he or she is a phone call away.
Next is what credentials and qualifications you should look for in a vet. Take note that not all vets that are conveniently close to your home are necessarily the best option – it’s better for you in the long-run to get vets who can deal with both simple and complex health problems than just to get the nearest one. According to prevention.com, what good vets have in common is that they did not stop learning after graduating from veterinarian school. They go on internships and residencies, take more classes, and aim to be certified by a credible board (in the case of the United States, it’s to be certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners). You can scan the internet for vets near you that have these credentials, and then widen your search in terms of geography if there’s no vet near you that makes you feel confident in their skill.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, make time to visit the clinics to get a feel of the environment and facilities. Does the clinic look well-equipped to handle crises? Are there people who are ready to attend to you should you need them? Is the clinic well-staffed with vets? Consider as well the cleanliness of the clinic. Ask as many questions as you can; most vets appreciate it!
When inquiring and consulting with your vets-to-be, observe how they build rapport with your pet. Do they communicate with your pet gently, making you and your pet feel safe? Does your potential vet refer you to specialists for specific problems? Do they provide you with tips and protocol for taking care of your pet at home?
Last is the location. Usually, pet-owners put this first out of convenience. Though it is indeed a criterion in selecting your vet, it is perhaps the least important one – what matters is that you can place your confidence and trust in your vet in times of trouble, you and your pet can build rapport with your vet, and that the clinic is well-equipped, clean and well-staffed enough to help you provide the best care possible for your pet.