Have you chosen a veterinarian for your new dog yet? If not, it’s best to find one now, before your dog has a medical concern. Your veterinarian is your partner in keeping your dog healthy, so choose one that suits both you and your dog.
Start by determining what’s important to you in a veterinary clinic:
- Do you want a small clinic or a larger animal hospital?
- How convenient are its hours for your schedule?
- Does it need to be close to your home or public transportation?
- Do you always want to see the same doctor, or do you mind seeing others in the practice?
- Do they accept your pet insurance or your preferred payment type?
Also, ask trusted friends, neighbors and family members for recommendations. Once you have a short list, research those veterinarians online for their credentials and reviews.
Next, call the veterinarians’ offices to request a tour. Many clinics allow you to visit their facility before scheduling an appointment with your dog. Observe the staff’s friendliness, the clinic’s overall cleanliness, and the setup of the waiting area. Does it have a separate waiting area for pets that are scared or possibly aggressive, and is this important to you? What is the clinic’s policy for emergencies?
Once you’ve chosen a clinic, schedule a checkup for your dog. When you meet the veterinarian, evaluate him or her by asking yourself the following questions:
- Did the doctor talk to your dog and try to befriend him before examining him?
- Did he or she call your dog by name?
- Were the doctor and veterinary assistant gentle when handling your dog?
- Were you given enough opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns, and were those questions or concerns adequately addressed?
The veterinarian and staff should always give you the sense that your dog’s health and wellbeing is a priority. Is your dog able to be seen quickly if he becomes ill? Are calls to the clinic returned in a timely manner? Not only should you have trust in your veterinarian, but you should also sense that he or she truly cares about your dog.