Finding the Right Veterinarian

If you have your first dog, or have moved into a new city, you need to find a veterinarian that best suits you and your dog.  There are a lot of veterinarians out there to sift through, so follow these ideas to find the best veterinarian for you and your dog.  It is important to find a good veterinarian before your dog gets sick or you have an emergency.  That way, the veterinarian will see your dog right away because he is all ready a patient there.

The first source of a new veterinarian is word of mouth.  Ask around to see who people recommend and who they tell you to stay away from.  Ask neighbors and work collegues who they use and why they recommend that person.  Write down there answers, then do a little research on the web.

There are lots of places you can go to get reviews on a particular veterinarian or clinic.  Take these reviews with a grain of salt, though.  Many people only post a review when they are angry at a provider.  Some of the clinic policies are required by law, so look at what they are complaining about.  Also remember that not every person does well with every veterinarian.  Not every dog likes every veterinarian, either.

Once you have a short list of veterinarians you think might be good to go see, make an appointment to meet the veterinarian and bring your dog to the appointment.  This is an opportunity to see how the staff interact with you and your dog, how your dog likes the staff, and to ask questions about clinic procedures, emergency treatment options, if the veterinarian usually runs on top with their appointments, and anything else you feel you need to know.  A staff can be your best friend or your worst enemy so you need to figure out now which end of the spectrum this staff falls.

Ask the veterinarian where he was trained, if he does behavioral counseling in the case of the dog exhibiting problem behaviors, and anything else you want to know.  See how the veterinarian interacts with your dog.  Is the dog scared of the veterinarian, or does he run up for a treat?  How respectful does the veterinarian treat you and how well does he answer your questions?

This is also a good time to ask the veterinarian for some basic prices for services such as vaccinations, fecal exams for worms, testing for heart worms, the heartworm medicine, and any other routine checkups of paperwork that the veterinarian requires on file before considering you a client and the dog a patient.

You may hit it off so well with the first veterinarian you visit that you decide to use him.  At the same time, you may not like any of the veterinarians you interviewed.  In that case, keep looking and meeting veterinarians until you find one you like and who has a caring staff.