Oct. 14, 2019
What to look for when searching for a Vet for your pooch with Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont.
Well, you have taken home your new BFF, now what? Just like humans today's pets are living longer and having healthier lives. This is due to the availability of high quality veterinary, preventive care, and all of us pet owners' careful monitoring our animals. Today we are going to be talking to Dr. Susan McMillan about tips that can help you find a vet that will become your pet's health care provider?
Susan, Welcome to Bark & Wag’s 15 minute Vet Talk – It is a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice before we begin on the top tips when looking for a vet.
Where to look for a veterinarian
Ask a friend
Animal-owning friends are generally good sources of information. Ask them why they chose their veterinarian. If you believe their expectations of service are similar to yours, you may want to schedule a visit to the facility to evaluate it for yourself.
Breed clubs and special interest groups
If you have a purebred dog or cat, area breed clubs or rescues can be a good source of information. They have often established a strong relationship with a practice that is very familiar with the potential health-related problems for the particular breed. If you have a non-traditional (i.e., not a cat or a dog) pet, special interest groups in your area may be good sources of information about veterinarians who have special interest in and experience with your species of pet.
Directories and the Internet
The business pages of a phone book or yellow pages can be sources for contact information on local veterinarians, but the printed books may have fewer resources than online formats.
Many state or local veterinary medical associations maintain lists of area practices.
A word of caution about review sites: although online review sites can be valuable for picking out a restaurant, we don’t recommend you rely on them when choosing your veterinarian because the reviews may not reflect the average client experience. Personal references, such as the others we’ve listed here, are more reliable sources for finding a veterinarian.
Your current veterinarian
If you are relocating to another city or state, ask your current veterinarian if he or she can recommend a practice where you will be living. Many times they have colleagues in other towns whose practice policies and services are similar to theirs. Your current veterinarian should also provide copies of your pet's medical records to the new practice to ensure your pet's medical history is available to the new staff.
When to look for a veterinarian
It’s a good idea to start thinking about selecting a veterinarian before acquiring a new pet. In fact, your veterinarian can assist you in selecting a pet that complements your personality, family needs and expectations, work schedule, and lifestyle.
If you have recently moved to a new area, locate a veterinarian before your pet actually needs one. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill or requires emergency care – and remember, the Internet can be a great source of information, but it’s not a substitute for veterinary care. It’s best to have secured a doctor's name and number and become acquainted with the practice and staff before you need to find them during an emergency. Consider scheduling an initial visit soon after arriving at your new home. Your new veterinarian can suggest ways to help your pet become accustomed to your new environment and can inform you of any health risks unique to your area.
Pay a visit
When deciding on a veterinary practice, first schedule a visit with the veterinarian to discuss your pet and ask questions about fees, services and payment policies. You may want to visit several practices before making a final selection.
Considerations when visiting a veterinary practice
Different pet owners have different needs, and their reasons for selecting a veterinarian for their pets will differ widely. The following list includes some considerations for selecting a veterinarian who is a good fit for you and your pet. Not all of these considerations may apply to your situation.
Fees and payment
Remember that veterinarians care as much about you as an owner as they do about your pets. They are available to give you the information and resources you need to take the best possible care of your animals. By taking the time to select the veterinarian that you feel confident can provide for your needs as an owner and the medical needs of your pet, you will establish a satisfying and rewarding partnership.