How to Choose Your Vet

How to Choose Your Vet: A Very Important Decision

There are many decisions you’ll need to make when getting or owning any pet dog. One of the most basic yet tremendously important is the decision of just how to choose your Vet - who will be your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is a pretty significant figure in your dog’s life – and in yours as well.

With any luck, you’ll only ever need him or her for routine checkups and preventative procedures; but just in case, it’s worth taking the time to develop a good relationship with a suitable vet long before you actually need their services or dog health tips to keep your pet healthy.

How Do You Find a Veterinarian?

Golden Retriever puppies

Think of it this way: if you were trying to choose a doctor for yourself, would you be happy to just select one at random from the phone book?

Sure, you could just pick a vet at random from the Yellow Pages or from an Internet search; but having the right vet is crucial to your dog’s health and happiness.

But would you be happy choosing a vet in the phone book with no background on him or her? Probably not. You'd want somebody who comes highly recommended – somebody you feel like you can trust because your vet isn't just your dogs doctor; he or she is also the dentist, manicurist, psychologist, and – hopefully! – your dogs friend. When you roll all these things up into one, you can see why it's necessary to spend some time confirming that you've made the right choice.

The best place to start looking for a vet is by word of mouth. If you have any friends or relatives who take good care of their dogs, then that’s a great place to start: ask them who they’d recommend, and why.

This last reason is particularly important, because everyone has different priorities: for example, perhaps they like their own vet because he/she is a specialist in their own particular breed; or they don’t charge very much; or the clinic is only five minutes’ drive … their priorities are not necessarily yours, so it’s a good idea to make sure that your values coincide with the person giving the recommendations.

Another great place to choose your vet is through local training clubs (agility, obedience, herding classes, Schutzhund, police K-9 academies, etc.) These organizations are almost guaranteed to place a great deal of importance on high-quality veterinary care, because the health and well-being of their dogs is such a huge priority.

Next, once you’ve got a list of vets that you’re interested in checking into further, all you have to do is call up the clinic and explain that you’re looking to find a regular vet for your dog(s): can you come in for a quick chat, introduce your dog, and have a look at the premises? This is a great step to follow when you choose your vet.

It’s a good idea before you make your decision to test the waters first. Ideally, you want a chance to talk to the vet, and discuss his or her philosophies and approach to pet care. This is very important and unfortunately something a lot of people overlook.

If your dog ever really needs veterinary care (if there’s an emergency, or if she needs an urgent short-term appointment), you want to be sure that you’ve made the best possible choice as far as her health and comfort levels are concerned.

Neither of you should be subjected to any unnecessary extra stress at a time like that – and you can avoid a lot of grief by spending a bit of time researching your choice ahead of time.

Want to learn more about how to choose your vet and also how to handle basic dog health issues on your own? Please feel free to check out this book for more great dog health information. This comprehensive guide to dog health will help you to spot little problems before they become big ones: truly indispensable.

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"Thank God for machines. They can make a dog sing!" - Christopher Atkins