More than 43 million households in the United States include dogs, which explains why there is no shortage of veterinarians to choose from when looking for someone to care for your dog. Because of the abundance of choices available to you, it's a good idea to consult with a few prospective facilities before deciding which one to work with long term. Here are five important things to consider when choosing a new vet for your dog:
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a new veterinarian for your dog is appointment availability. If the facility you choose is so busy that it takes weeks to get an appointment or it's almost impossible to get emergency care, you'll likely feel frustrated and neglected as time goes on. Make sure that the veterinarian you choose to work with offers flexible appointment scheduling and emergency hours.
You should be able to schedule an appointment within just a couple days of calling in, and you should be able to bring your dog in for emergency care at any time when it's necessary. If the veterinarians you're considering don't offer 24-hour emergency care, make sure that they do have an emergency number that can be used for references and advice.
It is also crucial to consider staff qualifications when searching for a new veterinarian to care for your dog. During your consultation visits, inquire about the staff's qualifications so you know exactly who will be caring for your dog.
You can ask if the administration team has veterinarian education or experience, especially if they will be providing hands-on care for your dog. Other things you should find out are if technicians are certified or working as interns, and how long everyone on the team has been working at the facility. Make a list of all the questions you personally have about the facility's staff and bring it with you to your consultations, so nothing important is overlooked.
Waiting Room Comfort
The waiting room is yet another aspect to consider when choosing a new veterinarian to care for your dog. The chances are that you'll spend lots of time in the waiting room when you show up for checkups and emergency visits, so the space should feel safe and comfortable to you and your dog.
Show up to your initial consultations a little early, so you can spend some time in the waiting room and check out the seating and offerings. The seats should be comfortable and spacious, so you aren't stuck rubbing elbows with the person sitting next to you. A play area for pets should be available, and you should have access to materials like magazines to keep yourself entertained while you wait.
You also need to make sure that your dog will be safe while being cared for at your chosen veterinarian facility. If your dog has to stay overnight for surgery or extended care, you should ensure they be kept in a safe containment area away from other animals that could hurt them or make them ill.
Pay attention to how walks, feedings, and other basic care tasks are handled by the staff when you won’t be there, as well as what procedures will be used if your dog is bitten or accidentally injured by another animal. Ask the prospective veterinarians you consult with to provide you with an action plan that they will be using to keep your dog safe while under their care so you can take them home and compare them.
Intake and Discharge Procedures
The intake and discharge procedures deserve some consideration when choosing a new veterinarian to care for your dog. While some vets will require that you show up early for your appointments and have extensive discharge procedures, others offer almost instantaneous intake and discharge procedures which will save you quite a bit of time when you visit the vet.
The intake and discharge procedures offered by each veterinarian you consult with will depend on the type of equipment they use in the office, their filing system, the staff size they're working with, and the number of clients they already have.
Making these considerations while consulting with prospective veterinarians should make it easy to determine which service provider will meet your expectations and the needs of your dog as time goes on. For more information, contact local clinics such as Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital.