It’s the initial question every dog owner faces: how do I find a good vet near me?
Not all vets are created equal, and some provide better treatment and service than others. To get your pup the best possible veterinarian to suit their needs, it’s important to do some research rather than pick the cheapest or the one closest to you.
By bearing these things in mind, you’ll get your dog the veterinarian they deserve.
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Vet Near Me – How To Find A Good One
When you’re first starting out looking for a vet, you can google “veterinarian near me” or “veterinarian near zip code.” This will provide you with a list of veterinarians you can note down, then it’s time to look into them!
Check Out Their Website
The first thing you should do is look at their website to get a feel for them. You can often read about the team and their experience, as well as the services they provide. Some websites also provide client testimonials so you can be reassured about the level of service and care.
Look Up Independent Reviews
Separate from their website and testimonials they’ve hand-picked, you should look up other reviews. Google and Yelp are great places to start, since you can read the bad reviews as well as the good ones.
Check Out Their Accreditations
Many hospitals and clinics have awards and accreditations (such as being AAHA-accredited, which means they’re a certified hospital with good standing). Although these accreditations and awards aren’t everything, they can help if you’re looking for the best of the best.
The power of asking friends and family about their opinions is underrated. If you have friends with dogs or other animals, make sure and ask them what veterinarian they use and if they’ve had particularly good or bad experiences with any around your area in the past.
What To Look For
When looking for a veterinarian, there are certain things that will signal their a good one, such as:
- A clean, easy-to-read website with services specified
- An aim to provide a stress-free and fear-free environment
- Good philosophies about pets and their welfare
By the time you’ve booked the first appointment, you should also still be on the lookout for certain things. Once you’ve had a first exam there, you aren’t beholden to the veterinarian and can — and should — switch if you and your dog are uncomfortable.
Things you should look out for at the first appointment include:
- A genuine interest in you and your dog
- A willingness to answer questions you have
- A clean facility
- Friendly staff, even at the front desk
If they don’t have all of these things, you can find a veterinarian that does. Don’t settle!
You might also want to consider the opening hours of the veterinary clinic. Not only is it important that it suits your schedule but if you have an animal prone to issues, you might want to find one that has emergency services 24/7. While you can always visit another clinic in the case of an emergency, they won’t have your dog’s veterinary records and your primary vet is always the best one to see.
The Types Of Veterinarians
There are a few different types of veterinarians, and it’s important to be educated on each of them.
Companion Animal Veterinarians
These are the veterinarians you will come across and deal with for your dog. They treat small animals and regular pets. They’re usually trained to provide most aspects of medical care, and run tests and provide a diagnosis. They can also help with surgical services.
Exotic Animal And Livestock Veterinarians
You likely won’t come across either of these when looking for a veterinarian for your dog, but some specialize in exotic animals and large animals/livestock. Horses, cows, etc. often have entirely separate veterinarians from those two deal with companion animals, though sometimes they do cross over.
If your dog needs treatment that is beyond the scope of your veterinarian, they might recommend that you visit a specialist. There are many different fields of specialist medicine, such as cardiology.
You may never meet them, but there are veterinarians who work behind the scenes and help take care of your pet that way. They work to develop different medicines and treatments and are integral to the entire field.
Reasons To Visit
There are many different reasons you might end up visiting your veterinarian, and you should be comfortable in all scenarios.
Preventative care and wellness check-ups are the most common reason. Your dog, after their series of puppy shots, will need boosters every year and usually should undergo a physical exam and fecal test to make sure they’re in the best health possible.
You’ll also have to visit the veterinary office when something is wrong, to get a diagnosis and treatment if necessary. If you’re not sure whether a visit is necessary if you notice some symptoms, call and ask. Better safe than sorry.
Veterinarians can be expensive, and it’s important to bear typical costs in mind. A series of three boosters can average around $100, though some low-cost clinics will cost less — and some higher-end clinics will be far more expensive.
Spaying and neutering can run as high as $500+, which is highly recommend if you aren’t a breeder.
Emergency care and treatment can easily run into the thousands.
It’s important to consider both pet insurance and wellness plans. Wellness plans can cut down on costs for vaccines and spaying/neutering, whereas pet insurance can cover emergency care if anything goes wrong with your pet. The decision to utilize these is ultimately up to you, but if you can’t afford to suddenly pay thousands tomorrow because your dog had something unexpected happen, they’re highly recommended.
Choose The Best Possible Vet
Choosing a veterinarian can be a daunting process. You want the best possible care for your dog without paying more than you have to.
Don’t worry — as long as you do your research, look at reviews, and visit the practice with an open mind, you’ll find the best possible clinic for your dog. Your relationship with your veterinarian should make you partners in your pet’s health! Never settle for less.
Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.