Since you do not have much time to spend researching for the ideal veterinarian once you have your pet dog, cat horse or other, it is a good idea to do your search ahead of time, before hand.
But before you reach over for your old phone book or search the net, check out for other resources and find out what you can get “through the grapevine”.
First, see if your breeder can recommend you to his or her vet. Also ask for recommendations from other pet owners that you can trust.
You can learn a lot from their experiences, but use your own judgment because their opinions are going to be subjective and may not necessarily be accurate.
If you do not know anyone who owns a pet, your next bet is to go to the Yellow Pages or go to the Internet and look for vets in your area.
1. Is the vet close to your home? Try to find an office as close to your home as possible, preferably within a 10 minute driving distance. It's very important to know that help is just a few miles away, especially during an emergency.
2. If your pet is suffering from a specific type of health problem, such as cancer or some kind of behavioral problem, look for a vet who specializes in that type of field.
3. Similar to human health care, veterinary care is either done in a small practice (where you are able to see the same vet on every visit throughout your pet's life), or a large practice (where you get to see the first available vet on duty).
In a small practice, your vet will be able to get to know your pet on a more personal level. This will help him with his diagnosis and keep track of your pet's health better in the long run.
On the other hand, it may be more practical to choose a vet that belongs to a large practice because it is quicker to get an appointment in an office where there are more doctors available. This is crucial, especially during an emergency.
Since you do not have much time to spend researching for the ideal veterinarian once you have your pet, it is a good idea to do your search ahead of time, before you bring the pet home. But before you reach over for your phone book, check out for other resources and find out what you can get “through the grapevine”.
4. On the day of your pet's veterinarian appointment, get there about 10 or 15 minutes early to make sure that you have enough time to fill out all the paperwork that needs to be filled out before the examination.
When you are done filling out the paperwork, look around the reception area. Record your observations and compare them to the results of your other appointments.
5. Look around the office. Is it a comfortable place to wait? Is it clean? Does it have a pleasant smell? Is the receptionist friendly and polite? See if you can get a good look at the overall environment of the office.
Are things running smoothly or are they chaotic? Although there are certain days when the office is hectic and the staff seem to be running back and forth, they should still maintain an organized and friendly working atmosphere.
6. Pay attention to the period of time it takes for you to see the vet. You should not have to wait an hour, or even 45 minutes, especially if you have an appointment. A normal wait time should be between 5 and 20 minutes.
If you have been waiting for more than 20 minutes, you have the right to ask the receptionist how much longer it will take for you to be seen and if this is always the average waiting time for an appointment. Ask in a polite manner and you should get a polite response. Continue with your observation, noting down specific details in the office that can influence your decision.
When it's time for you to see the vet, pay attention to his demeanor and how he reacts and responds to your questions.
7. See if the vet takes the time to introduce herself to you and your pet, or if she seems to be in a hurry to finish the appointment.
8. Does he/she seem to be eager to answer all of your questions, or does she look irritated or displeased by them?
9. Does she give information about her practice?
10. Is he/she enthusiastic about her work, or does she look bored or uninterested?
11. Observe how she reacts toward your pet. Is he/she gentle and patient? Does she seem to be a real pet-lover and someone who could connect with your pet?
12. Observe how your pet reacts towards the vet. Does your pet seem comfortable around her?
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