Whether your dog isn’t feeling too great or it’s just time to have their regular health check-up, it’s important to make sure that you are visiting a vet that fits both yours and your dog’s unique needs and requirements. With so many vets available, it can be difficult to find one that is the best fit for your pooch, so it often involves putting in some research to ensure that your dog is seeing the right vet for them. Whether you’ve just brought a new dog home and need to find them a vet or have decided that your current vet isn’t the right fit for you, here are some of the things that you can do to make narrowing your search down easier and make sure that you find a vet you will want to keep going back to.
Work in Advance
Don’t wait around until your dog needs to see a vet before you choose the right one. After all, choosing a vet is going to be one of the biggest and most important decisions that you will make on behalf of your dog, and waiting until your dog needs medical attention or is due to go for a check-up means that you’ll have less time to do your research and shop around for the best vet for you both. It’s best to start searching for a vet and planning as early as possible; perhaps even before you bring a dog into your home, or before moving out of your current location. Taking your time gives you the best opportunity to ensure that you find somebody who can meet your dog’s unique needs.
Getting referrals from friends and family who have pets and use a vet can be a good way to get suggestions and start putting together a shortlist. Consider speaking to those family members and friends who tend to have the same views and approaches as you do as they will likely be using a vet that is going to be a good fit. However, once you have your referrals, don’t just take your loved one’s word for it – spend some time researching the vets that you have been recommended, look for online reviews, visit the vet’s website to see what they offer, and perhaps even visit the surgery to have a chat and a look around.
Consider Your Approach
Some pet parents have different approaches than others and the main thing is finding a vet that supports you. Those who raw feed, for example, can often have difficulty finding a vet that fully meets their needs since many vets in the UK are advocates for commercial pet food brands. If you raw feed your dog and want to go to a vet that will support you fully with this, check out the list of raw feeding vets UK from Bella & Duke at https://www.bellaandduke.com/pro-raw-feeding-vets-in-the-uk/. Bella & Duke offer prepared raw meals designed to provide your dog with the best nutrition and understand how important it is for you to find a vet that is supportive of this choice.
Meet the Vet in Person
Even if your dog doesn’t need an appointment with the vet right now, it’s a good idea to get the chance to visit them yourself. Many vets allow you to make an appointment to visit the surgery and meet the staff before you decide whether or not it is the right surgery for your dog. Spend some time chatting to the vets and veterinary nurses to get an idea for their approach and anything that they specialise in that might be relevant to you and your dog. Check the facilities and make sure that you are happy with everything that they offer before registering your dog.
Another important reason for visiting the vet yourself before registering your dog is to ask questions. Be sure to ask as many questions as you like about the vet’s qualifications, accreditations, experience, specialisations, approaches, views and anything else that is important to you. Some raw feeders might be happy using a vet that is not strictly a raw feeding vet but is happy to support those who choose this diet for their dog, for example. The more questions you ask the vet, the more you will be able to find out about them and the type of treatment that they will be able to offer your dog. If your dog has any specific health concerns, be sure to discuss these with the vet to get an idea for how much experience they have in these areas and whether or not they will be a good fit for your dog.
Some pet parents opt for alternative therapies for their dog, so it’s worth finding out if a prospective vet offers anything that might be useful for you. For example, some vets also offer hydrotherapy for dogs which can be useful for muscle and joint problems or even easing anxiety. Some vets will also be partnered with various natural and alternative canine therapy providers, behavioural experts and trainers in your area, which are definitely worth asking about if you are moving to a new area and looking for a new vet due to this. The more your vet can help you find everything that your dog needs in a new area, the better.
Do They Listen to You?
One of the biggest factors to consider when meeting a prospective vet for your dog is whether or not they listen to your concerns about your dog’s health. Ideally, you want to find a vet who will listen carefully to you, take your concerns seriously and address any questions that you might have. Avoid any vets who leave you feeling unheard, brush off your concerns, or make decisions without considering what you have to say. After all, you are the person who spends the most time with your dog and nobody knows them better than you do. Your vet should know this and respect you as an advocate for your dog and his health. A good vet knows that you are in the best position to notice any changes in your dog’s mood, health or behaviour and should always consider your concerns and be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Last but not least, it’s always worth looking for a vet that offers an emergency service. Even if your vet does not operate an emergency service from their practice, they should be able to refer all patients to an emergency veterinary service in the local area if care is needed out of hours. If you are opting for a veterinary surgery that is not open twenty-four hours a day, it’s important to make sure that your dog has access to immediate care should anything bad happen outside of normal working hours. If your dog suddenly takes ill or is involved in an accident, you will want to know exactly where to take them. Ask your vet about any emergency animal hospital services that they run or any local options that you can use in the area.
Choosing a vet is going to be one of the biggest decisions that you make for your dog, so be sure to take your time and do plenty of research to find one that meets all your needs.