5 questions to ask before you choose a vet

5 questions to ask before you choose a vet

Finding a veterinarian to care for our new-found family members can be a daunting task. However, if we want our pets to live a long and healthy life, we need to give careful consideration to the question of who will care for them. 

Below are a few basic questions to help you evaluate whether or not a veterinarian is right for you and your fuzzy friend.

1. Is the clinic conveniently located? 

Let's face it - most pets cannot drive themselves to the doctor. If you have a hard time getting to the clinic, or if you do not like the commute to get there, you will be less likely to go as frequently as your pet requires. Pick a clinic with easy access near your home.

2. How attractive is the clinic? 

While it is true that looks can be deceiving, they can give some clues about quality of care. A well-cared for building indicates attention to detail and might denote success in the community. Also, pay attention to odors around the clinic - they can indicate unsanitary conditions you might not otherwise notice.

3. How do you like the staff? 

Even though your pet is the patient, you are the one that will do most of the communication with the staff and veterinarians. If you do not feel comfortable communicating with them, maybe you are in the wrong clinic. A well-trained staff should be able to answer most of your questions honestly and succinctly. Trust your instincts here.

4. Does the veterinarian understand your intentions? 

Some owners want the very best care for their pets and others only want the legally-mandated annual rabies vaccine and nothing else. Does your veterinarian understand which type of owner you are? 

If you are they type of owner that would consider an MRI for your pet if needed, but you are in a discount vaccine clinic, you will probably be disappointed. The reverse is also true. Find a veterinarian that understands you and can help you get the care your pet requires.

5. Does the clinic offer the services you and your pet need? 

There are so many services out there today: feline-only clinics, physical therapy, acupuncture, drop-off appointments, grooming, boarding - the list goes on and on. Make sure that the clinic you pick offers the services and hours you are seeking.

Every clinic is different and every veterinarian practices medicine in a different way. The easiest way to find a good clinic is to get personal referrals from a friend you respect. 

Once you have narrowed down your choices, ask the questions above and see how each clinic stacks up. Remember, you are never married to a clinic. You can always request your pets' medical records and move to a new clinic if things just do not work out. However, a little due diligence up front will hopefully prevent this problem down the road. After all, your pet is worth it!

About this Angie’s List Expert: Kris Schoeffler, DVM is the owner of Pearland Animal Hospital, providing veterinary services in Pearland, Texas. Since 1967, Pearland Animal Hospital has specialized in full veterinary services, including primary care, surgery, dental services, emergency procedures and more. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @PearlandAH.

As of November 6, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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One important decision to make when choosing your vet is whether you'd like to have a small practice where you'll see the same doctor each visit or a larger corporately owned practice, says Hatcher. (Photo courtesy of Olive Branch Parke Veterinary Clinic)
One important decision to make when choosing your vet is whether you'd like to have a small practice where you'll see the same doctor each visit or a larger corporately owned practice, says Hatcher. (Photo courtesy of Olive Branch Parke Veterinary Clinic)

One highly rated provider shares insight and questions to ask yourself when going through the process of choosing a veterinarian for your family pet.

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