Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet is an important decision, and there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. These include your pet's age, any health issues they may have, the veterinarian's expertise or specialty, and the quality of the facility and equipment. It's also important to choose a vet who shares your beliefs and will be an advocate for the life of your pet. In this article, we'll share our top tips to help you choose the right veterinarian for your pet.

Ask for Recommendations and Read Online Reviews

Talk to friends and family with pets and ask them which veterinarians they recommend and trust. Friends, family, neighbors, or acquaintances with pets are likely to be honest and open to answering your questions. 

It's also a good idea to ask experts if you can. Professionals like dog trainers, groomers, and shelter managers often have connections with experienced veterinarians, and many will be happy to recommend a good practice. It's also worth reading online reviews to find out which veterinarians are popular in your area.

See what people are saying about them and learn about their personal experiences on sites like Yelp and Angie's List. This can be especially useful when moving to a new area where you don't have many contacts.

CocoTherapy dog with vet

Consider Your Pet's Individual Needs

If your pet has any underlying health issues, you may want to choose a veterinarian who specializes in that field. Once you understand that your pet needs special care and attention to handle their condition, it will be easier to make the right decision on which specialized veterinarian to trust. It's also important to consider your pet's age, breed, and behavior. A veterinarian who's used to caring for animals like yours will be best placed to provide your pet with the support they need.

Consider Your Values and Beliefs

Look for a vet whose values and beliefs align with yours. This will help activate effective communication and build a relationship based on mutual trust. Ask the vet questions about their vaccination protocols, views on alternative or holistic treatments, and any other health concerns you may have about your pet. Don't hesitate to ask questions when you need clarification. A good veterinarian will be happy to address your questions and concerns.

Here at CocoTherapy, we're firm believers in holistic medicine. Because of this, it's important for us to take our pets to a holistic veterinarian. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association can help you find an accredited integrative or holistic vet near you. Holistic medicine is a lot different from western 'conventional' medicine, so look for a vet who's qualified in that field.

Here's some advice from Dr. Karen Becker, DVM., NMD., about finding a holistic veterinarian in your area:

"All Holistic Vets differ with their services just like our Doctors. Some offer a wide variety of therapies such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathic Remedies, etc., while other Holistic Vets might only offer one or two services. It is very important after you find Holistic Vets in your area to visit their websites and contact them to make sure they are what you and your animal need. Many people will drive up to 3 hours to visit the Vet that is right for them."

Visit Veterinary Practices in Your Area

When you've made a shortlist of veterinary practices in your area, schedule appointments to visit each of them. It's a good idea to leave your pet at home on the first visit so you can take a look around without getting distracted. A good veterinary practice should have well-organized facilities and friendly, knowledgeable staff. It should also be modern and well equipped.

Observe the attitude of the staff and speak to at least one veterinarian to get a feel for the level of service and treatment your pet will receive. It's also worth checking out the waiting room. If it's busy, that says a lot about the reputation of the practice!

During your visit, ask plenty of questions to help you make your final decision. Here's a list of useful questions to ask:

1. How many veterinarians are on staff?

2. Can I decide to see a particular vet when I visit?

3. Is the process of scheduling non-emergency appointments simple?

4. Do any of the doctors perform surgical procedures, or will I be referred to a specialist elsewhere?

5. Are diagnostic tests like bloodwork, X-rays, or ultrasounds done at the practice or an outside laboratory?

6. Is there a pharmacy on site, or will I be referred someplace else? 

7. What types of equipment are used at the practice? 

8. What are your opening hours?

9. How are overnight patients monitored?

10. Are emergency situations welcomed or referred to an emergency facility?

11. If available, what kind of facilities are reserved to cater for emergencies?

12. What are your vaccination protocols?

13. Are there licensed veterinary technicians on staff?

14. What are your fees for regular appointments, procedures, or treatments, and is there any payment plan or financial support available?

The ambiance of the practice, as well as answers to the above questions, will help you make your final decision. If you're comfortable with the veterinarian, visit a second time to make sure your pet is too.

Think of the long-term relationship and choose a veterinarian you can relate to easily. Since you are an advocate for your pet's life, make sure to choose a vet who'll listen and respect your views and decisions. It's also important to learn to step back sometimes, and allow the veterinarian to do their job. This will help foster a healthy two-way relationship that will be most beneficial to ensuring your pet's health.

We hope you enjoyed this post about choosing the right veterinarian for your pet. Want more useful tips to help you care for your pet? Check out our previous posts by browsing our blog archives.

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