By Karin Krisher
Readers (non-vets), how do you find a good vet? Do you ask around in your friend group or office? Do you search for local options and read reviews? Or do you just go with the least expensive option? Whatever your process, there are some major considerations that arise whenever you’re in the middle of choosing a great veterinarian.
We think the most important bit of the process is knowing what you (and your animals) want.
When choosing a new vet, first define your criteria. What makes a vet “good?” Pricing? Personality? Efficiency? You could even write down a description of your perfect vet.
For example, one person’s definition could read: A good vet always communicates in a timely manner and via a medium that works for me. A good vet can devote more attention to my animal and is part of a private practice. A good vet is an AVMA member. A good vet provides supplement advice.
Ask yourself these questions to help you define those criteria:
Do you need a vet you can feel comfortable talking to about any animal health problem, regardless of its context?
Would you prefer the consistency of a single veterinarian at a private practice? Or, would you prefer the often all-in-one vet hospital experience, which can include specialized equipment and knowledge, but a loss of the one-vet relationship?
Do you abide by traditional health thinking, or do you prefer a vet who is open to alternative therapies?
When you have defined your perfect vet, look for ones that come close. Not every vet will meet all of your criteria. When you ask your family members and friends about their vets, ask what, specifically, they like or dislike. When you research a vet online, check consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
Finally, when you make the move to visit with a new veterinarian, ask appropriate questions to feel out his or her style. Do you get the sense that she or he is communicating effectively and open to your suggestions and opinions?
Ask about difficulties in the vet’s professional past and how they were handled. Ask about what he or she enjoys about the career. Ask what he or she offers for your pet, specifically. It’s OK to treat your first appointment somewhat like an interview—you want your vet to be right for you and your pet!
When all is said and done, you will have chosen a vet based on your definition of “good vet,” and you won’t have any silly, lingering reasons not to bring your pets to the office of the good vet you do find!
Do you have any tips for choosing the best vet for you and your pet? Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page!