How to choose a Vet for your Dog ?

One of the most important things you can do for your dog’s health care is to find a vet who suits both you and your dog, so take the time to make an informed decision. This isn’t always easy. One vet may appear to know all the facts but leave you in a cloud of confusion, while another seems hopelessly out-of-date but has a great beside manner. How do you decide which vet is best for you?

Feeling Comfortable:
The thing to look for when choosing a vet isn’t the number of credentials on the wall or the number of dogs in the waiting room. What really matters is how comfortable you feel once you’re in the examining room – and, of course, how comfortable your pet feels.

You should feel okay about asking your vet all the questions you have on your dog’s health. The questions you have on your dog’s health. The vet who is well-suited to you is one who will discuss all the issues on a level you fully understand. “It’s important that you and your pet are comfortable with the veterinarian you choose,” says Mike Paul, D.V.M., vice-president of the American Animal Hospital Association. “The veterinarian should be able to communicate with you and make you feel comfortable about asking questions.”

The Quest for a Vet:
One of the best ways to find a vet is to ask your friends who they use. Even though their expectations may be very different from yours, at least you’ll get a sense of which vets they like, and why. When it’s time for you to make an appointment, you will already have an A-list of names to try.
The next step is to call the clinic and speak to the receptionist to get some general information. You’ll want to find out what hours the clinic operates and how many days a week. Is it open late, and what about on Saturdays? Are visits by appointment only or can you just drop in? And what if there’s an emergency and you want to be able to come in right away?

If you’re satisfied after this first round of 20 questions, go ahead and make an appointment. Chances are you’ll be happy with your choice.

What to Ask Your Vet:
There are no foolproof ways of selecting your vet, but be as objective as you can when making the decision. And remember, you can always change to another. When you first visit a vet, you will also get a chance to see the facilities and meet some of the staff. Think about whether you like what you see, and whether the staff seems friendly and helpful. In addition, you may want to ask a few questions to help you decide if this is the right choice for you.

Q: What services are available at this particular clinic?
A: a clinic may be a general veterinary practice. Or it could offer a smorgasbord of services, including emergency services, specialty medicine, boarding facilities, grooming, even behavior counseling and training. One – stop shopping or a good basic service, you want a facility that is organized in a way that will work for you and your dog.

Q: Whom should I contact in case of after – hours emergencies?
A: Most clinics are open from eight or nine in the morning until six or seven at night. Emergency clinics open as the clinics are closing down and stay open until seven or eight in the morning. It’s unusual for a vet to handle his own emergencies – he needs his sleep, after all. Usually, your vet will refer you to an emergency clinic for problems that occur after hours, and you will have to transfer your pet to your regular clinic the next day. But it’s important you know how your vet will handle emergency services, so you know who you are likely to be dealing with if any late-night pet problem occur.

Q: What veterinary specialists are there in the area and how do referrals to them work?
A: what you’re really trying to find out here is if the vet is comfortable about calling in the experts on a particular veterinary problem. You want a vet who can be objective about his strengths and weaknesses and not think that he can fix everything himself. There may come a point in your pet’s life when she needs to see someone with a specific expertise – a cardiologist, for example, or a dermatologist. You wouldn’t expect your family doctor to be an expert in brain surgery, behavioral counseling, roots canals and eye exams, and there’s no reason why your vet should be any different.

Q: What are your special medical interests and those of the other vets in the practice?
A: It’s helpful to know if your vet has special interests, such as managing behavior problems. In addition, the skills and interests of his colleagues can also be important, because vets share information about their cases and help each other find the best solutions. If your pet develops a certain problem – hip dysplasia, for example it will be very comforting to know that someone on the staff has an interest, says in orthopedic surgery and is up to date on the latest treatments.

Q: What are the credentials of the vet and the affiliations of the clinic?
A: You want to know that the vet has graduated from an approved veterinary school. And the years he graduated will tell you how many years’ experience he has. Also, knowing that the clinic has affiliations with the American Animal Hospital Association or another organization that monitors practices will give you a certain amount of reassurance.

Q: Do you accept pet health insurance policies in this clinic?
A: Not all clinics recommend or honor pet health insurance, so if you have a policy it’s important to find a vet who will honor it.

Q: Which vaccinations do you consider essential, and what vaccination schedule do you recommend?
A: Some people have strong feelings about the extent to which their dogs should be vaccinated. If you feel this way, you’ll to find a vet whose views are compatible with yours. A cautious vet who vaccinates for everything might be just what you’re looking for because you don’t like taking any risks when it comes to your dog’s health.

Alternatively, the vet may carefully select and vaccinate against only those disease that your dog is at risk of contracting in your particular area. If you’re worried about the potential side-effects from too much vaccination, the second vet will suit you better.

Q: To which conditions is an animal of my dog’s breed genetically predisposed?
A: the answer can range from “I don’t like an owner to have a first aid kit” to “Here, I already have a prepared list of the things you’ll need.” If your tummy wobbles at the first sight of blood, you need a vet with the first answer. If you feel confident about administering some basic first-aid, then the vet with the second answer is going o be the one for you.

Q: What medications do you feel I can give my dog at home?
A: Most vets don’t want you to give your dog medicine without coming into the clinic first that way, they can be absolutely sure what the problem is and what your dog needs. If you want to be able to get advice over the phone (along with the appropriate dosage of medicine to give) when your dog has a mild touch of the runs or some other simple problem, be sure to find a vet who wont insist on a consultation.

When to Visit the Vet:
Once you’ve found yourself a good vet, don’t be a stranger. If you have a puppy, you’ll be visiting the clinic fairly often. Most vaccination programs start at about six to eight weeks of age and continue every few weeks until your pup is three or four months old. After that, she should have a dental checkup at six months to make sure her permanent teeth are coming in properly and then another visit for an examination and her vaccines when she is one year old. From then on, an annual visit is usually enough, unless your pet has special needs. Even after your dog becomes a senior citizen, annual visits will be okay, except when you’re worried about something or a problem needs monitoring.