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Whether you just adopted your first furry family member or have to switch Veterinarians for some reason, here is a list of questions you will want to ask your vet! If you are switching vets, do not be afraid to ask for a copy of your pets medical records to give to the new vet!
- What are their office hours for each day of the week? Some vets are open late (or very early) a few days a week to accommodate their clients busy work schedules. Some vets offer weekend hours, but might have limited hours during the week. For example, the vet we use is open Saturdays, but closed on Thursdays. Our Veterinarian also opens early on Mondays because that is the day they do their scheduled surgeries so people can drop their pets off before school and work.
- If they are closed, and you have a pet emergency, where do they recommend you take your pet? This is something you will want to be sure of before the unthinkable happens. You do not want to be in the middle of a crisis trying to find a place to take your pet. One time when Harley was very young and had a horrible reaction to a flea collar. I knew my vet had signs up in their office recommending a 24 hour Vet ER not too far away if we ever had an emergency after hours. Harley ended up having to spend the nightat the Vet ER and was being pumped full of IV fluids and given muscle relaxers because he was having seizures. The next morning they said he was ready to come home, and he was as good as new!
Can you request to see a specific vet or would you be scheduled with the first available? Many vet offices have multiple Veterinarians on staff. Some might have specific breed or disease specialties which is very important to know if you happen to have a pet with special needs.
- Do they perform surgeries on site, or will they refer you to another place?
- Do they have an on-site pharmacy or will you have to go elsewhere for prescriptions?
- How are overnight visits monitored? Sometimes after surgery, you pet may be required to stay overnight, so you will want to know who will be there taking care of your pet, and what the sleeping arrangements will be.
- What is their payment policy? Is payment always due at time service? Do they offer payment plans on big bills?
- What vaccines do they recommend and why? Vaccines in pets are as hotly debated as vaccines in humans. No matter where you stand on this issue, it is good to know where your vet stands, and why.
- Do they offer any microchiping services? Not everyone needs or wants their pets microchiped, but it in case you do, you will need to know where to go for it.
- What brand or type of food do they recommend for your pet? This is something the vet should only answer after a through examination of your pet. To answer this question correctly, they will need to know your pets previous medical history and might even have to do blood work. There is no one type fits all when it comes to food, every pet is going to have slightly different nutritional needs. My Oliver needs food specially formulated to support a healthy urinary tract or he gets crystals and urinary tract infections. Harley has to have high protein, low carbohydrates or he really bulks up to an unhealthy weight. Jewel got too heavy on dry food, and has been switched to wet food now.
- What do they recommend for your pets specific behavioral problem? Whether you pet is Chewing, scratching, jumping, barking, showing aggression, urinating outside the litter box etc. this is your opportunity to tell your vet and find out how to correct it.
- Do they offer any additional services? Maybe they offer boarding or grooming – you don’t know unless you ask! My vet clips my cats nails for free if they are having other things done at the same time (like blood work or a teeth cleaning).
Other things I looked for on our first visit to the vet was how clean and organized everything was. I also noticed that the receptionist greeted everyone and their pet by name when they walked in. I’m sure she knew because she had the appointment book in front of her, but still it made us feel welcomed. Also look around on the walls – do clients send in pictures or cards that are being hung up ? If so, that is a good sign, it means the clients like this vet! Our vet also posts any local pet related articles they find on a bulletin board, along with any recent lost/found pets. To me it shows they are involved with, and care about the local community!
Also, check online!
You should be able to find out online if there have been any complaints against the office. There are also many review websites where current and past clients can rate veterinarians. Many vets have websites where you may be able to find the answer to some of these questions above before you even call or visit them. Some even have social media accounts to interact with their clients! If you live near a major city, there may be many vets to choose from. For example, there are a lot of Houston veterinarians (Ad). If that is the case, you could call around and do some price compairing, however, this should never be the only deciding factor. I know in this economy, price is an important factor, but it is more important that you are seeing a good, quality vet!