Whether you just got your very first pet or you moved to a different area recently, choosing a local vet is important. (In fact, it should be one of the first things on your new owners checklist.) Pets need regular vet care, such as annual checkups, to help them stay as healthy as possible.
You’ll also want to know where to go if your pet becomes sick or injured. While it might be easy to find a bunch of local vets, you should avoid going with the first one you come across. When choosing a vet for your pets, keep the following in mind so you’ll find the best one.
Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations
You can always ask friends or family members for vet recommendations in the area. They’ll be able to tell you what the vet is like and how good the quality of care is. If you don’t want to spend time going through a list of local vets, this can make choosing a vet much easier.
If you’ve moved to a different area and don’t know anyone, though, you should plan on taking time to find the right vet.
Check the Office Hours
Most vets have office hours during regular business hours, but this might not work for you depending on your schedule. If needed, look for a local vet that offers office hours in the evening or on the weekend. This means you won’t have to ask for time off from work in order to go to routine vet visits.
Having a vet that offers evening and weekend hours is also helpful if you need to bring your pet in for an illness or injury.
Look Into Payment Options
Vet care can add up, especially if your pet needs medication, tests, or other services. Keep in mind that vet prices can vary widely as well. Before choosing a vet, you’ll want to know what kinds of payment options they offer.
Some vets expect payment for services upfront, while others might offer a payment plan that lets you pay a little at a time. Exploring payment options ahead of time can help you decide which vet fits your budget.
Ask About Accepted Insurance Plans
Having a pet insurance plan can help you save money on vet services, but not all vets accept the same plans. If you have an insurance plan for your pet, ask about the insurance plans the vet takes. Your insurance plan won’t do any good if the vet you choose doesn’t accept it.
Look Over the Kinds of Services Offered
If you have a cat or dog, finding a vet that offers the services your pet needs should be simple. Most vets provide routine care for these kinds of pets, such as exams and vaccinations, along with treatment for sickness and injuries.
What happens if your pet has a condition that needs specialist care, though? You should find out if specialist care is offered at the office or if the vet will refer you to a specialist for treatment.
Also, if you have an exotic pet, such as a lizard or parrot, you should look for a vet that specifically offers care for exotic pets.
Check for Emergency Care
Does the vet list emergency services on their website? You can always head to the nearest animal hospital if your pet needs immediate care for an illness or injury. Being able to bring your pet to your regular vet can be more convenient, though. You might feel much more comfortable bringing your furry friend to a vet that you already know and trust. When there’s an emergency, this can give you peace of mind and help you feel calmer.
Get to Know the Staff
This doesn’t mean hanging out with staff, but you should get a feel for how they treat pets and people. If you call with questions or concerns, the staff should be able to provide you with helpful information.
The vets at the office should be known for treating their patients and interacting with pet owners with compassion and a caring attitude. You might not be able to tell this before going in for a visit, but looking through recent reviews can give you an idea of what to expect. Avoid choosing a vet with a reputation for brushing off pet owners’ concerns.
While it's helpful to visit a facility in person before choosing a vet, this isn't always possible. Putting the rest of these tips to use can help ensure that you're still able to find the best vet to care for your new pet.