10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet
Although we probably don’t dread going to the vet as much as our pets, it’s certainly not a favorite past time for the pet owners as well. It can be costly, inconvenient, and frustrating among many other things. Here are some things to consider when looking for a new Veterinarian or Pet Clinic!
Location, location, location…is everything. Make sure that your vet’s office is either close to home so that it’s convenient in case of emergencies. It’s also convenient if you need to schedule appts around your work schedule or rush hour. That extra mile makes all the difference. This will save time for you and be less time for your pets on their journey to the vet. Especially if your fur-babies do not like car travel. An alternative option is to find a location on the way to work. Some clinics will allow you to drop off your pet for day boarding and they will examine your pet at some point throughout the business day until you get off work or have a break to come visit.
2. Pet Drop Off
Like mentioned above, a pet drop off can be a total game changer when you are in a bind. Sometimes Vets do not have the ability to book a last minute scheduled appointment, but if you can drop off your pet and the Veterinarian can flex their schedule to see your pets - that is everything! Some clinics charge a small drop off fee, but others do not charge anything at all. Be sure to ask!
3. Hours of Operation
We are all busy and we all are looking for solutions to make life convenient. Having longer hours and more days available at your vet makes that possible for us to book time for our pets. If you work 8-5, Monday through Friday, and so does your vet, that doesn’t leave a lot of options to manage your pets without having to take some PTO or unpaid hours. But it’s all the difference when they are open from 7-7 as that gives you flexibility to shift your day. Some clinics are staffed where they rotate a lunch too so that they are not closed for lunch hours either. And it’s also super helpful when a vet is open 6-7 days a week as opposed to 4-5. Generally speaking, your clinic staff is working a 12 hour day when open from 7-7, but that staff is also generally working 3-4 days a week and rotating through different members of the staff. Either way, they are catering to their clients and longer hours can really help save costs over time in case of emergencies.
4. Communication / Record Keeping
I had not sent a fax in all of my life until I needed to send and receive some records to a Vet clinic. There is absolutely no reason that you should need to communicate with your vet via Fax - especially as the client. Be sure to watch out for this. Do recognize that most clinics have the ability to still fax as this is an industry-wide practice that one little clinic can’t change. But as the client, you shouldn’t have to fax anything.
How a clinic keeps their records is a good sign as well. Some clinics are still working with paper records. And if a vet’s handwriting is anything like mine, it’s difficult to read! Ideally, your vet can email you PDF versions of any records that isn’t a scan and gives you the capability of using a search function on a computer to find the information you need within the document. For example, if you have a 10 year old dog and need to find the time when they had a teeth cleaning, you should be able to hit CNTRL + F and search 'dental’ instead of reading through all the records. Even if your vet staff is looking this up for you, it should be easy and efficient for them to find as well.
And if your vet is even more advanced, they are upgrading to a text or app feature to communicate with you as well.
TIP! When you go to a new vet, are they recording the information about your pet from old records or checking the information for themselves. For example, are they scanning your pets microchip to double check the prior record doesn’t have an error or are they just copying and pasting the information? If a vet is double checking the records, this is a great sign that you have found an organized and dedicated clinic!
5. Front Desk Staff
For those of us that have worked or currently work in customer service, we all know how challenging people can be. And if you’re a human being with any feelings, than you are treating others in customer service like humans as well.
But with that being said, I think we can all agree that some people do not belong in customer service. You know exactly who I am talking about! Sometimes people are unnecessarily rude or impatient when you are simply asking them questions and, well, seeking their help that is in their job description.
If we go a little deeper than an individual, try to keep your eye out for internal communication as well. Is the front desk organized? Is the staff communicating internally by taking detailed notes or sharing a client’s needs for the day?
There are lots of options for vet care popping up. It can be more convenient to stay at one vet location at times, but there are some clinics who specialize in basic vaccinations and they are half the cost of going to your regular vet. Explore options to save money!
Do you have an exotic pet or a pet with special needs/accommodations? Be sure to see if they manage your personal needs.
8. Pet Comfort
Some vets have really stepped up their game in providing comfort for pets while at the clinic. Look for clinics that have separate waiting areas for dogs and cats. Look for vets that are patient with your pets as they go into the exam room. These details add up to the overall experience.
9. The Doctors
Until you go through everything else on this list, you won’t really know if you like a Dr. until you spend time with them and pay some fees, but don’t waste your time if you are not satisfied with your vet. Second opinions are sometimes very helpful!
10. USDA Accreditation
More and more people are moving overseas for work or for fun. And with that trend, more and more people are taking their pets with them on their international adventures! In order for your clinic to complete the paperwork for a pet to fly into another country, your Dr. must have something called USDA Accreditation. If traveling overseas is on your radar, this can be a qualifying question!
Let us know if you have any other great tips when selecting a vet!