Choosing a veterinary clinic is one of the most complex decisions we must make when getting a dog. There are many factors that we must take into account but, when we find our veter veterinarian ’everything becomes easier.
In this case, I will refer to my own personal experience. I, for example, have a small dog, a street pooch named Lucky and he usually goes to the nearest veterinarian, because he is doing well and does not usually stress at the clinic. But my husband has a dog (stray too) and it takes 30 minutes by car to take him to his veterinarian, who is in another city. Why does he do this? From what he calls the two ‘C’: trust and comfort. But not his (or yours), but that of his dog, which does have a bad time.
Choosing a veterinarian is an important decision
Attention to experience when choosing a veterinarian
The first thing you should keep in mind when choosing a veterinarian is the experience with dogs that you have. As in all fields of life, specialization is very important and a clinic that cares mostly for cats doesn't have to be good with dogs.
It is true that, in most cases, urban clinics do not have these differences and tend to tend domestic animals regardless of type. And when we go for vaccination, for example, it should not be problematic. But if we have a dog that needs specific care, it is important to first consult the knowledge that the veterinarian has. For example, if we have a Shar pei and the vet has never had contact with one, he may not know how to treat his skin problems.
The only problem is that you should ask and hope that the veterinarian does not lie to you. Another option is to go to the forums about dogs in your city and see what they think of that veterinarian. This option is, perhaps, the simplest and most reliable way to know the opinion of other animal owners. But, eye, what is good for one can be bad for another.
The easiest way to know if a clinic meets the legal requirements or not - never go to one that does not do so - is to check its certification. The Official College of Veterinarians delivers certificates that demonstrate professionalism of its owners, as well as that the clinic meets the minimum requirements for quality, cleanliness, hygiene, safety ...
further, we can find them certified in quality by external auditors, such as the AENOR seal. In this case, the seal granted by the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification will be telling you that the requirements of hygiene, treatment of the animal, hygiene and health are met. But also security and deal with their employees.
To this type of certificates must be attached the titles of the veterinarians who attend you. Remember that this practice is regularized in Spain and that It requires a higher university degree to practice the profession. In case you do not see these titles, you can request them and, if they deny your viewing, leave and report the clinic in the veterinary school of your city.
Location. Is near from your house?
Having the clinic nearby is essential in many cases, but not always. I already exposed my personal experience before. While one of our dogs has no problems going to any veterinarian, the other has a really bad time. Therefore, location is important but other factors may prevail.
However, If it is close to your home and meets your requirements, you will have a lot of cattle. First, you will avoid having to take the car and you can take the dog on a walk. Secondly, in case of urgency, it is always good to have the veterinarian nearby. And, thirdly, you will gain time to devote to other things.
How to choose veterinarian
Your care is essential for your pet to live healthy and happy, but the figure of the veterinarian will also play an important role in his life. It will be the person you will have to go to every time your dog is sick, or needs a vaccine, or when you need advice to take care of him as well as possible. Therefore, You need to be a trustworthy, professional and aware of everything your pet needs.
You're going to leave your pet's life in their hands, so don't choose it lightly! Do you want to know how to choose veterinarian easily and successfully? Follow these tips:
Don't wait to need it
If you are thinking of waiting for the critical moment in which your pet needs medical attention to find the ideal veterinarian, you are in error. Dont wait! Finding the perfect veterinarian takes time, effort and a process, so it is important that you start looking before your pet needs it.
In fact, if you are thinking of adopting a pet but you don't have it yetWe would recommend that you start evaluating veterinarians too. So when you have your little furry you will have your chosen doctor.
Did you know that 60% of pet owners go to the pet veterinarian of friends? That is, in the world of veterinary medicine, the recommendations play a fairly important role. Satisfied customers are a good guarantee of quality and good service that you should keep in mind. If you have friends, family or acquaintances who already have pets, Do not hesitate to ask which veterinarian they go to and what impressions they have!
If you have acquired (or are going to do it) a pet from a shelter or an animal shelter, it is most likely that they recommend you to a veterinarian that they have associated. That is a good help, but be sure to inform yourself about that professional and draw your own conclusions before accepting their services.
If you are looking for a new veterinarian because you are moving, Ask your current veterinarian for advice! You probably have contacts and can recommend one.
It is highly recommended that your veterinary clinic be close to your home. Thus the journey will be shorter, which is important especially in case of urgency.
Do an interview
Once you have chosen a list of suitable veterinarians, do not hesitate to do telephone interviews and ask them all the questions you have or aspects that you consider important, such as:
- Office Hours
- Is there an emergency service? Do they attend home?
- Do you have many clients? Is there usually a line at the clinic?
- Do you offer additional services (hairdresser, surgery, shop, etc.).
- Average cost of visits, reviews, medications, vaccines ...
- If you have pet insurance, do you have an agreement with the company?
- Is there only one veterinarian in the clinic or several?
- If you have an exotic pet or an unusual breed, do you have knowledge and experience with it?
Also, add any questions that you consider important or interesting for your particular case. Don't be ashamed! We are sure that they will respond to everything without problem, Veterinarians want the best for animals! It is very important to inform yourself well.
Visit the clinic personally
(Photo via: misanimals)
Seeing in person the clinic facilities, available means, available products, etc. can also help you a lot to choose the ideal veterinarian. In addition, of course, you can meet the professionals in person and assess their dealings with the client.
Take your pet with you! So you will see how he reacts with the environment and if there is good treatment with veterinarians.
The most important thing of all to know how to choose a veterinarian is that take the selection process seriously and calmly. Plan everything well, ask questions, visit, research everything you need and make sure you always take your own conclusions.
As we said, It is important and helpful to receive recommendations, but remember: you make the final decision! Do not get too carried away by emotional ties, even veterinarians recommended by friends, value them well personally. What is good for one pet may not be ideal for another.
What if I want to change veterinarians?
(Photo via: veterinarian in Málaga)
You already know how to choose veterinarian, but If even after choosing it carefully you are not happy with their treatment and services, do not despair! Of course you can change.
Yes, If you decide to find a new clinic, be sure to ask your former veterinarian for all your pet's medical history before leaving.. It will be very helpful for your new veterinarian to understand your pet well.
1. Find a veterinarian before you need him
Many people make the mistake of looking for a veterinarian when their pets suffer a veterinary emergency. In these cases we cannot compare prices, services or opinions and that can lead to a bad choice.
Ideally, start looking for a professional before adopting the animal or just when we have adopted it. Don't wait for your new best friend to suffer an emergency To start looking for the perfect vet.
2. The clinic certification
Unfortunately, even today there are fake veterinarians and illegal clinics who pretend to profit at the expense of the good faith of many people. Although it is the task of justice to detect these cases of fraud, it is an obligation of the owner be attentive and be aware that these bad praxis exist.
Remember that only a veterinarian has the training and practice necessary to perform medical tasks with guarantees. Do not go to a pet store or a neighbor's house to perform an intervention or give a dog a vaccine. Sometimes, cheap can be very expensive or even cost the life of our best friend.
For routine check-ups we can go to any specialist regardless of their location, however, if our animal suffers an emergency we must have on hand the contact of a professional who is in the area in which we live. It is also interesting to look for a veterinarian near home to avoid the stress that can be caused by cats visiting the veterinarian.
Remember that some emergencies require immediate treatment and if not, our pet could die. Gastric torsion in dogs or poisoning are some examples.
4. Visiting hours and emergencies
Knowing the visiting hours and if it is necessary to make an appointment is very important when knowing how to go. In addition, some veterinary clinics do not have an emergency schedule so it is highly recommended to review this data. Especially if our pet suffers a disease condition on the weekend we must be sure that it can be taken care of.
5. Visit the facilities
Most veterinary clinics and hospitals will show you the facilities of the place without any inconvenience. They must have visiting rooms (adapted or not to cats), Operating room, laboratory. Take the opportunity to ask what services they have, what are the specialties of the professionals or any other information that you consider important.
6. The vet
We must take into account personality and experience from the specialist, it is very necessary, especially if at any time you must leave your pets hospitalized at your expense. More than a veterinarian who "knows everything" you should look for a humble professional. All veterinarians, no matter how much experience they have, know how to recognize their limitations, so they will be more receptive to refer you to a specialist if the case requires it.
In veterinary medicine we find more and more specialized professionals: in emergencies, surgery, traumatology, rehabilitation. Some clinics have specialized veterinarians to make the service they offer more complete. Therefore, if your dog or cat has a very specific health problem, go to a specialist who works that area It is the most indicated.
8. The price
We know that, in general, the price of veterinary services is very high. However, before opting for one option or another merely for the price, it will be ideal for you to inform yourself in advance of the standard price of a service.
For example: a sterilization of a female cat in Spain is usually around 200 to 400 euros. A clinic that offers you sterilization (out of season) for less than 100 euros should make you distrustful. They may not use quality anesthesia or do not have an anesthesia specialist present, which would increase the risk of death of the animal in case of allergy or other emergency problems.
9. Search for different options and compare
In the search for a perfect veterinarian, the ideal will be compare different clinics and hospitals, see the services they offer, the veterinarians they have in their team, their training. But it is also important to value the opinions of other users.
Although we will almost always find some dissatisfied client, the truth is that a good veterinarian will have more positive than negative ratings. Keep that in mind!
10. Beware of.
Finally, we found it interesting to review some basic situations that will help us to recognize a bad professional: the inability to find a diagnosis and the lack of will to refer a specialist is usually the first indication, however, we can also warn you about a serious lack of hygiene of the premises or unprofessional practices. You don't need to be a specialist to recognize a bad veterinarian!
If you want to read more articles similar to How to choose a good veterinarian?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.
Hours and urgencies
An important aspect is the clinic schedule. Unfortunately, they will not always be open when we need them or their schedules are not consistent with ours. Find one that allows you to go whenever you think necessary. But, above all, keep in mind the schedule of your urgencies.
Normally, all clinics open Monday through Friday in the morning and afternoon, and some do so on Saturday. But we can find large veterinary hospitals (in Spain, they are still uncommon) with uninterrupted hours all week. Regarding the emergency, that these have 24 hour hours is essential. And with that you must be careful because sometimes they simply correspond to being able to go without an appointment.
Personally, more than the schedule, I find it especially important that the prior appointment system is complied with. It is not uncommon to arrive at your time and have to wait about an hour to be treated. And, when that happens, I don't usually come back.
Do you have any specialty?
Although many of the urban clinics that we will find in cities are general, sometimes we may need specialists. Certain breeds of dogs - we have already commented on the case of Shar Pei-, have their own ailments that affect the skin or eyes. Therefore, it is important to know the specialties that the clinic has to know whether or not they can attend to our dog.
Sometimes, some clinics advertise in their advertising that they have all kinds of specialties, from canine oncology to orthopedics. But once you arrive at the clinic, Confirm that they do, request to see their certificates and meet the veterinarians at the forefront of these specialties. In 99% of cases the advertising will be real, but it is not always. And, if it is not a large clinic, doubt when they tell you that it has a large number of specialties, since that requires extensive facilities and specific machinery for treatment and prevention.
But, as in everything, the main thing is to know the needs of our dog to know what specialties we may need in the future. All breeds are more prone to some diseases than others, knowing our animal well we will know what we may need.
How are the facilities?
Personally, there are do
s basic aspects that make me confirm that a clinic is good or not: cleanliness and space. It is not uncommon to find ourselves sitting in a waiting room where our little chihuahua has to do with a nervous boxer who keeps barking at a kitten. And, all that, with a prone to dog smell that seems to show poor hygiene in the enclosure. In those cases I do not usually return because if the presentation is not good, what will it be like?
The waiting room
Hygiene should be paramount in a place where dogs can go for vaccination or illness. Therefore, Good ventilation is important. And a good cleaning. This will prevent a dog with fleas, for example, from passing it to the one next to it. Amen that a clean place is more pleasant for everyone.
And, if possible, a large space that allows our dog to have its own area and does not have to compete to sit down. Further, If the schedules of the previous appointments are not fulfilled, we can spend enough time there. And we all know that a nervous dog in a small space becomes a time bomb.
The consultation rooms
The consultation rooms are cold places and should be like that. Observe that the table is clean and has just been treated with disinfectant products It is important. In addition, this should be extended to personnel: gowns, disposable gloves and even masks, depending on what cases, they must be present.
I've been to places you wouldn't imagine, with tables full of hair from the previous dog. I have seen how used syringes were not disposed of properly and thrown in simple bins. With the danger that that implies contagion. Therefore, it is important that If an enclosure does not keep the necessary hygiene, regardless of its previous reputation, let it be seen.
Compare before choosing a veterinarian
For all this, before choosing a veterinarian, It is important to compare what you have in your environment. The first option does not have to be the final one. Talk to other dog owners, share experiences with them and you can gain some advantage to choose correctly.
Unfortunately, centers with great fame and a long history end up becoming obsolete in their methods and tools. While newer ones are going to sin from lack of experience. Look for the middle term, and always taking into account the two »ces»: trust and comfort.
- Trust: you would not go to a doctor who did not inspire confidence. Do not do it with your dog. It is important to be sure that what you tell us is true and that you are acting in good faith.