Choosing a vet for your dog is never easy as you want to make sure your pet will be properly looked after and will receive the best possible treatment should he become ill or have an accident.
With the trauma an illness creates both for your dog and yourself, combined with the high cost of veterinary care, it is essential for your dogs health, and for your peace of mind, that you choose the right vet to care for your pet.
Of course if you have previously owned dogs than you will more than likely already have a preferred vet but if you are a new pet owner, or have moved to a new town, then here are a few things to consider that should help you in your search for a vet once you have 2 or 3 names on your list.
1 Always make sure you make an introductory visit. Book an appointment to see the vet for a health checkover. Consider how helpful and polite the receptionist was on the phone and how easy it was to make an appointment. Surly and unhelpful staff or a long wait for an appointment are red flags.
2 How clean is the reception area and what facilities are provided. Is the reception area untidy (allowing for mischievous pets) or dirty, are the staff helpful, is there lots of useful information displayed. Above all, are you and your dog treated with respect?
3 Were you seen on time? We all know that whether we go to our own doctor or take our dog to the vet than we are likely to face a wait. This is acceptable as the last thing anybody wants is for a vet to rush treatment to keep to his appointment schedule.
However, the wait should not be excessive unless there is an emergency - such as a dog being rushed to the surgery after being hit by a car. This actually happened the last time I visited my vet and I couldn't believe that people were moaning that they had to wait while the poor dog was being treated.
But, in normal circumstances you and your dog should usually be seen within 20 minutes of your appointment time.
4 Probably the most important thing of all - do you like the vet? First impressions count and if the vet is friendly and helpful than it usually indicates someone who will care for your dog and who will give it the best treatment possible.
If, on the other hand, the vet is cold and unfriendly than this is a reflection of the practise. If you don't feel comfortable than visit another vet.
5 Does your dog like the vet? As owners we like to think that we have the final say in choosing a vet but the reaction of your dog will tell you plenty. If your dog is happy and relaxed in both the building and with the vet than you are onto a winner
The most important thing when choosing a vet is that you feel comfortable and at ease. If you have any nagging doubts make an introductory appointment with another vet and compare the two. Don't forget that you will be using the vets services regularly even if your Lab enjoys great health (don't forget your dog vaccinations) so taking the time to make the right choice is a sensible move both for yourself and your dog.