Pet parents today show a lot more concern for their pet’s health and well-being than they would have over 50 years ago. Today—thanks to the continuing evolution of modern medicine—our dogs and cats continue to live longer and healthier lives.
In this article, we’ll thoroughly cover everything you’ll need to know about finding the best veterinarian near you.
How To Find the Best Veterinarian Near Me
A veterinarian is a doctor who specializes in pursuing a medical degree with various species of animals. You can have a veterinarian who specializes in companion animals—dogs and cat. Or a veterinarian who specializes in large animals—horses, cows, and goats!
So, when looking for the best “veterinarian near me”, you will need to consider various factors that benefit you. You will have to start by:
- Asking yourself—is this veterinarian practice providing the services I need? For example, if you own a cockatoo, then you’ll probably need to seek a veterinarian who specializes in avian medicine.
- You’ll need to ask yourself what you’re looking for in a veterinarian. Many pet owners prefer to go with a veterinarian who has excellent communication skills and is a people person.
You can begin the process of searching for a veterinarian by visiting your local dog parks, pet shelters, and even pet stores. The key here is to start asking people around on who they believe the “best veterinarian near me” can be!
There are many ways you can go about looking for the best veterinarian practice. Ideally, it is recommended that pet owners talk to other people who have taken their pets to local veterinary clinics, or perhaps do a quick google search to see any reviews.
Once you narrow down a list of what you believe could be your next veterinary animal hospital, then your next step should be to visit the practice.
Pet At The Vet: What To Look For At A Vet Clinic
Now you may be asking—What do I look for and ask for when looking for the best veterinarian near me? Now, there are many factors to consider when looking for a good vet clinic. Here we have listed some important factors to consider
Clinic qualifications—Is it AAHA accredited?
The American Animal Hospital Associate (AAHA) is an associate that evaluates and creates the standard of veterinary excellence for a veterinary hospital to follow.
It is not mandatory for all veterinary clinics to become AHAA credited, but it is a great aspect to look for when searching for the “best veterinarian near me”.
So, what can an AAHA accredited vet offer you?
AAHA evaluates veterinary hospitals based on over 900 standards. And so, when a veterinarian hospital meets AHAA standards, this means that the hospital has met- or exceeded areas in either:
- Pain management
- Emergency services
- Pathology services
- Contagious diseases
- Surgery and anesthesia
- Diagnostic and Pharmacy care
When asking, “What’s the best veterinarian near me”, another aspect to consider is the hospital’s overall atmosphere. This can include the cleanliness of the hospital, the housekeeping facilities, and the general appeal of the hospital.
For example, you can ask your veterinarian to take you around the hospital.
You can ask about how the equipment is handled/cleaned and how often the examination rooms are cleaned and disinfected. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a hospital that’s welcoming, spotless, and has state of the art equipment.
Staff: Veterinarian technicians and nurses
Another major aspect to consider when looking for a good veterinary clinic is the evaluating the staff and vets itself!
You’ll want a veterinarian who has excellent communication skills. You’ll want a vet who has not only excellent animal handling skills but also great people skills.
Secondly, you’ll want to look for staff who are qualified to handle animals. For example, both veterinarian technicians and vet nurses require a college degree to acquire certification in their field.
Payment Plans and Options
Lastly, if veterinary bills are a bit too much for you, then you should ask an see what are the payment plans offered. Some veterinarians may require you to pay the entire amount of a surgical procedure while others will allow you to make partial payments.
If you have pet insurance, you will also need to ask the veterinary clinic if they accept pet insurance plans
Cheap/Low-Cost Vets Near Me: What To And What Not To Sacrifice When Searching
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns we as pet owners is finding that perfect balance between what we should sacrifice and what we should not sacrifice when looking for a vet.
To make the process of searching for the best veterinarian for your furry family, we’ve created a brief list of what you can and cannot sacrifice. It is important to remember that this list is subjective. And so, it can be tweaked a little for everyone.
What To Search for In A Vet! Aka What Cannot Be Sacrificed
- Does the animal clinic have licensed veterinarians who have the experience in their particular animal specialty? For example, a veterinarian who specializes in dogs and cats, should not be the sole vet in the clinic if they can’t treat a reptile.
- Does the veterinary practice have licensed medical staff? For example, you’ll want a trained vet tech to tend your animal as opposed to an unlicensed individual.
- Does the veterinarian communicate well with clients? Is the veterinarian able to handle animals appropriately? So, say if your dog has been diagnosed with a really complicated disease—does the veterinarian in practice explain the pathophysiology of the disease in a way that’s easy to understand? Does your veterinarian communicate how you can manage your pet’s health at home?
- Finally, is the veterinarian throughout with their physical examination? When you take your pet for their routine physical exam, your veterinarian should start by examining your pets head (mucous membranes, eyes, mouth, gums, teeth). Your veterinarian should then work downwards throughout the entire body, examining joint movements, palpating the abdomen, and checking for any abnormalities. It is at this time when your veterinarian should also assess your pets body condition score, temperature, respiration rate, and heart rate.
What Can You Sacrifice When Searching For A Veterinarian Near Me?
- If money is of no issue, then you can sacrifice looking for a veterinary who has payment plans options.
- Unlike human hospitals, it is not mandatory for veterinary hospitals to be AAHA accredited. Now, it is recommended that you seek a vet who is AAHA accredited, but if it is something that’s just not available in your area, then that’s ok!
“When Should I Head to the Vet?”
Vet care is crucial to keeping your pet healthy and happy. The more you delay your pets visit the vet, then the more likely they’ll encounter medical problems in the future.
That being said, if you are unsure about when your pet requires veterinary services, then follow the list to guide you. A pet will require veterinary services in the following situations:
- The pet in question has suddenly become lethargic, has lost their appetite, and appears depressed.
- If you notice any abnormality in your pet. Whether a physical abnormality or a change in personality, it is best to consult your veterinarian.
- Dehydration! If an animal has had diarrhea or has been vomiting for over 48 hours, then they are losing water! Which means they’re at risk of going into hypovolemic shock.
- Positioning: If you believe your pet has consumed a toxic substance, then this is a medical emergency.
- Preventative care: All dogs and cats need to go to a veterinarian if for their routine physical exam and vaccinations.
“Will I Need Insurance for Pets?”
Whether or not pet insurance is right for you and your furry friend is a subjective question. Pet insurance offers owners security, should their beloved fur-baby, require urgent care.
The major pros are that you’ll not have to worry about paying for any emergency procedures, and so you’ll not have to worry about money during an emergency.
Pet insurance is always recommended for animals who are at risk of developing inherited medical conditions. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds, or even purebred dogs, are always at a higher risk of developing medical ailments common to their breed.
Does A Vet’s Speciality Matter? Match The Pet’s Pain To The Right Dr
When a student graduates as a veterinarian, then this means that they meet and have demonstrated sufficiency competency requirements to treat, diagnose, and perform basic surgical procedures on our pets.
Some veterinarians, during their last few years of schooling, will specialize in working with a particular species of animal.
A board-certified specialist is a veterinarian who has undergone further training and a residency program. Most general practicing veterinarians will often refer you to a specialist should they believe your pet needs one. In addition, you too can seek out a board-certified veterinarian for your pet.
A veterinary nutritionist is one who specializes in animal nutrition. They are board-certified doctors who are able to:
- formulate the optimal pet diet plan
- They are able to create a diet that is balanced and nutritious for a specific pet
- A veterinarian nutritionist is able to formulate the best diet for an animal with illness. For example, if you’ve got a dog with chronic kidney failure, then you’d benefit from visiting a veterinarian nutritionist.
Veterinarian of Orthopedics
A veterinarian of orthopedics or an orthopedic surgeon is one who is trained to perform specialized bone, joint, and ligament based surgeries on pets. A veterinarian orthopedic surgeon may practice on dogs, cats, horses, and even large animals. They often perform surgeries such as:
- Arthroscopic knee surgery
- Repairing bone fractures
- Ruptured ligaments and tendon surgeries
Veterinarian of Soft Tissue Surgery
A veterinarian soft tissue surgeon is one who performs any surgery that is not related to the bone and joints. A veterinarian surgeon may see patients for:
- Trauma and emergency procedures
- Advanced urinary surgery
- Advanced airway-related surgery
5 Vet Tips: What They Say About Basic Care
- Nutrition and exercise are perhaps the most important factors that affect your pet’s health! Make sure you feed your dog or cat a high-quality, balanced meal.
- Do you have a senior pet? It’s highly recommended that you get your dog’s yearly blood tests done. This gives the vet a snapshot on how healthy you pooch is!
- Does your dog love hiking? or do they love to play with other dogs? Always make sure your dog is up-to-date with their vaccinations! Remember, you wouldn’t want your dog catching some dangerous virus.
- Even dogs need to have their teeth cleaned! Never deny your pet of clean teeth! Always brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. If you think your dog’s teeth are really bad, then make sure to bring them in for dental surgery.
- Do you think your dog is in pain? Never administer your pet any human medication (aka Asprin), this can be dangerous and only your vet knows the proper dose!
Resources for Vets Near Me
Not sure how to find the best “veterinarian near me”? Check out these pawesome resources for veterinarians near me, to help you find a good vet.
- AVMA—American Veterinary Medical Association
- AAHA—American Animal Hospital Associate
Do you still have questions on searching for a good veterinarian? Not sure how to find the “best veterinarian near me”? Let us know in the comments below!