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How to pick the right vet for your pet – the foolproof guide

How to pick the right vet for your pet – the foolproof guide

Whether you’ve just welcomed a new pet into your life, adopted that perfect fur friend, or finally made that cross country move, choosing the right vet for your pet is a top priority.

Why? Because a good vet can be the calming anchor in a stressful emergency, and give you the peace of mind to sleep soundly – knowing your pet pals are well cared for.

But in all the excitement and general hecticness of life, sometimes this admin can become a little left behind. Then one weekend you check your to-do list and there it is – find a vet.

Sounds simple enough. But when you get down to it…what should you be looking for when choosing a veterinarian? How do you know which vet is best? How do you know you’re making the right choice for your particular pet?

It’s a minefield!

So we’re here to help, with our top tips for choosing the best vet around. The kind of things we wish we’d known when we first started looking, so you can be sure you are choosing the best vet for your pets!

Tip #1: Think About Your Priorities

One of the biggest keys to choosing a great vet is actually knowing what you want!

So get a pen and paper (or laptop, you whiz kid) and make a list of your top priorities. Take into consideration:

  • Location – What mode of transport do you have available? If you don’t have access to any wheels, picking a vet that is within walking distance could be important in an emergency.
  • Age – Your pet’s age could make a difference, for example you may want to look at a geriatric specialist if your pet is a senior citizen.
  • Common issues – Are there any breed specific issues you would want your vet to be clued up on? Does your pet have a condition or disability you would like them to have prior experience with?
  • Manner – Are you all business at your checkups, or would you like to feel a sense of community and warmth?
  • Approach – Do you want your practice to be using cutting edge science, or have a knowledge and support of holistic treatments? Perhaps you even want a balance of both?
  • Appointments – Do their opening hours need to fit with your work schedule? Are you wanting a practice with video calls for those non-urgent questions?
  • Size – Would you like access to a larger facility with more treatment options and diagnostics on site? Or is a smaller practice where you can see the same doctor every visit more important to you?
  • Pricing – Sometimes location can affect a vet’s pricing, so are you willing to look around for a better deal?

How much does a vet visit cost? On average, a standard dog or cat vet check-up cost would be around the $50–$100 mark, and slightly less for smaller pets. So use this as a benchmark.

Personality – Think about your pet’s personality. Are they normally nervous? Or do they need someone who can keep their rambunctious energy contained? Perhaps choose a cat-friendly practice if you have a nervous kitty, or a reptile specialist for your rare scaly friend.

Tip #2 – Shop Around

Once you are armed with your list, it’s time to shop around. Speak to friends and family, or fellow pet owners in the local area and get their recommendations.

Even better – check out the Pet Community Vet Directory for handy reviews and first hand experiences of practices in your area. This way you can make informed decisions about your shortlisted clinics.

It’s also a great idea to visit some practices on your shortlist to see them for yourself and get a feel for their service. Make a note of things like:

  • Is the surgery clean and tidy?
  • Do the staff seem professional, friendly and happy to answer questions?
  • Are the staff Australian Government Accredited Veterinarians (AAV’s)?
  • What is the parking like? Are the access requirements good enough for you?
  • Are there separate waiting areas for dogs and cats or smaller animals?
  • Do the other customers seem happy and relaxed?
  • Are they generous with appointment times to allow you to ask all those burning questions?

My top tip – Do they allow you to drop in for things like random visits, nail clipping and weigh ins? I want my own dog to love the vets, so being able to drop in and give them a few treats and say hello is super important to me. It’s a great way to build that positive association so that you’re never struggling to get in the door!

Tip #3 – Ask Questions

Once you think you are onto a winner, it’s time to book in that check up.

Now is the time to keep an open mind and stay attentive to whether you’ve found your perfect match. During that first checkup, ask as many questions as you can to gauge a sense of whether your priority list is being hit.

Some examples could be:

  • Do they refer to specialists? If they do – great!
  • Do they have emergency services available on-site, or how far is the emergency referral?
  • Where do overnight patients stay, and how often are they monitored?
  • Do they offer payment plans for larger bills?
  • Is there any kind of community engagement, social group or charitable donation involved?
  • Is there an opportunity for second opinions or referrals if you want them?

You should leave feeling positive, heard and looking forward to your next visit. If you aren’t, then keep looking! A good vet is worth waiting for!

Tip #4 – Do Your Bit

Having a great relationship with your veterinarian is vital to having the best care for your pet. Our pets can’t tell us where it hurts, so we need to be sure we can communicate with vets accurately about what we think the issue is, and be able to collaborate on treatment options.

But this collaboration, like all good ones, is a two way street. Which means doing everything you can to make your pet’s care easy. So be sure to:

  • Be on time – Or even early. There’s nothing worse than missing an appointment or showing up stressed!
  • Don’t over Google – Doing your research is a huge part of being a responsible pet owner, but we all know what it’s like to get into a worry spiral online. Don’t be afraid to bring ideas to the table, but ultimately trust your vet and their years of medical training!
  • Be patient – Of course being kept waiting for appointments isn’t ideal, but veterinary clinics can be in the throes of an emergency situation every now and then, which you would want them to pay full attention to if it was your pet.

Tip #5 – Leave A Review

Finding the perfect vet is a journey that takes time, patience and practice. But when you’ve got the right one it’s a wonderful feeling.

By leaving a review for a vet you feel really happy with, or raising any issues you think could be a cause for concern, you could potentially ease that journey for someone else.

So be sure to leave a review on The Pet Community for other pet owners to see!

We hope this guide helps you find your perfect fit for your pets, so they get the best care possible. After all – that’s all we want for our beloved companions!

The Growth Genies are a collective of pet lovers with marketing wizardry. As an Australian creative growth agency, they specialise in supporting pet businesses worldwide, helping them to connect with owners looking for great products and services. Using first hand knowledge of the industry, technical know-how and creative flair, they love to help pet businesses provide real value to their community.