8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet

We all want the best medical care we can find for our pets, so check out this article on the 8 things to consider when choosing a vet. 

Some people see vets as interchangeable. They’re happy to see whomever is working the day of their appointment, and trust the advice, and care, they receive. Others prefer to form a relationship with a specific vet, and have continuity of care.

Whether you’re considering changing the practice you’ve been dealing with for years, moving neighbourhoods, cities or even countries, or have just adopted your first pet, these 8 points should help, no matter the circumstances.

8 things to consider when choosing a vet

1) How much does bedside manner count, or are you just happy to have the experience? You can have both!!

2) Would you move heaven and earth, and spend as much as it takes to cure your pet, or are heroic measures not your style? Some vets give you attitude and make you feel incompetent, if you prefer to let your pet go in peace, rather than forcing him to undergo, what you consider to be, torturous treatment.

I am comfortable saying this, because I have experienced that attitude, more than once. Mostly it came down to them wanting as much money as they could get.

3) Do you ask lots of questions, or do as suggested? Not everyone likes to be, what they perceive as being, “second guessed.”

4) Small 1 or 2 vet clinic, or a practice that’s part of a huge conglomerate? There are pros and cons to both, but for me, it’s most important to find a vet I trust and get on with, no matter what practice they’re a part of.

5) How far are you willing, or able, to travel, and do they have office hours convenient for you?

6) Do you need a practice with boarding facilities, or do you have pet sitters to care for your animals?

7) Some practices offer alternative medicine, and a more holistic approach. Is that important for you?

8) What is their attitude towards senior dogs? I added this point to the original post I wrote, because of a recent experience I had.

My vet was away for a couple of weeks, so naturally that’s when Red wasn’t feeling well and needed to see him!!

Readers of my posts know my dog Red is older, and yes she’s on various medications, but she’s hardly ready to leave. Yet the vet I saw kept talking about how old she was, and I should consider euthanasia…

I am not in denial, nor would I ever dream of letting Red suffer, just so she could stay with me.

When my vet returned I told him what had happened, and needless to say he was shocked. He does a great job of caring for Red and I trust him completely (something I don’t easily say!), and he doesn’t believe she is at that stage.

Her attitude towards seniors was pretty clear, hence the need to include this as an issue for you to consider.

Now what!

Once you’ve determined the important factors and have a list of vets you’re considering, call and ask if you can schedule a short visit to see the practice, and meet the vet.

Don’t be shy to have a look around, take note of waiting area and exam room cleanliness, and pay attention to how the staff at the front desk speak to clients both in person, and on the phone. I found the most incredible vet, simply by speaking to one of the staff at a practice I was considering.

8 things to consider when choosing a vet – conclusion

I rely so much on my vet to help me care for the furry members of my family. I hope this post on the 8 things to consider when choosing a vet will help you find one you trust as much as I trust mine!


8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet
Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

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14 thoughts on “8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet

  1. hi Hindy
    you raise really good points here in choosing a vet. Especially true for older pets. I think for me, a sense of working together, openness to suggestions and alternative medicine would be key. Although I really appreciate one’s experience and opinion, I would want to feel heard as the one who lives with the pet 24/7. I think a solid relationship with a vet, one who listens and is there to guide can save you a lot of heartache.

    1. Hi Emily, I couldn’t agree with you more. When we moved to Florida a few years ago, it was my first experience in having to find a new vet, and what a nightmare it was. I went through 9 until I found one that seemed interested in my cats, and less focused on how much money he could suck out of me. I also found they always recommended the most invasive, most costly treatments first. I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my cat’s oncologist after she told me he wasn’t responding to the second medication we tried. She made me feel like I was the worst person because I didn’t want to put him through more treatments, and more trials. It was an awful experience. Thankfully I’ve managed to find great vets since who listen, and who I have developed a relationship with.

  2. I think bedside manner is probably the most important to me. I love my pets and don’t want to be shamed when I disagree with a vet’s opinion when there are other options.

    I would like to add one more to your list, if I may. Benevolence. When my wife and I were not doing well financially, we had a long haired dachshund who ate one of her stuffed animals and as a result got a life threatening blockage that required surgery. All of the vets in our area wanted around $2000 for the surgery and we did not have the money or the means to get it. We resolved that we would have to put her down and she was only about 5 at the time.

    When i was talking to a friend about it the day we were taking her in, she said before I did to contact a vet in the next town over. I did and explained the circumstances. The vet asked, “How much can you afford to pay?” She did the surgery for the cash we had and Lilly lived another 8 years as a result.

    We changed to that vet but have since moved and the distance prohibits us from going to her, but now that we are in a better place financially, we donate money to her so she can continue to practice animal medicine in a benevolent fashion.

    1. Hi Christian, I agree about bedside manner, with lots of experience is an unbeatable combination. Thanks for suggesting benevolence. It’s a great point to consider, but I guess I never have because I’ve never come across a vet who was willing to offer a payment plan, or do what your vet did. I think it’s amazing that you continue to donate to her, and can imagine how hard it must have been to move far from someone so compassionate. I’ll tell you one of my experiences, and then you’ll see why, sadly, I never thought of adding benevolence. I had to put one of my cats down because his cancer had caused a stroke, and there was nothing to be done. They literally came into the room before they put him down, and asked for payment. How despicable can you get? From stories I’ve heard, vets would rather put down an animal than help someone pay out a huge bill. What does that say about them? I guess I expect more from vets.

  3. Hi Hindy ,
    I have truly enjoyed reading your post on the 8 things to consider when choosing a vet . A nice informative page . I would have never thought of the things to look for . I have had the same vet for almost 25 years . I hope I never lose him .
    I’ll never the forget the visit that i carried my grandson with me . I had purchased a taco bell baby. He only weighted 9 oz. Our vet took the time to explain to my 5 year old grandson that he was his dogs doctor. What a great vet he is for our fur babies .
    I also have a blind German shepherd, he is a year old now . I could not have him put down .
    I love your website , I would like to see something you post on “Benevolence”.
    I do agree with you that there are greedy vets and only interested in the cash flow . But If i will ever need another vet I will surely take your suggestions on finding a good vet alone with me .
    Keep up your good posts . I will be back again . I love my babies .

    1. Hi Brenda, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the post. I’m not sure why anyone would consider putting down a dog just because they’re blind. Do I assume people had suggested you should? I’m not quite sure what you mean by wanting to see a post on benevolence. Could you be a bit more specific? I publish new posts at least twice a week, so check back as often as you like. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and I’ll do my best to help.

  4. When you choose a vet for not just a senior pet, but any pet, I think it’s just like choosing your own doctor. I want one with a great bedside manner who will take my input and listen to the valuable information I have to contribute. I don’t want my pet to suffer emotionally or physically if it is unneeded.

    Your post bring up some very good point for those who are considering a new vet.

    Nicely done I know your post will be very helpful to a lot of people.

    1. Hi Debra, thanks for your comment. of course I just mention senior because it’s the focus of my site, but you’re right. No matter what age or type of pet, the same holds true. I agree that it’s like choosing any medical professional for yourself, at least it is for me. The same requirements for great bedside manner, a compassionate nature, easy to talk to, willing to listen and of course very experienced, are all things I look for in anyone caring for me, or my pets. Thanks, I do hope it will help.

  5. Great post Hindy, thanks for sharing.
    I had the most amazing vet and I was also friendly with his assistant. What counts for me is whether they really are looking after the best interests of my pets.
    My cat got run over by a car a good number of years back, on a Sunday morning. My poor kitty had the skin and fur on his one leg right off, it was terrible. I called the vets assistant and she met me at the vetinary clinic. She cleaned his wound, gave him some pain killers and sedatives, dressed his wound and settled him there for the night.
    That to me is what I am looking for. Someone that cares, that will always be available in case of emergencies. My cat had to stay there for about a week and I had to keep bringing him back every week for about 6 weeks. The bill was huge, but he discussed this with me and worked out a payment plan that I could manage.

    1. Hi Lynne, so glad you enjoyed the post. Your vet, and staff, really do sound amazing – what a kind and compassionate soul to help you and your cat like that. Not a story I hear very often, but I’m sure it does happen. I wish more vets would offer payment plans. Sometimes that could mean the difference between saving your pet’s life, and not.

  6. What a great post! This is so important for you and your dog – to choose the right vet. We never know when things are going to happen with our lovely pets and you want someone you and your dog trust, even more so I think as our dogs get older. Even when we moved, we stuck with the same vet because he was so good with our dog. It was a bit more travelling, but so what – our dog was happy. I will forever be grateful to the vet when it came to that most awful of times, and he came to our home to put our man to sleep. That was true customer service in my book. Mara.

    1. Hi Mara, thanks very much, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I rely on my vet so much, so when I’m in a position where I’m not able to find one I really trust, it makes me very nervous. I know that 2 of my dogs died because of the incompetence of 2 different vets (same town though!). I don’t blame you for travelling some distance – it’s not easy finding someone you trust, so you don’t give them up unless you have to. Your vet is obviously a very kind and compassionate man.

  7. Choosing a good Vet for your Dog is so important, I had problems with my male poodle for quite some time now and going to the vet was not a pleasant experience at all. We went about 10 times and each time she gave him new medication, he ended up worse and she would get really annoyed if I asked about things that I read about his condition. She didn’t like being told that I think she is wrong. Went to another Vet, he wanted the dog to have surgery to remove the Tumor that he had and that would have cost me $8000, it was either surgery or death according to his opinion.I was in tears as you can imagine. – But I didn’t give up -So we ended up at a holistic vet about 1 hours drive from our home( so far) but it was worth it. He is now restored to his normal condition, no tumor can found. He is happy, healthy and 8 years old. I couldn’t be happier. My advice is to do your own research about your pets’ condition and then see if the vet’s advice is compatible with that. 🙂

    1. Hi Nia, thanks for sharing your story, unbelievable!! So glad you persevered and your dog is now better than ever. I feel your pain, believe me. When I moved to Florida I was horrified by what I found. It’s not normal to have to try 9 vets to find one that isn’t money hungry, or like you say, annoyed when you question. There’s so much conflicting information out there, but I agree with you and I always say this as well – do research, understand, then speak to your vet and ask what he thinks, is it true, will it work in your dog’s case…. If you have a vet that isn’t interested in hearing from you, the solution is simple, change vets. I always speak to my vet about things I’ve read, or heard and he’s so good at explaining why something could work, is worth trying, isn’t right for Red, but he listens….

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