Choosing the right veterinary hospital for you and your pet is almost as important as actually choosing your pet! It’s a good idea to choose the hospital before you choose your new pet. That way if you have a sudden emergency, you will not have the added stress of picking a veterinary hospital on the spot. Start your search by asking family and friends for recommendations. Doing this helps you begin to narrow down the hospitals. Once you have done that, visit the hospitals that are on your list.
Here are some things to keep in mind during your visits to potential veterinary hospitals:
• Office hours: Be sure to notice if there are regular office hours and make sure that the hours work with your schedule. Also make sure you find out who covers the hospital when the veterinarian is not available.
• Professional staff: The attitude of the staff is very important when choosing a hospital. Take notice of how routine phone calls are handled. Find out if you can request appointments with specific veterinarians and most importantly, make sure that you feel comfortable talking to the entire staff.
• Services: Some hospitals offer services that others do not. Find out what kinds of services are offered at the hospital you’re visiting.
• Emergency care: Not all veterinary hospitals handle emergencies, especially after hours. If the hospital doesn’t handle during or after hour emergencies, find out if they have an affiliate hospital where they send their patients to in the case of an emergency.
• Fees and payment: Find out what types of payment the hospital accepts. Also, are payments required on the day of a visit, or can you use a payment plan?
• Professional affiliations: Find out if the veterinarians are part of any national veterinary associations.
• Facility: Take a tour of the hospital and make sure that it looks clean and orderly. Also, check for any foul odors.
Once you have made sure that the hospital facilities meet your standards and expectations, you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the veterinarian as well. You should be able to comfortably communicate with your pet’s doctor. Make sure that you feel that you can ask questions and that the answers are clearly explained. Your relationship with your veterinarian is essential to your pet’s health. Your pet cannot tell the doctor when something is not right, so you need to be able to.
Choosing the right veterinary hospital is an important step in choosing a new pet. Be sure to carefully choose your hospital. Be sure that your pet is going to be as important to the veterinarian as it is to you!