We all know that if we own pets, we also have to establish a relationship with a veterinarian, right?
So how do you know what to look for when choosing your pet’s most important medical care giver?
Here are some tips in helping you find the purr-fect vet for your paw-some fur family.
First, there are a few things to listen to when first calling around to find your perfect vet:
- A friendly voice on the other end. One that does not make you feel rushed, or that you are being an annoyance by asking several questions.
- One that does not keep you on hold for longer than 3-4 minutes. (that’s a long time when you think of it) if they do have other clients they were attending to first, the hold might be that long, some people are long winded and forget the receptionist might have others waiting, but…..they should either find someone else in the practice to assist you, or in the very least return back to your line, apologize and let you know approximately how much longer your wait should be.
- The receptionist should be somewhat knowledgeable of your questions, and if they are not, they should find a technician that can better assist you.
- They should offer you an appointment. If they don’t, that’s a red flag, even if you aren’t ready to make an appointment; they should never end the call without asking.
So what happens when you arrive?
- The practice should have a happy atmosphere and greet you and your pet with a friendly smile and some loving attention to your pet. You should be acknowledged within 5 seconds upon opening their front door.
- The practice should have a fresh, clean smell to it. Although please keep in mind, it is an animal hospital and occasionally you may have just walked in after a sick pet has defecated, urinated or vomited. These odors will linger for a while, no matter what we do to clean them up.
- The practice should be clean, well…… as clean as you can get a practice with furry friends! Vet clinics are not like Home and Garden, we work with patients all day that lose hair when they come in, drool, and sometimes lick the sides of our chairs. Although we do try our best every hour to clean these things up, when a practice is busy sometimes the fur likes to “Hide” under things and with all the action, blows out when walked by, appearing as if we haven’t swept.
- You should be in an exam room within 15 minutes of your appointment. Like all doctor offices, unforeseen emergencies happen and we must triage the worst cases being seen first. We hope all pet parents understand this and try to put themselves into the emergency’s shoes. If it were your pet, you’d want to be priority if he or she were badly injured, right?
Once in the exam room:
- Now that you are comfortably in the exam room you should be greeted by a veterinary technician within 5 minutes. They should be professional, friendly and educated in their field. Often the veterinary technician will be able to answer most questions you have ahead of time so that they can relay them to the veterinarian before they come in.
- The technician will take a brief history and take your pet’s temperature, listen to its heart beat, and check the condition of your pet’s teeth. They should always allow you to see what’s under your pet’s gums.
- The technician should take less than 10 minutes with their pre-exam and promptly call the doctor in when they are finished. If the doctor is running behind for any reason, the technician should keep you informed every 5 minutes.
Here comes the doctor!
- The doctor should enter the exam room and introduce themselves and give attention to your pet.
- They should be dressed professionally in a doctors white lab coat with their name clearly in view.
- During your pet’s examination the doctor should verbally inform you of every part of your pet’s examination.
- The doctor should speak out loud all of the findings in the examination.
- The doctor should then inform you of any and all recommendations and give you a printed treatment plan of all that they recommend, even for vaccinations. There should not be any surprises, and if a veterinary clinic does NOT give you a treatment plan first before performing any procedures, you should take not as to number 2 red flag!
- A thorough doctor will give you “all the bells and whistles” within the treatment plan; after all, they are there to inform you of everything available to do for your pet, not just what you ask for. They understand that you will ultimately make the decision on which procedures you will authorize to have done, but they don’t want to miss anything!
- Your doctor should finish up the examination by asking you if there are any more questions and if you understand everything they’ve said.
- If you need a progress exam, it should be offered to be scheduled before you leave!
- If you are a new client, you should also be offered a tour of the practice. There should be nothing to hide.
- Your receptionist should ask you how your pet’s examination went and if there was anything else they could do for you.
- They should make sure you’ve been offered a progress exam if needed.
- Any staff member available should also ask you if you need assistance to your car and you should be left feeling happy, informed and over all satisfied with your visit.
I hope that this check list will be able to assist you in choosing your veterinarian. I am sure there are a few more things that you may wish to add to this list that you would look for. If so, I’d love to hear about them and add them on!
Thanks pet friends and I hope you find yourself the Purrfect Pawfessional!