Finding a veterinarian for your pet is a bit like finding a good family doctor — you have to find the right fit. There are a lot of qualified, friendly vets in the Dallas area who all offer quality veterinary care. Since most people stay with the same vet for their pet’s entire lifetime, you want to make sure you do some solid research before you decide who is the best vet for your pet. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to “shop around.” You don’t want to be left scrambling to find whoever is available when a potentially critical health emergency comes up. Talk to some people you know who have pets to get their recommendations, then schedule a short appointment to meet the vet before you bring in your furry friend. Here are our recommendations on how to go about finding the veterinarian that is right for you.
1. How to find a qualified vet in your area:
First, you will want to compile a short list of any vets you are considering. We suggest the following resources to gather some recommendations:
- Ask trusted friends, coworkers, and family members for recommendations.
- Call your local animal shelter, or rescue group like Richardson Humane Society or Richardson AnimaLuv.
- Ask other people you trust with your pet: groomers, pet sitters, kennel owners, or pet store workers.
2. Things to consider when looking for a vet:
Once you have assembled a list of vets to look into, consider what is important to you when dealing with the person who will be responsible for your pet’s health. You should think about the following when you check out each vet’s website:
- Some vets specialize in the care of certain animals, such as cats or horses. It is important to ensure that you find a clinic that has the specialized training and equipment to provide the best care for your animal.
- Do you feel more comfortable with a small practice or a large practice? A larger practice might mean more convenience because of a larger staff, more in-house facilities, and a pharmacy; however, this could also mean less one-on-one care.
- Is the location convenient and will you be able to drive there for regular checkups? What about emergency visits?
- What are the clinic’s hours? Will you be able to schedule appointments around your work and other commitments easily?
- How much experience do the vets have practicing medicine?
Next, book an initial appointment without your pet to talk to the vet and get a feel for the facilities. For this first meeting, you simply want to schedule a conversation with the veterinarian to make sure they are competent, professional, and friendly. You want to get a feel for the staff and get a tour of the facilities to be sure it is clean, modern, and well-equipped. This initial appointment should take about 30 minutes.
3. Questions to Ask the Veterinarian:
Before your scheduled appointment, make sure you come prepared by making a list of questions to ask the vet. Here are a few of the questions we think are important to ask:
- What sort of experience does the vet, support staff members, and clinic have?
- Are there any specializations that the veterinarians have that might be relevant to your pet, like orthopedic surgery?
- What are the clinic’s hours and how do they handle pet emergencies outside of their clinic hours?
- What sort of pet insurance do they recommend for your financial situation and do they accept this kind of pet insurance? Or alternatively, if you already have pet insurance, do they accept it?
- What sort of vaccinations are necessary for the lifestyle of your pet?
- How long are the standard appointments? (They should be 20 to 30 minutes)
- Does their staff perform surgeries or would you be referred to another clinic for those types of procedures?
- Do they have X-ray and blood work facilities or would you have to go off-site for this kind of work?
- Do they have an on-site pharmacy or would you have to go to somewhere else for any medicine your pet needs?
- How much can you expect to pay for a basic checkup and what payment options do they have available, such as Care Credit?
4. Decide if the vet is right for you:
While you are at the clinic, pay attention to how the receptionist greets you, the comfort of the waiting room, how other pets at the clinic are being handled, and the overall order of the facilities. You should never feel rushed or uncomfortable at any point during your appointment. If so, it is better to find another vet who can offer you a more relaxed experience. Here are a few of the things you should be looking for while you tour the clinic:
- Inspect the facilities. Are they clean and modern and is the medical equipment up to date?
- Do they have more than one vet?
- Are the vet assistants and auxiliary staff professional and well-trained? Do they seem happy doing their work?
- Does the staff use the facility and products for their own pets?
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions, and can the staff articulate instructions on how to care for your pet?
- Was the vet personable? Were they in a hurry or did they take the time to answer all your questions and show an interest in your pet?
- Do they share a similar philosophy with you about animal care?
Why our clients love us (and maybe you should too!)
We asked our staff what they hear most often from clients about why they trust The Vet House with their pet. Here is what they had to say:
- They love that we are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and take late appointments on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
- They love that our doctors have so much experience practicing medicine.
- They love how much special attention each of their pets get during their visits.
- Most really appreciate that we do follow-up calls to make sure any health issues have been resolved.
- Many customers like that we offer pet boarding services as well, so if your pet has a medical issue while you are away, it can be tended to immediately.
- Everyone tells us that the pawprints we make for their pets who have passed away are very special to them.
- So many people tell us that they appreciate our “no-nonsense” approach. Some folks are coming from practices where they are nickeled and dimed to death, so they appreciate how hard we work as a clinic to provide quality care at an affordable price.
- Owners are always happy to see how their pets are actually excited to come here.
Finding a vet you can trust is a worthwhile investment of time. We hope we helped you get a feel for the process. Feel free to give our clinic a call if you want to meet with us or have any further questions. We look forward to meeting you and your pet!