This is How to Choose the Best Veterinarian for Your Pet
Wondering how to choose a vet for your family pet? Expert Carly Fox, D.V.M., a veterinarian in NYC, shares what to look for.
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Has the office undergone the Fear Free certification program for veterinary professionals?
This elective certification process means the office will have protocols in place to help pets be less anxious, such as specific ways of handling frightened dogs, extra comfortable bedding in crates, and non-slip mats on the floor. These practices might seem inherent in any office, but they’re not, Dr. Fox says—and they can really help your pet.
What if my pet has a special medical condition?
If your pet has a condition that will require ongoing care, such as diabetes or epilepsy, talk to your prospective vet about the condition and make sure he’s comfortable with it. Having extensive experience with rare conditions is not necessary, Dr. Fox says, but then it’s even more crucial that your vet can collaborate with specialty vets such as veterinary neurologists. Make sure your vet has a good relationship with specialty hospitals, too.
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Signs a Vet Isn’t Right for Your Pet
“Your vet’s and the staff’s biggest concern should always be your pet’s well-being and comfort level,” Dr. Fox says. Most of the time, you will know if that’s not the case. The biggest signs to look for include poor communication or lack thereof (your vet can’t explain the progression of your dog’s disease or doesn’t return your phone calls, for example).
“Owners, a lot of the time, know their pet and know when something is wrong, even if they can’t put their finger on it,” Dr. Fox says. Your vet should listen to your concerns—if she doesn’t, that’s a major red flag, too.
Most importantly, you should feel comfortable at the vet’s office. If you don’t for any reason, that’s a sign to pick a different vet.
How to Reduce Your Pets Anxiety About Going to the Vet
You can’t exactly talk to your cat about the vet, or read him a book about how helpful and kind vets are! And because you can’t, the best way to make an anxious pet feel comfortable is using positive association. Dr. Fox suggests you stop by your vet’s office on a random day just to say hi. Let your pet interact with staff, get a treat, and show him that the vet’s office isn’t just a place to go for shots or surgeries. The two best methods of positive association are usually praise and food, Dr. Fox says, so make sure your pet receives both and learns to associate the vet with everything he loves.