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How to choose a veterinarian for your dog?

Adopting a dog implies giving him all the necessary care so that he lives happily and in good health. In addition to giving him a balanced and adapted diet, taking him out, playing with him, educating him, you must also insure him with a mutual insurance company to take care of his health at a lower cost. But it is also essential to choose a good veterinarian so that the dog benefits from a regular follow-up and is properly treated in case of accident or illness. Certain criteria must be studied carefully and this is what we will see without delay.

Veterinary office, clinic or animal hospital: what to choose?

A dog owner may be faced with a difficult choice when all types of animal care facilities are available in his geographical area. It should be noted that the practice is less well equipped than a veterinary clinic or a veterinary hospital because the financial means are not at all the same.

Of course, in case of special needs such as surgery, the veterinarian in the practice may have to redirect the dog to a clinic or a hospital with sophisticated equipment, several veterinarians, auxiliaries and assistants, operating rooms and even specific areas intended only for contagious animals.

It is therefore possible to find an excellent veterinarian who works alone in an office.

Main criteria for choosing a veterinarian for your dog

In the same way that you choose a doctor for your family members and yourself, you choose a veterinarian after considering the following.

His location

It is more reassuring to choose a veterinarian whose office is close to your home. In case of emergency, you can take your dog for a consultation without risking to lose time in traffic jams, especially if you live in a big city. Also, it can be risky in case of urgent needs to go to the clinic located 40 km away when a practice is less than 10 km from his home. It is also important that the veterinarian practices in a geographical area not too far from the home if the dog needs a very regular follow-up. Some owners even consider it essential to be able to walk to the veterinarian.

Days and hours of operation

The wider the opening hours of the veterinarian's office or clinic, the better and this selection criterion is very important for dog owners, especially when they have a professional activity. Being able to consult after work hours is very important. But you should also consider that you may need to have your dog taken care of in the middle of the night, on a Sunday or during a holiday. Some veterinary practices, clinics and hospitals are open 24 hours a day and provide an emergency service.

The reputation of the veterinarian

Word-of-mouth is the key. This is why you should not hesitate to ask your neighbors, colleagues and family. Taking advantage of an outing with your little companion is a good opportunity to meet other owners who walk their dogs and ask them for their opinion on the veterinarians in the area. You can also turn to professionals who work with dogs, such as dog trainers or shelters, but also to your pharmacist, because they all know the practitioners in the area.

The relationship of trust

Being able to rely entirely on the veterinarian to whom you entrust the health of your little companion is a criterion of choice that weighs heavily in the balance. The veterinarian must of course be recognized for his competence but also appreciated for his listening skills, his patience with the animals, his availability and the relevance of his diagnosis.

It is therefore preferable to choose an attentive veterinarian who does not hesitate to take time for each consultation, to examine the animal even if the only reason for coming is to get advice on an antiparasitic lotion, to ask questions to the owner but also to advise him. If the veterinarian is too hasty, it is better to leave. This can be checked on the first visit, especially if you make an appointment to have a simple health certificate issued for insurance purposes, to have your dog identified or if you wish to have it vaccinated.

The cleanliness of the premises

This is an important point of comparison. It is better to change professionals if the waiting room and the examination room are filthy, full of animal hair, smell bad, if the tiles seem not to have been cleaned for years... or if the veterinarian receives his little patient with a dirty coat. A veterinarian must take great care of hygiene in order to preserve the health of the animals he/she examines.

The veterinarian's fees

The rates are applied freely by the veterinarians. They vary from one practitioner to another. Of course, the price should not be the main criterion of choice, even if - it must be recognized - it counts a lot for the owner. It is for this reason that it is essential to insure your dog with an animal health insurance company because the expenses incurred can be reimbursed, in part or in full, within the limits of an annual ceiling, depending on the formula chosen.

In any case, it is important to know that, in most cases, the rates are proportional to the equipment of the veterinary structure that takes care of the dog. However, it is necessary to ask oneself if they are really much lower than the average, maybe it is to attract a clientele that is scarce because of a bad reputation? However, if the rates are exorbitant, it does not mean that the care given to the animals is of better quality than elsewhere. The price of consultations and other services must remain within a reasonable range.