For most people, the term “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” refers to the holiday season. For us dog lovers, we often refer to the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as puppy season! The holiday season is often the time of year when a new furry member is introduced into the family. Not only are people bringing puppies home, but there is also an increase in dog shelter adoptions. We encourage you to help make a shelter dog’s holiday extra special this year.
Regardless if you are bringing home a 8 week old puppy or 10 year old “young at heart” pup, you’ll want to find a Veterinarian that you can take him to for checkups or illness. While your dog may be healthy now, you don’t want to be rushing around trying to find a Veterinarian if he were to suddenly become ill. It is important to find a Veterinarian that is not just close to you based on location, but someone who you are comfortable with. After all, you and your Veterinarian will be making important health decisions for your dog. We put together these 5 must ask questions when interviewing Veterinarians, so that you can be sure you find the perfect match.
1. Where did you attend veterinary school?
This is a basic question that any pet parent should be asking. This gives you insight into your Veterinarian’s education. This is also a good way to inquire about any continuing education that your Veterinarian may participate in and his surgery experience. Not all Veterinarians perform surgeries outside of routine spay and neuters.
2. How many doctors are in the practice?
It is important to not only know how many Veterinarians are in the practice, but also who they are. There may be times when your Veterinarian is out of the office and you will need to see another Veterinarian within the practice.
In addition to knowing who the other staff Veterinarians in the practice are, it is a good idea to inquire about any services they may or may not perform and if they see emergency cases when your Veterinarian is out of the office.
3. What are your payment options/package deals?
It’s good to know if your Veterinarian’s office offers any type of payment plans or if payment is due up front. This can help you to prepare for unexpected Vet bills.
And while most practices require payment at the time of service, many practices offer puppy and/or senior packages. Puppies require frequent veterinary care, which leads to higher than normal veterinary bills. To offset this expense, many practices offer puppy packages, which give you discounts on exams during your puppies vaccination series and/or bundled vaccine pricing.
As for our “young at heart” senior dogs, many practices will offer discounts on certain days for senior dogs or offer a senior package that mimics the puppy discount package with discounts on annual exams and testing. It’s just as important for your senior dog to have routine blood work tests as it is for a young dog.
4. Who do you recommend during off hours/emergencies?
More than likely, your Veterinarian’s office is not open 24/7, 365 days a year. In addition to asking who your Veterinarian recommends in case of an emergency, ask if his practice has a magnet for the 24/7 pet hospital that he recommends for your home. While it may be unsightly, keep this magnet on the side of your refrigerator in case of emergency or better yet, add the animal hospital as a contact in your phone so you can easily access it. It can be hard to remember the name of an animal hospital that you do not regularly go to during a stressful emergency.
Along with this, you should inquire about overnight stays if your dog needs to have surgery at your Veterinarian’s office. Not all practices have staff members that stay overnight. This may require you to transport your dog to a nearby pet hospital for overnight monitoring.
5. Does your practice offer an on-site pharmacy?
Most of the time, it’s ideal for you to get any prescriptions your dog may need while your at your Veterinarian’s office. Ask your Veterinarian if they are able to give you same day prescriptions for any medications they may prescribe to your dog.
A cheaper alternative to buying your medications from your Veterinarian’s office for non-emergency prescriptions is to ask your Veterinarian for a written script for any prescribed medications. You can have your dog’s prescription filled at your local pharmacy. Unfortunately, you can’t use your insurance to fill these medications but they are often much cheaper than your Veterinarian’s office.
These are the basic starting point questions to help you decide which Veterinarian you are most comfortable seeing. Keep in mind that this person will be helping you care for and prolong the life of your dog, so you may want to go into further detail when interviewing for a new Veterinarian. (i.e. vaccine protocols, raw food stance or anything else that may be important to you as a dog parent!) And don’t be shy, ask your fellow neighbors or local social media dog parents who they recommend.
What are some of the questions you asked your Veterinarian when you first met or how did you decide on the Veterinarian that you are currently seeing? We’d love for you to share with other dog parents by leaving a comment below or tagging us on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter posts with #benebone!
Featured Image: @dr.evanantin