How Often Should Your Dog Go To The Vet?

How Often Should Your Dog Go To The Vet
How Often Should Your Dog Go To The Vet

How you select a vet for your dog can be the difference between a happy pooch and a miserable one.

You don’t want to be telling any vet horror stories after a standard check-up, do you? Choosing a bad vet could result in undetected health issues, you not getting the right advice, or your dog not getting the proper care they need. So be thorough, ask the right questions, and let’s get to it.

Where to look: How to select the best vet near you

The first and most obvious place would be Google. But you don’t want to just choose a vet at random or just go to the one nearest. You wouldn’t do that with yourself, would you?

So what is the best way to find a proper vet?

Through word of mouth.

The best way to start is mingling with other dog owners and friends in your local area. Other dog walkers out on their daily walk are 10x easier to ask about their experiences than Google. Ask them where they go and why. If the vet is any good, how the animals are treated, if they had an emergency and how the vet dealt with them.

These recommendations are invaluable, because they are honest, real, and detailed. You can ask any questions you want. However, they are limited—most people choose vets based upon which is nearest or cheapest. Or they stick with the same one their whole dog’s life. So if you’re looking for a full list of vets, you might need to dig a little deeper.

Check out all the Veterinarians for yourself

Word of mouth is great. So is looking online though. Use a vet finder to find a full list of vets near you and then check their reviews. Here are a couple different ones you can use.

•    Find a Local Vet  (US)

•    The RCVS (UK)

•    Vet Voice (AUS)

A vet directory will let you go through local vets and filter out ones based upon credentials or closeness. Some let you check if they are an accredited veterinarian practice too. They are listed by the directory so they have a kind of social-proof to back them too. Vet reviews are a must as well because they let you hear what others have to say about the clinic. 

But you can only really know how a place works by going and checking it out yourself. You want to learn about the attitude of the vet. The building’s conditions, how many accredited veterinarians work there, and how well the animals are treated. Try online to find out this information first but Google can only tell you so much.

After that, you need to go and visit them. A good vet practice will be happy to answer a few of your questions about what they do. They know it’s important for you to feel comfortable about your dog’s health.

Best questions to ask your vet

If you’re going to look for different things, you’re going to need to ask them the hard-hitting questions. Now you don’t need to treat this like a job interview: this is more like a dog interview. Don’t be too pushy and do tell them you’re only asking because you care so much about your dog. You could send an email if you don’t feel comfortable asking in-person. If you do go, remember to bring your dog along.

1. How many vets work here at a time?

You want to have an idea of the clinic’s size because you don’t want to be waiting around if your pup is sick. Ideally, there should be 2 qualified vets on-hand (not just assistants.) You could ask if they have any dog training specialists that deal with difficult dog behaviour

2. What tests are done here? How long do the results take to get back?

There’s a lot of tests your dog could get. Some tests could be fecal, blood, worm, tick, or urine. You want at least blood-analysis testing, which can tell you if your pet has certain more serious illnesses.

3. What are your hours like? What happens if my dog becomes sick outside them?

If there’s no out-of-hours service, you might be taking your dog on a trip to a whole new vet if it becomes ill. Which is another layer of stress for both of you. Lots of clinics are closed during evenings and weekends, but it’s worth asking in case of an emergency (which do remember, it does happen.)

4. How much do certain check-ups/procedures cost? Are there any payment plans in case of unexpected bills?

The last thing you want to happen is being stuck with insane vet bills and having no way to pay them. Knowing how much certain things in the practice cost is something your vet should be very up-front about.

5. How often are staff trained? Do they do any extra professional development?

Medical practices should always be moving forward and training their staff (even vets.) It’s good to know that the people looking after your dog have the latest up-to-date knowledge in their field. 

How to make the right choice  

There are loads of vets—and they’re all so different. Choosing can be hard. Don’t be afraid of going to different ones to ask the questions though. Take your time. If you really care about your dog being a part of your family, you’ll choose the best practice you can (even if it might be a little pricier). Don’t just choose based on location and price—but do consider them, because they are both important too.

The Ultimate Checklist: how to find a Vet 

Here are the things to look for in a vet clinic.

•   Good reviews – check on Google

•   Accredited by a local body – if you’re in the US, one you can check if they are AAHA accredited here.

•   The vets who work there are fully qualified

•   Available testing

•   After-hours capability

•   A safe, clean environment for the pooches

•   Friendly staff that you trust with your pet

If they tick all the boxes, you’re set! Your pooch will be looked after and you will have peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing about finding a vet is making sure you and your dog are both happy. If you’re not, change. But go through the right process so you know exactly what’s happening with your dog.

One last tip: make sure you get on with them. Then caring for your dog becomes 100x easier.