The vet is a very important part of you and your puppy’s life, and the best time to choose one is before you need one.
Get it right, and a lot of stress will never happen. Get it wrong, and it can be horrendous!
Your vet will be the most important person in your dog’s life (after you).
How to choose a vet for your puppy
As with most things to do with your puppy, other people’s experiences can be very helpful.
Never choose a vet just because they are nearby. Choose them because they are right for you!
The distance can be important, especially if there is ever an emergency or if your dog doesn’t like travelling. But most people will have a few options in their town.
The cost will also come into your decision, but having the right person should be the overriding consideration. Ask your family and friends – see what they have experienced and recommend.
If you have a pedigree puppy, consult with your breeder, and local breed clubs. It may be that your breed has special needs, and a certain vet is sympathetic and knowledgeable of these. If you’re adopting from a charity, many of these will work with vets or at least be able to recommend some.
Reviews are everywhere. You can search the most popular places online to find reviews of most vet surgeries. Google Maps, Trustpilot, Yell, Yelp and Reviews.io are great places to start gathering information about the experiences of real customers.
Some may need taking with a pinch of salt, as every experience and situation is different. However, it should give a good picture of whether there are any glaring issues in regards to care or efficiency.
Visit The Vet
When you have got your shortlist, do not be afraid to visit the vet’s premises. See if you are comfortable with what they offer.
It may be that you have to be flexible in your timing of a visit (last thing in the evening etc) but most practices will welcome you, and respect that you are taking your puppy’s welfare seriously.
Take your puppy with you, and see how the staff interact.
Check how many vets there are in the practice and if appointments are always necessary.
- Are telephone helplines available at no cost to registered customers?
- Do they have specialist services (dental, x-ray, behaviourists, etc)?
- Do they offer a payment plan for larger bills?
As with choosing a doctor for yourself, it is important to find someone you can talk to and trust.
Your vet needs to be able to explain and discuss with you the symptoms of illness, test results, treatment plans etc. You don’t want to feel like you’re being rushed out of the door after a visit, either.
Ask about pet insurance – some vets run a specialist plan which can work out a lot cheaper than “off the peg” solutions.
With your puppy, you will go through some emotional times together, so it is vital that you find the vet easy to talk to, and that you have complete trust in the practice.
Puppies can build up a phobia about going to the vet, so you’ll be starting him off on the right foot if his first visit is to a vet you already feel comfortable with. If you are moving house and need to find a new vet, don’t put it off; do it as soon as you can.
Don’t be put off if the first vet you visit is not right for you – check the internet or ask local social media groups for other options, and visit another one. A vet is too important to be left to chance!
There are now online vets which are a great option for anyone who maybe will have a lot of questions in their first few months of puppy ownership, but who don’t always want to run to the vets, especially if you have to ring ahead and book an appointment.
You usually book an online video call for the same day. Slots can last up to 20 minutes in most cases, and you will be able to get clear answers and show them any concerns clearly. This can be good if you want a second opinion aside from that of your vet’s receptionist.
Many are attached to physical vets practices so will tell you if you must go straight to a physical veterinarian, and the cost of the appointments is always competitive with ordinary vet practices. While your puppy will most certainly need to be registered to a physical vet for booster vaccines and checkups throughout life, it could be good to prepare who you would ring for advice.
All information on this site is given in good faith, but should never be taken as final authoritative advice. In all cases of doubt or query, you are strongly advised to check the position with an expert – before you have chosen your vet, your breeder is the person to see first, and ask other people with dogs – you will find them more than happy to help.