Veterinarians; Choosing the Best for You and Your Pup
Choosing the premier veterinarian to care for your dog is a challenging decision.
➡ Will the vet like your dog?
➡ Will your pup like your vet?
We all want the vet who is the best in their field, experienced yet staying current on the new information coming out. And good bedside manner is a must! There are so many different facets to consider when selecting a veterinarian for you and your dog.
Does your potential veterinarian like your breed of dog?
One of the most crucial criteria for me is that my veterinarian likes German Shepherds. Many years ago, a client came to me and shared how shocked they were when their veterinarian told them not to get a German Shepherd. If your veterinarian does not like the breed of dog you own or if your veterinarian is afraid of that breed, you and your dog will not have a good experience.
Do you feel heard?
When you go to the vet with a concern, do you feel that your veterinarian hears and addresses your concerns?
If not, move on!
What is your veterinarian's education? And are they committed to lifelong learning?
I've gone around and around with my dad over the years about the ideal veterinarian.
➡ Do you want a veterinarian who's been in the industry for 20+ years?
➡ Do you want a veterinarian who is fresh out of school?
My personal preference is a veterinarian who has experience but also is constantly continuing their education.
As a breeder and dog trainer, I know that methods are constantly changing. Science is constantly improving. Research is ongoing and we are learning so much about dog psychology, dog emotions, how dogs learn, how to access specific pleasure neurotransmitters to get the best results in training and so much more. That we are continually gaining so much insight because of an attitude of lifelong learning, how much more should our veterinarian be able to gain as veterinary research expands. In this same vein, I also believe it is important to have a veterinarian that knows their limitations. It is ok to say 'I'll need to research this issue'. It is ok to say 'I've done all I know or am comfortable with, let me refer you to someone who specializes in this issue'.
Are you able to enter the veterinarian clinic with your dog?
During the pandemic, many veterinary clinics offered curbside service only. While many veterinarians have opened their doors and allow clients into the clinic, many are still offering curbside service only. What are you most comfortable with? What is your preference? What works best for your dog? I prefer to be hands on with my dogs and make every vet experience a training opportunity. There are many dogs who do better without their owner present. Some of these dogs are resource guarders who have a propensity to guard their owner from the vet. Dogs will also sense and feed off of our emotions. If you are anxious, worried or stressed, your dog will mirror that. In this case, your dog may do best with trusted vet staff and a curbside drop off situation.
What are your goals and intentions with your dog?
As a breeder, I am ecstatic to have found a veterinarian who has extensive knowledge and experience in reproductive science. When you plan to show, compete in a sport or breed responsibly, it may be worth finding a veterinarian who has personal and/or professional experience with working dogs, reproduction or showing. Having a talent and ability to speak to common concerns or the conditioning needs of a working dog is valuable.
Ease of scheduling and availability
Availability is a multi faceted issue. Is the veterinarian you desire accepting new patients? Once you are an established client, what is their availability for urgent care and last minute needs? Imagine waking up to a sick dog, calling your vet and being told that they are a month out. This is common right now with the abundance of pets and the shortage of veterinary staffing but you need to be prepared and have a plan.
Once you have settled on a primary veterinarian, have a local urgent care vet clinic and an emergency vet hospital in your arsenal. Know what vet clinics offer urgent care appointments and have their number on speed dial. We also have specific emergency hospital information saved in our phones for those more emergent situations. It is better to be prepared and not need it than need it and be scrambling.
Here's few of our local Emergency Veterinarians whom we have use and recommend:
Animal Emergency Services of Kirkland: 425-827- 8727
Seattle Veterinary Specialists in Kirkland: 425- 823-9111
Pet Emergency Center in Mount Vernon: 360-848-5911
Referral from a friend
Ultimately, a referral from a friend goes a long way in finding a good vet. Consider checking google reviews for peoples positive and negative opinions and experiences will help you narrow down your search.
Selecting a veterinarian is a personal choice that is largely affected by how we connect with the veterinarian. I value my dogs’ opinions in this as well. Many of the different items mentioned above are going to be learned by experiences you have with your new vet.