Finding a new vet is always a challenge when moving with pets, especially if you're moving to a new city, to another state or even moving to another country. Preparing to move with pets doesn't stop when you get your pets to your new home. And the place to start once you've settled them in, is to find a good clinic. To do that, use these questions to interview potential vets.
What types of animals do you treat?
Ask specifically about your own pets and if they have someone qualified to treat them.
Some vets will specialize in dogs or cats and can't treat hamsters or birds, for instance. Make sure your pet is on their list of animals they specialize in. If you have multiple species in your home, you probably want to find a vet who can treat everyone.
How long have you been in practice?
An established vet means more experience and also that they're part of the community and can be a resource for any additional needs or consultations your pets may require.
How many vets do you have on staff?
While a single vet office isn't an indication of a vet who isn't qualified, having only one vet can mean reduced hours and longer wait times. But with that said, a single vet practice can also work if you can work within their schedule, that is, if the vet is the best around. However, do ask what happens when your vet goes on holidays or what you do in an emergency - in other words, make sure he or she has a back up.
Do you provide emergency services?
Some vets off an off-hours advice nurse or emergency service should you need help outside of regular hours. If you moved to a large city, many vets will offer this type of service. Smaller towns might not have such flexibility so keep this in mind when you're choosing a vet.
So if such a service is not available, find out what you do with your pet should an emergency arise.
Do you have specialists on staff?
Even if your pet is healthy, it's a good idea to find out if your vet provides any specialty services or who they work with locally for care. Make sure you ask them that if they do have specialists, who are they and what can they offer and if not, if they work with other practices.
How many technicians do you have on staff?
Ask how many techs they have and and how long have they worked there.
What services do you offer?
Boarding, grooming, x-ray and ultrasound testing? Surgery services and other specialties?
How much do your services cost?
While prices will vary, it's a good idea to ask how much an office visit costs and get general estimates for common procedures including shots, blood work and checkups.
What are your hours of operation?
Some vets are only open Monday to Friday, which might not work for you. Or some have reduced weekly hours that won't fit with your schedule.
Will you give us a tour of your facilities?
If so, can we speak with a vet at that time? Note: If a clinic will not give you a tour, ask why. A good clinic should be proud to show you their facilities and answer any questions you might have.
Do you have clients who could provide references?
Many vets will have this information posted on their websites or you can find reviews online with companies such as Yelp or Google. Either way, check out what others are saying about them so you feel a little better about trying their services.