How do I find a vet that's good?
Finding a vet isn't that difficult. It's easy to find one just by looking in the yellow pages - but it's harder to tell which ones are good and which ones you may want to stay away from. Talking to friends is always a good idea, but you may not know anyone from the area. If you don't, there's a few easy ways.
1) If you want to get the absolute best vet in an area, you should try looking for a pedigree dog instead of a vet. That sounds weird, but think on it: if you find someone who is breeding expensive, pedigree dogs or cats, they're obviously going to get the best care for their pets possible because of the value. So look in newspaper classified ads, look up a breeder's association in your area, etc., and just call them and ask who they take their dogs to.
2) If you already have a former vet and have moved to a new area, ask the old vet. They might know or be able to give you some tips.
3) Call the local humane society and ask for recommendations. They may not know or use the best, but they'll definitely know the bad ones to stay away from.
4) I've actually been able to ask vet's assistants on the phone - some have even referred me to other vets for better care if I just asked. It can't hurt, the worst thing that happens is they refuse to tell you.
Just remember that there are a few things to look for in a vet:
1) They have pets of their own, and care about animals.
2) You need an emergency, 24 hour vet, but it doesn't have to be the same one you use normally. You just need to know how to get to one that is open for emergencies. In fact, it's better in most cases to have 2 different vets, because the emergency places are often not as good.
3) Ideally, they will specialize in your kind of pet. I mean that generally - there aren't many "cat vets" or "dog vets," but there are "livestock vets" and "small animal vets." This is more important if you have a weird animal. Your choices may be more narrow if you've got a ferret or a lizard or something, so make sure your vet knows something about your pet.
4) You want a clean, sanitary office, and you may also want to check out the back room where they keep your pets. After all, your animal may spend some time there - make sure it looks like they are taking care of the animals.
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