When choosing the right vet, you need to take into account what would be best not only for yourself, but for your pet. You need to consider the location, whether staff appear knowledgeable and informative, and how they behave with the animals. There are a lot of different vets to choose from so don’t settle for the first one you see. Careful research is important to ensure you will be taking your pet to the place where they can receive the best possible treatment.
To begin with, you need to make sure the vet is appropriately qualified. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the body responsible for this. Registered vets will either have MRCVS or FRCVS after their names, and you can make sure by checking the RCVS website. It is illegal for anyone who isn’t registered to practice.
Additionally, some vets can volunteer to be part of the Practice Standards Scheme as part of the RCVS, and if they are, they will display the RCVS Accredited Practice logo. Again, you can find out whether a particular practice is part of this scheme by visiting the RCVS website. This means they will be subjected to extremely thorough inspections every four years, as well as spot checks in between. Being part of the scheme shows the practice has nothing to hide, and that they believe their establishment is of such a high standard they welcome inspections.
Think about which practice is closest to your home. In the event of an emergency, you need to be able to get your pet there as quickly as possible. The location should have convenient parking or public transport links. You also need to make sure the practice will be open at times that are most convenient to you. For instance, if you work during the day you may only be able to visit the vet in the evening, so you need to know if they will be open when you need them.
Enquire about what would happen in the event of an emergency. Ask about the procedure of out-of-hours call outs, and if your pet would be treated at that practice or somewhere else. If this is the case, you could be sent somewhere further away if they don’t have the required facilities on site. You also need to make sure someone will always be there if your pet ever needs to stay overnight.
Listen to what your friends and family say about the practice. Ask whether staff seemed knowledgeable and informative, and if they were happy with the way their pets were handled by them. However, bear in mind the needs of someone else’s pet may be different from yours. You could also ask for recommendations from local kennels or catteries. A vet should handle your pet with care and be genuinely interested in their welfare. They also need to provide you with clear instructions regarding treatment.
Ring up or visit the practice to find out more information. Ask how long they have been established for, and what their policies are. A practice should be open to questions and willing to discuss everything you need to know with you. You may even be able to arrange a tour so you can set your mind at ease about where you would be taking your pet. Enquire about what a typical quote for treatments would include, and staff should be able to provide you with the prices for basic treatments. Some may charge more for check-ups after an operation. Pet insurance from Animal Friends could ease your worries about paying for expensive vet bills.
Consider whether the practice caters for any special needs your pet may have. For instance, some may not have the right expertise to deal with exotics. Have a look on the RCVS website to find out where the nearest suitable practice is, or ask your local vet for more information. You also need to check that there is a specialist vet at the practice; otherwise, you may be referred elsewhere in the event of your pet requiring specialist treatment.
You can use the Animal Friends website to find out whether a practice has signed up to Pawtal, our award-winning claims service. An industry first, it ensures the quick and efficient processing of claims without the need for laborious and time consuming paper work. If you are an Animal Friends policyholder, your claim will be processed a lot faster through Pawtal. You can ask your vet to sign up to our Pawtal scheme by referring them to our site.