You have a new puppy, congratulations! It’s always such a joy to welcome a new, furry member of the family. You’ll probably have chosen a bed, bought some food, maybe even a collar and lead, all ready for when your new little furball comes home. But have you thought about a vet?
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Why should you find a vet for your puppy?
Sounds like a silly question, but thinking about this can actually help you choose the right vet. Obviously, puppies need their first checks, de-worming and an appropriate vaccination schedule. You might even be considering getting him or her neutered (de-sexed) later on. Aside from puppy checks and preventative medicine, however, your vet is there to guide you and help care for your dog throughout his lifetime. They will play an important part in keeping your pet healthy, providing appropriate care and treatment in times of illness. Aswell as generally advocating for him to enjoy the best quality of life possible. Your vet should be a pillar of support. It’s important for your pet’s continuity of care, to try and maintain contact with a particular veterinarian or at least remain within the same clinic, rather than using different ones.
How do you choose a practice?
There are a lot of different veterinary clinics and hospitals out there, even within a small radius. Talking to family and friends with pets can help you get a feel of who you might be comfortable with. But it’s also a good idea to make a shortlist of a few practices; research their websites and check out their online reviews. All before paying them a visit to have a talk with them and see if they fit your individual needs. This is because practices can vary considerably in various factors that may be important to you. For example, the length of consultation times, the services they offer, the parking facilities available, disabled access, the distance from your home, whether grooming is available, and perhaps your budget.
Veterinary practices or hospitals that have several vets…
In the beginning, if you’ve chosen a veterinary practice that has several clinicians, you may not know who to choose, or may see different vets at different appointments. Sometimes it can feel a bit concerning not knowing if you’re going to see the same person. As a footnote, this practice is fairly normal; it’s partly because not all vets can be available at the same time for consults or operations, etc. This shouldn’t be a cause of concern in general, because your pet’s notes will be written on their digital file. The vet you see will still be well informed, regardless of whether or not they saw your puppy at its last visit.
However, for continuity of care, and so that you and your vet can get to know each other and develop a healthy, trusting relationship, it’s perfectly reasonable to request to see a particular vet. Especially if you feel like you’re developed a good rapport, or if they have seen your pet before. Practices will try to book you in with the vet you request. This is because we know it’s helpful for the pet, owner and vet to have continuity in patient care.
It’s not just the vets
A lot of the contact with any veterinarian will often be through intermediaries like veterinary nurses, nursing assistants or receptionists, and each of these is an integral part of the veterinary team, they are our unsung heroes. You’ll find that they will also get to know you and your puppy well. In your time passing through the waiting room, they will be there to rejoice with you in the joys and victories of pet ownership, and to console you in times of worry or sadness. Getting to know and trust these friendly faces will give you real reassurance, should your pup ever have a problem.
Remember that your vet wants to help you…
Don’t leave it until the last minute to find a vet for your puppy, really it should be one of the first things on your list when you know he’s going to be coming home soon. Popping in to a vet clinic you are interested in can be helpful just to get you up to speed with what your puppy will need when he comes home. They might advise you to consider taking out some insurance earlier than you perhaps would have thought – knowing from experience that it could come in handy if he’s unfortunate enough to have a problem early on.
Vets undergo rigorous training followed by long working hours and, often, a lot of on-call. They’re generally dealing with multiple cases at once, have strong emotional attachments to the profession and their patients. They may have just put a long-term patient to sleep before entering the consult room with you. With mutual trust, kindness and respect, the vet and client bond can be a wonderful relationship, one you will both cherish for the lifetime of your pet and beyond.