We all dread the day that our beloved 4 legged friends get sick and need to go to the vet. That can be an extremely stressful time. If and when that time comes, you want to know you are at the right place. But how do you really know if you have found the best place for your pet? Having worked with numerous veterinarians from all different backgrounds, here is my advice for finding a great vet when you need one.

Start with friendly recommendations. Don’t just take anyone’s advice though. Find people who believe what you believe about pets. Animal owners all have different perspectives on how animals fit into the family and at what cost/value they are accepting of. The client that only wants a super-cheap Rabies vaccine may not value a clinic that practices more aggressive preventative medicine. A client that wants thorough face time and communication probably won’t be satisfied in a low cost, high volume practice. Find the people that have your values and learn from those experiences.

Second, check online reviews. Yelp!, Google+, Angie’s List, all help get a little more idea of which practices people tend to really enjoy. Review sites do not tell you everything, and often the happiest and the most upset are the ones that do the loudest talking on those sites. Nonetheless, reading through reviews with an open mind can at least give you an idea if the place is what you are looking for.

Next, stop by and see the place. This takes time but trust me, you will be glad you did when you need them. A good veterinary practice will be warm, open, and eager to serve you. Ask to speak to the doctor if he/she is available and if not, schedule a visit to come and interview them. I love being interviewed by clients because it really gives me an opportunity to learn what is important to them in regards to the care of their pets. It is so much easier for us to achieve or exceed client expectations when we know what they are! Those few minutes are well worth it in making sure you are in the right place for you and your beloved pets.

Lastly, if you find yourself dissatisfied, communicate clearly what your concerns are. Good practices (and businesses) will want to hear your concerns and address them accordingly. We do not hit the perfect mark every minute of every day but we should want to help our customers when we can. If you find that the culture of the practice is not one that serves you well, feel free to look further. At Firehouse Animal Health Center, our team developed 5 Core Values that we integrate into everything we do.

Build Trust – Exceed Expectations – Collaborate Effectively – Foster Learning – Be Compassionate

If we can use these principles to guide our actions each day, we typically will serve the needs of our clients well. Look for a place you trust that communicates well, and when you find it you will know that you are in the right place.

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