Whether you are looking for a holistic, conventional or allopathic veterinarian,
(In short- I believe they all have their place), here are some basic principles that you should look for when deciding which clinic/vet to choose;
1. Do they create an inviting atmosphere?
You and especially your pet(s) need to feel comfortable when you are at your vets’ office during a visit. One oversight that I feel most vet offices have is who they hire as their receptionist, as that is the first and last person you will see in the office. This lesson was actually given to me many years ago during the only time I ever worked in a restaurant as the hostess. My boss told me that I am the most important person he can hire, I am the first person his customers will meet and the last person they will see when they leave the place, and we all know that first impressions are important. I needed to act and LOOK like I owned the joint, to which I did, so naturally I kept getting mistaken for the manager/ owner of the place!
Veterinarian offices/clinics should be no exception- if the receptionist looks tired and is short with you, or quite frankly, is a little too free with their ‘opinions’ and ‘information’, that is all a telling sign and has already set the tone for your visit.
2. How does your vet make you feel?
It is not lost on me that many a pet guardian feel pressured or make fear-driven decisions for their beloved pets when they are at a vet visit. Your vet should empower you with knowledge and education- not make you scared!
Next time you are at your vets’ office, even while they are speaking to you, tap into how you are feeling at that very moment, do a quick check within yourself and ask, “How am I feeling right now?”, are you feeling belittled or worried/scared? Or do you feel good?
Many people have left my shop feeling and commenting that they are 'excited', for embarking on their pets’ new wellness journey, I guess you could say I pride myself on that empowerment. You see, in empowering someone to help them help their pet, there is no aspect of control, or me trying to control them, the side-effect is that they feel free to make the decisions they make for their pet, and when they come back to thank me and give me credit, I simply reply with, “All I did was empower you with knowledge and information that you chose to utilize, so thank yourself”.
Even when some pet guardians get overwhelmed at how much information there is (and believe me there is a lot!), I am constantly reassuring them that they are not alone, and Rome was not built in a day. Your vet should do the same.
3. Do they listen?
Does your vet actually listen to your concerns and requests? For example, If your pet is healthy, and you are buying and feeding them a well balanced quality raw pet food diet, then there really shouldn’t be a concern for your vet. It does not make much sense to switch over a healthy pet doing incredible on a balanced fresh diet to a commercial and highly processed pet food does it? Food for thought.
4. Knowledge vs. Education
Does your vet self-educate him/herself, or do they rely on the information they graduated with X amount of years ago? The health and medical industry are constantly changing and being updated, the question lies, is your vet taking it upon him/herself to access the latest unbiased research and information? Even in the nutrition industry, lots has changed and things keep evolving. Fat was once ‘bad for you’- but now everyone is on a keto diet! Coconut oil was once highly villainized by nutritionists- now it’s everywhere! See what I mean?
For example; Does your vet still spay and neuter puppies and kittens at 6 months of age or do wait until the animal reaches maturity until all the proper glands and hormones are in place and developed?
Do they vaccinate senior and/or immune compromised pets? Do they push unnecessary vaccines?
5. They put the animal first
It is in fact true that veterinarians must take an oath like human doctors do, the Canadian Veterinary Oath (CVO) is as follows;
“As a member of the veterinary medical profession, I solemnly swear that I will use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society.
I will strive to:
· promote animal health and welfare,
· prevent and relieve animal suffering,
· protect the health of the public and the environment, and
· advance comparative medical knowledge.
I will perform my professional duties conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
I will strive continuously to improve my professional knowledge and competence and to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards for myself and the profession."
So, it should go without saying, that no matter what their opinions are, they should always put the animal first. However, sometimes a professional opinion is quite different than a personal one, and one must of course understand that veterinarians have regulations and government standards to be kept at, what I am trying to say here is that no matter what their intentions are, their hands are tied when it comes to certain things and that is not their fault. YOU as the pet guardian must understand this, and ask yourself, “Is my vet just doing his/her job?”. At the end of the day, your animal(s) belong to you, and the choices you make for them belong to you.
Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the most important part of pet ownership.
At the end of the day, one must like and trust the person they are giving their business to, especially when it comes to family health, and your pets’ health should be no exception.
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.