When moving abroad with pets, one of the most important things you should do is find a new veterinarian. This search can sometimes be difficult, so a good first step is to ask local people you already know, or your new neighbors, for a recommendation. (This will also help you make your first connections in your newly chosen home country.)
One of the first things to check out is if a clinic has any special certifications, proving that they adhere to certain standards. Also, be sure that they offer the services you need, be it boarding, grooming or surgical services. Another important issue is location, as you should ideally choose a clinic close to your house, in case help is needed on short notice. In addition, a good idea is to check whether your vet provides emergency services.
Once you choose a clinic, and before visiting, you may want to make a phone call, to make further enquiries. Here are several useful questions that you can ask:
- What types of animals do you treat?
- How long have you been in practice?
- How many vets do you have on staff?
- How long have the vets been practicing?
- Do you provide emergency services?
- Do you have specialists on staff? If not, do you work with other practices?
- How many technicians do you have on staff and how long have they worked there?
- What services do you offer?
- How much do your services cost?
- What are your working hours? Do you work on weekends?
- Will you provide a tour of your facilities?
Once you decide to visit the clinic, pay attention to the atmosphere. The reception itself should reflect professionalism and good organization. A good sign is if the clinic is very busy and if staff is attentive to its clients. Look around for any thank you cards, brochures, information bulletins or newspaper clippings. Also, if there are any clients waiting, talk to them and check if they were satisfied with the service.
Consider these points whilst looking around:
– Is the place hectic?
– Is the place clean?
– How does the staff seem to treat the clients and their pets?
– How would your pet react to this place?
– How do you react to this place?
– Are people friendly and knowledgeable?
It may take visits to a number of vets before you find one you are comfortable with, but do take the time – you want to know your pet will have the best care possible.