Choosing the right veterinary practice for you and your pets is a really important decision to make. There are a lot of factors to think about to help make the best choice. We are often asked "what is the best vets near me?" There is no best practice, only the best practice for you and your pet. Different practices suit different needs.
Vets must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to work and practise in the UK. Qualified vets should have the initials MRCVS or FRCVS after their names. You can check if your vet is registered on the RCVS website: www.findavet.rcvs.org.uk.
You can also check if the practice is part of The practice standards scheme. This is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices. The aim is to maintain high levels of care using regular inspections and spot checks.
Personal recommendations and word of mouth can be a really useful. They are a way to find out about other pet owner’s opinions and experiences of vets in your area. Consider all your options. Be open minded however, about whether their pets needs are similar to what you are looking for in a vet.
Location is a really important factor to consider. When your pet needs to see a vet quickly in an emergency, can you get to the vets direct and in a quick and safe way? If you don’t drive then it is a good idea to know how you would get to the vets and if local taxi companies are happy to transport pets. If you do drive then it’s useful to find out if the practice has its own car park or nearby parking.
Does the practice’s opening hours and appointment times suit your needs? Some practices might open later in the evening or have weekend appointments available. Some practices may have more than one branch that you may be required to travel to.
It’s also advisable to find out the practice’s out of hours provision and whether it would suit your needs in an emergency. Do they provide their own 24 hour cover in their building or do they have an external provider to facilitate this?
Does your pet require specialist or unusual treatment? Some vets may be more specialised or experienced in certain areas or species.
Prices can vary from practice to practice depending on various factors including location and facilities offered.
Some practices can offer health plans where you can pay a monthly direct debit which may include discounts and preventative health care treatments such as vaccinations and parasite control.
It can be useful to know if practices are able to provide estimates for treatment and procedures needed.
Vet practices should be happy to deal with pet insurance companies and some may be able to claim directly depending on their individual policies.
Visit the practice.
It can be a good idea to visit the practice yourself to see what your first impression is. You might be able to have a conversation with the reception staff and see if they are friendly and knowledgeable about the practice.
Some clinics may offer separate cat and dog waiting areas if you have a nervous pet.
Don't forget that while we are not here to replace your veterinary practice we can offer online vet help and advice. Sometimes being able to ask a vet online can save you unnecessary out of hours journey to your practice. Our veterinary team are available 24/7 to help when you need them most.