I am sure we are all guilty of taking our pets to the veterinarian for either their yearly vaccinations or some kind of issue and we go along with whatever the vet says and don’t ask many questions. Well, much like human doctors, vets have many different styles and opinions about how to handle pet health, when to medicate, when to not medicate, or just general needs of your pet. There are important questions that everyone should ask their vet on a routine visit or for a specific issue so that you can make sure your vets views are consistent with that of what you want for your fur baby.
- Who can I contact if my pet has an emergency? What if your pet has an issue in the middle of the night and your vet isn’t a 24-hour facility? Do you know what you should do? If your vet isn’t a 24-hour facility and you take your vet to the animal hospital you could face an emergency fee upwards of $200 if you aren’t a regular client. Sometimes these fees are reduced or waved if you use a 24-hour hospital as your regular vet. Or, if your vet is not a 24-hour facility they sometimes will have an agreement with a 24-hour hospital, which allows for you to be assured that they will have your pet’s info and sometimes the emergency fee will be reduced. If you don’t ask these questions before your pet has an emergency, you may not know the most affordable, or safest, emergency option for your pet.
- What if you have a non-emergency question that can be answered over phone or email? I was oblivious to the fact that some veterinarians charge for clients who call or email with questions about their pet. I can call my vet during business hours (or email them) and ask them any non-serious general question about my pet’s health (he has a weird red bump but acting normal, etc.) and they will answer it or let me know if they think I should bring him in. Some people get charged for this! Before they can even ask the question! I find this to be unbelievable and I highly recommend asking your vet about their process in answering questions over the phone or via email.
- Why does my pet need this and are there any alternatives we can consider? I go to a veterinary clinic with multiple doctors who all have different styles. The first vet I had at the clinic was clearly an over-prescriber. Anytime my dog had an issue he would get 3 medications – all of which were expensive. I spoke with the people at the front desk and expressed concern that the doctor may be over-prescribing. They then referred me to another doctor at the facility whose philosophy involves less medication – and we seem to be a better fit. She advised me that when a vet prescribes your pet medication to ask what, specifically, each medication is for (some can be for symptoms your dog isn’t having, and therefore, unnecessary) and if there are any alternatives (or home remedies). She also stressed that you should always feel the power to decline any medication, xray or service. Although they will recommend what they think is best for your pet, you are the ultimate decision-maker.