When it comes to your pet’s health, safety, and behavior, a good veterinarian is your very best resource. A good vet will comfort and advise, provide diagnoses, treatment plans, and prescriptions. But take note if your vet engages in any of the seven poor practices below -- they may be signs that it’s time for a breakup.
1. Overcharge You for Medication
Your pet’s health is your vet’s top priority, but that may mean that your budget isn’t a factor in their medication decisions. Ask your vet to discuss cost as part of any treatment plan. In particular, be on the lookout when your vet provides medication through their office, and make sure a price hike isn’t part of this service.
When prescribing medications, your vet should discuss your numerous options for filling the prescription, such as reputable online pharmacies, so that you can choose what makes the most sense for you and your pet.
2. Limit Prescription Food Options
There are many varieties of prescription foods available for cats and dogs. Many major pet food companies, like Hill’s and Purina, have prescription foods available. It may take some time to hit on the best option for your pet, and your vet should be open to your exploration of that process -- not steer you aggressively toward one option over another without medical reason.
3. Give Your Pet Unnecessary Vaccinations
Be wary if your vet requires annual booster shots, since the latest research states that the majority of booster shots are required every three years or so, and not annually. Your vet may think of vaccination reminders as a good way to make sure you keep your annual appointment, but unnecessary shots are not a good idea for your pet’s health, or your budget.
4. Be Unwilling to Talk About Alternative and Holistic Options
A holistic vet will approach your pet’s condition or sickness by looking beyond the individual symptoms and treating the whole pet. Alternative medications and treatments are options beyond prescription drugs and traditional western medicine that may help to solve a pet’s sickness -- for instance, the use of acupuncture or herbal remedies. Your vet may primarily want to treat with prescriptions and surgery, but should be open to discussion of other treatment options as well, which are sometimes less invasive and cheaper.
5. Keep Your Pet Overnight Without Checking In
Your vet should not keep your cat or dog overnight in their office without having someone check in on them. If your pet is going to be staying over, ask how the staff handles check-ins and midnight emergencies.
6. Fail to Ease Your Pet’s Experience
Most likely, a visit to the vet is not your cat or dog’s favorite activity -- and that’s putting it mildly! Many cats yowl in distress, and dogs may also feel frantic in this unfamiliar environment. Your pet’s discomfort may be somewhat inevitable, but how your vet responds is not; your vet should do everything possible to make your pet comfortable and ease the situation. If your vet responds to distress as though there is nothing to be done, that’s a warning sign, and you may want to consider switching doctors.
7. Fail to Explain Clearly
Whether your pet has a minor rash or a cancer diagnosis, your vet will need to come up with a treatment plan. But clear and actionable communication, whether it’s about a major or minor situation, is vital. If your vet can’t explain what’s happening to your cat or dog using language you can understand, along with the available treatment options, they are failing at a major part of their job. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand clear answers.
More on Finding a Good Veterinarian
How to Find the Right Vet
The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.