Selecting a Veterinarian for Your Goldendoodle
Your veterinarian is one of your most important partners in the health and care of your dog. We suggest you bring this list with you for your first vet visit to share with your vet.
If you don’t already have a veterinarian, one of your best resources is referrals from people you know who have pets.
Some good questions to answer about potential vets include:
Is the practice in a location convenient to you?
Are their hours convenient for your schedule?
Do they offer after hours or emergency services? If not, get a referral for an after-hours or emergency vet BEFORE you have an emergency
Decisions should not be based on cost, but make sure your vet is affordable to you. Also make sure that when they quote prices, those prices are inclusive of other costs. Some vets will quote you a price for a service, but when you go to pay the bill you may find that the price has doubled because they added on a whole slew of other items.
Does the vet accept your pet insurance plan?
What range of services does the vet provide?
Does the vet offer non-medical services like grooming, boarding, or training? These aren’t necessary, but for some families are an added convenience.
Is the clinic accepting new clients?
Will you be allowed to speak directly to a vet if you feel you need to? Some vets won’t call back for a few days, others within 2-3 hours.
Schedule an appointment to view the facility and meet some of the staff. Some things to look for:
Are there potty areas for the dogs? Are they clean and well-maintained?
Is the facility clean and organized?
Is there an unpleasant odor?
Is the clinic relatively peaceful or is it chaotic and noisy?
Is there ample room for pets to wait safely and separately, if desired, or are all waiting patients in one small area and on top of each other.
Are you allowed to remain with your dog during treatment? Simple procedures such as vaccines, blood draws, and ultrasounds should be easy to do with you there. Others, such as x-rays and surgical procedures require your dog to go with clinic staff.
Did you feel welcomed in the clinic and did the staff answer your questions to your satisfaction?
Did you feel comfortable asking questions?
One reason we suggest getting a referral for a vet is that, while most vets are wonderful people and clinicians, there are enough out there who over treat, over prescribe, and do everything they can to gouge clients for money. In particular, we have noticed this with the larger chain clinics. For example, a good vet will know when they can save you money by prescribing an inexpensive over the counter product versus a costly prescription product, or to take a conservative wait-and-see approach when appropriate. Some conditions will self-resolve, and as long as waiting for a short while isn’t dangerous, then why not wait to see if a condition will resolve itself.
A good example of this is puppy vaginitis. Most cases of puppy vaginitis will self-resolve by your puppy’s first heat cycle. You want to have a vet available to monitor this situation and prescribe treatment if necessary, but usually treatment isn’t necessary, just good surveillance. So when you ask your friends about a vet they are referring, see if you can determine if the vet helps their clients make good choices that are also cost-effective, or if they are one of those vets that will just rack up the bill.
We recently heard of an example of this from another breeder who sent a puppy to the family a few months back. The dog had runny eyes from allergies, and had an ear infection because the family wasn’t doing ear maintenance. The family spent almost $1,000 on an over-the-top treatment protocol that probably could have been handled with some Benadryl or a similar OTC antihistamine and a good ear cleaner, dietary change, and possibly some antibiotics if the ear infection was bad enough.
Once you find a vet, you are the paying client, so ask questions. It’s not at all unreasonable to ask questions that include:
Is there a less expensive treatment option?
If prescribed a medication, is there a less expensive medication or over-the-counter option?
What would happen if we decide not to move forward with the treatment?
Definitely, definitely, definitely, take care of your puppy. But realize that in every walk of life there are people who will take advantage of you, and pet care is no exception.