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Choosing A Veterinary Practice

Most pet owners only consider a vet necessary when their pet is sick, but a good vet can provide much more. In fact, a vet is essential in helping you to care for your pet whether it is sick or healthy as they can offer specialist advice on everything from choosing a pet to the best types of food and exercise for a pet.

In an ideal world you should find a vet in your area before you buy your pet, whether it is a cat, dog, bird, fish or hamster, and you should take your new pet for a general health check as soon as possible after buying the pet. Because your vet is someone very important to the welfare of your pet it is important that you feel comfortable with your choice of vet, and confident that they can meet the needs of your pet.

So when it comes to choosing a veterinary surgeon there are a few things you should take into consideration, and here we tell you what they are:

Is the veterinary practice accredited? The first thing you should check when choosing a veterinary surgery is whether it is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). In January 2005 the RCVS launched the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme, which accredits veterinary practices according to the services and specialities they offer. Every accredited practice undergoes an inspection by a qualified inspector every few years, and between inspections, surgeries could also be subject to spot checks.

This scheme establishes a quality assurance framework to promote and maintain the highest standard of veterinary care throughout the UK, so choosing an accredited practice will give you peace of mind that your pet is getting the best possible care.


Use the listing section to help you locate veterinary practices in your area to care for your pet. You might feel the need to seek recommendations from family and friends who have pets and therefore use the services of local veterinary surgeries, which you will find in our listings section. Fellow pet owners can be a great resource, especially if they have the same type of pet as you do. So, ask around and if the same veterinary surgery comes up repeatedly, that's a good sign. If you have just relocated to a new area then use our listings section to help you find veterinary practices in your area. Alternately you can contact your local RSPCA and they should be able to offer some good recommendations of some vets in the area, which we can help you find through our listings section

Is the veterinary practice close enough to your home? It is worth choosing a veterinary clinic that is close to your home so you can get there quickly in case there is an emergency. You will not want to drive far with a sick or injured pet in the car as the journey could make them worse, so look for the best veterinary practice within a couple of miles of your home.

Are the surgeryís hours compatible with your hours? Unfortunately, if you have to make special arrangements to take time off work to take your pet to the vet, the chances are your pet will not get the right care when it needs it. Luckily, many vets now open earlier or later so you can go before or after work, and it is worth checking that the surgeries you are considering offer this service.

Do they offer 24-hour emergency care?

You never know when your pet is going to get sick so it is worth checking that the veterinary surgery you are considering offers 24-hour emergency care, just in case the worst happens at night or at the weekend. If your local surgery does not have round the clock emergency care then find out the nearest veterinary surgery that does and check you can contact them, even if your pet is not registered with them.

Visit the surgery

You can learn a lot about the standards and practices of a veterinary surgeon just by visiting their clinic. Therefore it is worth arranging a visit to a few of the veterinary surgeries in your area before you register with one. Check that the surgery is clean and tidy, consider whether the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, and ask yourself whether you feel comfortable in the vetís presence.

Of course, the cost of veterinary care is an important consideration for many people when they are choosing a veterinary practice, so ask the receptionist for an up-to-date cost sheet from each place that you visit.

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