It has been revealed that vet practices are some of the most profitable types of small business in the UK. Even more profitable it would appear than financial advisers. The success is partly down to advances in veterinary medicine and partly because more people are more willing to do more for their pets' health. Here are 8 ways you can make sure you get the best value for money from your vet.
Find A Good Vet
It sounds rather simplistic, but given that vets can charge what they want to, it is essential that you ensure that your vet is delivering the best care and service possible. Don't just open the Yellow Pages and find the vet that is nearest to your house. Shop around, speak to other pet owners and make sure you're happy and comfortable with your vet before giving them your business and putting the care of your dog in their hands.
As with any profession, levels of skill and experience will vary, so do not make the mistake of assuming all vets deliver a uniform, industry approved standard of service.
Explore Online Medication
One of the biggest expenses a dog owner will face is paying for medication. The vet will charge a fee for his or her time, but that does not necessarily mean that you have to buy your medication direct from the clinic. There are numerous online services that cut out the middle man and supply pet medication direct to your door. Always ensure that you know what it is you're buying and take advice.
Get A Second Opinion
If you are unsure of what your vet tells you, don't be afraid to seek a second opinion. It is very common in the USA for people to do this with their own doctor - in fact it is pretty standard practice in some parts of America for medical professionals to refer people for second opinions and for them to make certain decisions by committee. But it isn't as common in the UK, people seem a lot happier to settle for the first thing they hear.
If you have any doubts, it is advisable to get a second opinion to make sure. This way, you can rest assured that any expenditure you do have is completely necessary. It may cost more in terms of vet fees to get the second opinion, but it may also enable you to make a better decision about treatments.
Practice Good Domestic Health Care
One of the best ways to get the best from your vet is to ensure that you don't see him or her too often. A good diet, plenty of exercise and vigilance where lumps and bumps are concerned are often the difference between a costly course of treatment and a simple, quick and relatively cheap procedure. Delivering optimum nutrition, paying attention to your dog and his behaviour are just two ways you can guarantee that you're doing all you can to promote good health in your pet.
Get Regular Check-Ups
By regular check-ups we don't mean rushing to the vet every time your dog sneezes, once or twice a year should be enough provided you are carrying out your own domestic health care regime with your dog. Catching something early is often the only way to prevent large problems further down the line. Vets are trained to know what to look for and will be more likely to root out any potential illnesses or conditions via something as simple as a blood test or shining a little torch in your dog's eye. Whilst the check-up will cost you, compared to your dog developing an illness undetected and the subsequent expense of treating that, it's a wise investment.
One mistake many dog owners make is that they don't disclose everything they know. If your dog has put on weight because you've been over-feeding or not exercising him enough, come clean. Don't claim that you're stumped for a cause to his weight gain and risk leading the vet down a blind alley where treatment is concerned. The same applies to bumps and scratches. Accidents happen and the vet isn't paid to judge your ability as a dog owner, if you stepped on your dog's paw and he's limping a month later, tell the vet.
It is also essential to be honest when the vet asks about your dog's condition in general. It's often extremely hard to admit to one's self, never mind to the vet, that your dog is in failing health, especially if he's old. But it is always important to give the vet as much information as possible so that he or she can provide the best and most cost effective care.
Don't Feel Guilty For Not Buying Additional Products
Vets make good money from using their trusted reputations to sell other products and services such as dog food and pet insurance. As a reader of K9 Magazine, you know full well that there are other ways to find the best deal on this sort of thing, so don't feel guilty if your vet advises you to try a certain food and you decline.
Even if you only decline in the hope of finding it cheaper elsewhere. On the other hand, don't feel obliged not to make the purchase, it's not a reflection on your ability as a pet owner.
One of the biggest factors influencing the veterinary industry's current good financial health is the increase in uptake of pet insurance. Costly procedures that the average dog owner could not afford ten years ago are now covered by most policies. This is why vets are able to carry out more of these procedures.
Taking out the right policy is just as important as choosing the right vet. Make sure you know what your dog is covered for and that you don't pay for cover on things that are highly unlikely to be needed. Such as public liability insurance for a fourteen year old Chihuahua.
K9 Magazine recommends comparing policies - for some great pet insurance deals visit Insurance4Pets.com