Avoiding the Doghouse: Choosing the Right Vet for Your Pet

Avoiding the Doghouse: Choosing the Right Vet for Your Pet

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a formal investigation into the veterinary market amid concerns that pet owners may be overpaying for pet care and treatments. Many pet owners have reported high bills that are difficult to manage and confusion about treatment options.

In response, Axel Lagercrantz, CEO of Pets4Homes, the UK’s leading pet rehoming marketplace, offers advice on finding the right vet for your pet and tips on maintaining your pet’s health.

1. Visit the Practice Before You Register

Most veterinary practices will accommodate a request for a tour and are flexible with timing. During your visit, check the cleanliness and organization of the facilities, especially the prep and operating rooms. Ask about the staff’s experience and interests, and examine the kennel and isolation areas to ensure pets are kept in a comfortable and well-organized environment.

2. Learn About Facilities and Specialties

Inquire about the services provided by the practice. Check if they offer facilities such as X-rays, ultrasounds, in-house blood testing equipment, 24-hour emergency care, and alternative therapies like acupuncture. If you travel with your pet, also verify if the practice can issue a pet passport.

3. Check for Accreditation

Around 50% of veterinary surgeries in the UK are part of the RCVS practice standards scheme. These practices are inspected every four years, with intermittent spot checks, to assess hygiene, staff training, basic equipment, and emergency provisions. Choosing an accredited practice demonstrates accountability and a commitment to quality.

4. Ask About Prices

The cost of vaccinations or general health checks can vary significantly between practices. Ask to see a price list before you register your pet.

It's acceptable to switch practices if you are unhappy with the service. However, inform both your former and current surgeries to keep your pet’s medical records up to date. Avoid registering your pet at multiple practices to prevent paperwork issues in case of illness or injury.

Top Tips to Keep Your Pet Healthy and Reduce Vet Bills

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is crucial for your pet's well-being. For cats, who are obligate carnivores, this should include wet food with a high meat content, providing essential nutrition and water. Dogs thrive on a mixed diet of both wet and dry food or a carefully researched raw food diet. Avoid feeding them human food, as it can lead to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies.

2. Ensure Adequate Exercise

Dogs require different amounts of exercise based on their age, breed, and health. Most need at least a brisk walk daily to stay mentally and physically stimulated. Outdoor cats usually get their exercise independently, but indoor cats may need encouragement through play or even walks.

3. Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Dental care is particularly important for cats. Start brushing your cat's teeth from a young age to prevent future dental issues. There are dental toys and treats available for both cats and dogs to help maintain their dental health.

4. Provide Plenty of Love

Giving your pet ample care and affection is vital for fostering a strong bond, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing their overall well-being. Love and attention offer mental stimulation and emotional security, encouraging positive behavior and trust. This affection ensures pets feel valued and happy, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life for them.

Alessandra Pacelli

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