Our focus, as members of the pet care industry, is and always will be the well-being of our animals. Whether you’re a store owner or breeder, wholesaler or supply expert, everything we do is in service to the animals that we care for and their loving owners.
However, our care alone – no matter how much of an expert we might be – is not necessarily sufficient. Instead, the most important person to a pet may be its veterinarian, and any pet industry retailer worth their salt should give heavy consideration to establishing a relationship with their local veterinarians.
Given this, we decided to take the opportunity to speak to one of our favorite vets, Dr. Michael Brown, DVM, for some general advice on what to look for while on the hunt for a new veterinarian.
Retailers and Veterinarians
He reiterated the importance of veterinarians within the pet industry, stating that every pet retailer should “have a veterinarian on staff that is experienced with all the animals that the retailer has for sale. Answers to questions are just a phone call away and, if needed, an office call or on-site visit can be scheduled to diagnose and treat the problem.”
The current level of care that veterinarians are providing to companion animals is nothing short of astounding. According to Dr. Brown, these advances have disseminated to the point where even the most esoteric treatments have become much easier to come by.
“Many states have veterinary schools where the latest therapies are available,” he explained. “Most major cities have 24-hour care and specialists available for surgery, ophthalmology, neurology, dermatology and oncology, complete with CT scans, MRIs and even physical therapy.”
Further, developments in care have resulted in numerous new preventative health options for pets.
“New and effective antibiotics, flea and tick control, control of allergies, safe vaccinations, heartworm control and prescription diets all have been improved, just to name a few,” Dr. Brown continued. “All of these advances have resulted in healthier and longer lives for all of our pets.”
Making the Right Match
Even with advances in veterinary medicine and in frequency of vets, finding the right veterinarian for a pet retailer remains a challenge. While proximity is certainly an important factor – a nearby vet can respond more quickly to emergency situations and might be more available at a given moment – it should not be the only factor to consider. The relationship between veterinarian and retailer is a priority that should not be underestimated. Retailers who find a veterinarian that they can maintain a positive, friendly working relationship with have found a real treasure.
“Look for vets who obviously enjoy working with animals and can handle and examine them in a confident manner,” Dr. Brown explains. “A good vet should listen carefully to what a pet owner has to say, before diagnosing the problem and recommending treatment options.”
Further, veterinary specialties should come into play when making the final decision on a potential partnership. If a pet store focuses on birds or reptiles, its owner should look for a veterinarian who specializes in those sorts of animals or even the specific species.
We would be remiss to discuss finding a new veterinarian without addressing the elephant in the room that is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although vaccination dissemination has increased significantly, a good veterinarian and staff should be adhering to local, state and federal pandemic guidelines as the pet care industry works toward a full reopening. While many veterinarians have elected to minimize contact with clients, either working via online systems or site drop-off, Dr. Brown and his colleagues have been able to maintain in-person visits, using a standard combination of six-foot social distancing, hand washing and thorough sanitization.
In the end, the relationship that pet retailers develop with their veterinarians sets the tone for the health of our companion animals for years to come. A pet store owner who partners with a quality veterinarian and maintains a great working relationship with them will ensure that the store is able to provide healthy, happy animals to its customers for years to come.