Veterinary care is an important part of your dog’s life. Routine care can prevent illnesses, catch serious problems early, and keep your dog safe and healthy. However, traveling to a veterinary clinic can cause a lot of extra stress for both you and your dog. Veterinary home and virtual visits are alternatives growing in popularity that may help. Here’s everything you need to know to determine if a veterinary home visit is right for your dog.
What are veterinary home visits and virtual visits?
A home visit is when a veterinarian travels to your home to examine and care for your pet. This can be done in several ways, including direct visits inside your home or via a mobile clinic parked in your driveway. Your vet will bring with them any needed supplies to perform exams, basic procedures, and routine care.
Virtual visits are completely online visits, occurring either through email, webcam, or web chats. While these aren’t actual exams, they can help bridge the gap in veterinary care by answering questions about routine care, triage, and medications. Virtual visits can also be used to refill prescription medications or to check up on a recovering pet without having to bring them into the clinic again.
Are home visits right for my dog?
Veterinary home visits are great for many reasons. If you have a shy or nervous dog that is easily stressed, a home visit can reduce that anxiety by allowing your dog to stay in a familiar place. This may also make it easier for you to administer anxiety meds or sedatives and monitor your dog in a home environment before the vet arrives.
Home visits are also great for people with disabilities or who may not be able to leave the home. It can reduce the stress of finding a ride or having a nervous dog on public transportation. In addition, chronic conditions such as subcutaneous fluids used to treat kidney disease or laser therapies for arthritis can be managed more easily without having to travel to the clinic several times per week.
How to find a home visit or virtual visit veterinarian
Many veterinary clinics are starting to add home visit or virtual visit options to their established practice. If you already have a vet, it’s a good idea to contact them first to see what services they offer. They may be able to provide virtual services through an app. These can offer medication refills, reminders, or rechecks. Your vet may also offer basic at-home services.
If your vet doesn’t offer these options, looking at local listings of home care or mobile vets is a great next step. Be sure to thoroughly check what services they offer. Some vets only offer basics such as examinations and vaccinations. Others may have a wider variety of options including basic surgical procedures. It’s also important to call and ask questions about licensing, business practices, and treatment options to ensure your dog gets safe and appropriate care.
While still in its infancy, veterinary home visits and virtual visits are a great alternative for nervous or anxious pets. If you’re looking for more information about veterinary services, check out our complete guide to vet visit costs for dog owners. And, be sure to check out the top five steps to take when choosing a vet.