Have you ever considered using house call veterinarians for your pet? They seem to be growing in popularity, and are available now to treat pets in more locations than ever before. When we still lived in the city, for many years I kept the contact info of a house call vet. I never actually called them, though. Our regular vet was awesome and only a few blocks away from our apartment. When we moved in 2019, way out to the middle of nowhere, I was surprised to find out that there’s a house call veterinarian that serves our new location too.
A house call veterinarian is a veterinarian who, often accompanied by an assistant or technician, travels to your home to provide your pet with medical care. Many owners will have heard of at home euthanasia. That is just one of many services that a house call veterinarian can provide. House call veterinarians are sometimes also referred to as mobile vets.
Is a House Call Veterinarian Right for You and Your Pet?
I put together a list of some of the pros and cons associated with mobile vets to help you decide…
Pros of Using a House Call Veterinarian:
- Convenience – Mobile vets can be amazing for people who, for any reason, have difficulty traveling to take their pet to see a vet. Whether you don’t drive, have mobility issues, or don’t have a regular vet that’s close to you, a mobile can be a convenient option. They can also make life easier if you have a pet that’s difficult to transport, like one that is elderly, sick, has mobility issues, gets stressed during car rides, or is too large to transport easily.
- Less Stress – For some pets, spending time in an animal hospital is stressful. A stressed out pet oftentimes leads to a stressed out owner. Mobile vets can provide veterinary care in the comfort of your own home!
- More Accurate Observation – How many times has this happened to you? You notice your pet has a health issue, such as a limp. You make an appointment with your vet, and as soon as you walk into the office your pet is suddenly perfectly fine. How frustrating! Your vet can, of course, take a guess at what might be wrong. But without being able to witness the issue it can be hard to offer an accurate diagnosis. Having your vet visit your home can not only allow your vet to more accurately observe your pet’s behavior, but seeing his/her home environment can sometimes offer important clues to what might be wrong with a sick pet.
- Easier to Treat Multiple Pets – This is one that would be a big pro for me. I have two dogs. I hate taking them both to the vet at the same time. My older dog, Kitsune, loves going to the vet and wants to run around and say hello to everyone. My younger dog, Fenrir, is shy and fearful around people he doesn’t know well. Managing two dogs with such different personalities in a busy vet waiting room is not a fun task. For that reason, I take my dogs to the vet separately. Utilizing the services of a mobile veterinarian can be a great way to have multiple pets seen at once, without having to worry as much about how you’re going to keep them all comfortable.
- Fostering a Stronger Relationship with your Vet – Mobile vet practices are usually a far cry from large, impersonal, city vet practices. While large, highly advanced, vet hospitals have their place, there’s really something to be said for being able to form a relationship with your vet.
Cons of Using a House Call Veterinarian:
- Cost – House call veterinarians can be, understandably so, more expensive than traditional vets. You’ll not only be paying for whatever medical services your pet requires, but additional fees to help cover the vet’s transportation costs. Because they have to spend time driving from house to house, mobile vets are not usually able to see very many patients a day. This may lead to them having to charge more per patient.
- Scheduling Issues – House call veterinarians will probably not be your best option during an emergency. They have to strictly schedule out their routes each day. House call vets don’t have very flexible schedules. If your pet is sick or injured, you’ll probably have to take them to an emergency clinic.
- Limited Services and Treatment Options – Mobile vets can provide many services in the comfort of your home. But they can’t do everything. If your pet needs more advanced diagnostics, such as x-rays, house call vets will often refer you to a local brick and mortar location. They may be able to do things such as take blood for blood work or skin scrapings. However, since they can’t run tests in your home you’re not going to get immediate results. If your pet requires a complex treatment such as surgery, a house call vet will usually either have you travel to their physical clinic (if they have one) or refer you to another veterinarian.
- More Stress for Some Pets – Being seen in their own home could be more stressful for some pets. It really depends on the pet. Some dogs, for example, get upset or overly excited when new people enter their home.
What do you think? Have you ever used a house call veterinarian? If not, would you ever consider using one?
I’ve yet to use a mobile vet for my own dogs. In all the places I’ve lived in since getting dogs, I’ve been lucky to have amazing vets pretty close by. I like the idea of taking my dogs to a more full service vet. But I can see why using a house call veterinarian would be an excellent option for some owners. I won’t write off the possibility that I’d be open to using one myself at some point in the future.
Thanks for sharing this, its great 🙂
Great information. During COVID, I had a travelling vet come to the house to put down my beloved Siamese Cat. It was so much better than going into the regular vet’s office, plus I would have had to leave him and the door and say good-bye without being with him in his last moments. I would definitely go the travelling route vet for this.
I’m so sorry about your cat! I can totally see the draw of using house call vets when it comes to euthanasia. Especially during Covid, I can’t imagine having to have a beloved animal put down without being able to be there with them.
Great post and I prefer going to the vet as they have everything on site plus my vet is open 24/7. I am also blessed to be able to email my vet with questions before running to him as he in the email will give me his input which really helps. I would not use travelling vet and am not even sure if there are any in my city
Makes sense! Everyone has their preferences. That must bring a lot of peace of mind to have a vet that’s open 24/7. We have emergency vets here that are open all the time, but my regular vet has limited hours. It’s always frustrating when something happens when they are closed, then I have to decide if I want to travel to the emergency vet or wait until our regular vet opens again.
I wish we had mobile vets but New Zealand is so small I am not sure it would be worth a vet’s while. Your view is a very balanced one though and I am glad you add the advantages and the disadvantages because it is too easy to dismiss things in favour of a personal opinion.
People need to remember that not everyone has access to a car, or is able to negotiate public transport and for them, the option for house calls is a great idea. My mum was disabled and had to have help getting her cat to the vet – a mobile vet would have been a real blessing.
I did a quick search and it looks like there are mobile vets in New Zealand, although you’d have to research what areas they cover and what services they provide. You might be surprised! We live in a very rural area with a low population and I was surprised to find we have a very highly rated mobile vet that serves our area.
Excellent post! As an RVT I’m a huge fan of house-call vets – especially for senior pet wellness visits. For older dogs with limited mobility, many options like acupuncture, laser therapy, and herbal therapies can be done in the comfort of home without the strain of getting in/out of the car. House-call vets are also a great option for post-operative rechecks on things like cruciate ligament injuries or surgeries where travel may impede the healing process.
I can totally see how house call vets would be awesome for senior visits! Thankfully I’m not at the point with my own senior where he has any major mobility issues. He’s also small, which I think makes it easier to travel with him. I think a mobile vet could be awesome especially for larger senior dogs, animals with any type of mobility issues, and for sure for things you mentioned where travel may do more harm than good.
I had a mobile vet for years with my horses. My one mobile vet, was the best vet I’ve ever found. She did my whole crew when she’d swing by, even though they weren’t all horses (dog, cats, goat..). In fact, she was less expensive and more common sense with her approach than any regular brick and mortar vet I’ve found. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. I had a very bad mobile vet when my regular one was on vacation. So, like with everything, not all are created equal.
For sure! It’s SO important to find a vet that you vibe well with and that works well with your individual animals. I’m so picky when it comes to selecting vets for Kit and Fen, I’ve gone through a few over the years that I decided to stop seeing for one reason or another. I’m sure that would happen with mobile vets as well as your more traditional brick and mortar vets.
We have always said that when it is time to say goodbye to our beloved pets, we would like it to be in the comfort of their own home, with their family by their side. The sudden and tragic circumstances of Reese’s demise made that impossible. We were not prepared for that day and were unable to schedule the appointment. I think it’s great there are more of these services available and in more locations.
It seems like a lot of people use, or plan to use, house call vets when it comes time to saying goodbye to their beloved pets. I’m so sorry about Reese, and that you were not able to schedule an appointment to say goodbye the way you wanted too. It’s unfortunate that oftentimes these things do come so unexpectedly.
I have never used a mobile veterinarian, but my grandparents used to use one for their dogs. They had 2 big Saint Bernards and it was difficult to load them both into the car at the same time. I remember being amazed that their vet came to their home. Great comparison of the services! I didn’t really even think about how limited the schedule might be for a mobile vet.
Thank you! I can imagine having a vet come to you when you have two large dogs would be way easier. It always feels like a car-full even when I just have my two small dogs with me, lol.
You made a great list of pros and cons. House call vets are a great option for those that are disabled or have trouble with mobility too. One of the services offered to be performed in the home includes euthanasia. Many don’t realize it’s an option at all. But it’s a good one to consider if one needs to help their pet transition in the comfort of their own home. I wish I knew about that option when my cat passed away.
Yes! It seems like euthanasia is the biggest reason why people utilize house call vets. I love that this option exists, as for so many pets traveling to a vet’s office can be a very stressful experience.
I’ve had friends use mobile vets for their dog who was highly dog aggressive. It was so much less stressful to have the vet come to them than to risk an incident bringing their dog to a clinic. Especially when some owners let their dogs try to approach others without asking first.
That’s a really good reason for using a house call vet! I’ve totally dealt with people letting their dogs approach mine while we’ve been waiting in the waiting room. Usually it’s not a huge deal for us, but I remember being worried a few times when I was taking Kit in when he was really not feeling well. Even normally very friendly dogs oftentimes don’t want to deal with other dogs when they are in pain or ill.
Yes, we have used a house-call veterinarian for one of my dogs. She was an integrative vet and a chiropractor, and it was a great advantage. The additional cost wasn’t very bad because she traveled all over and always combined visits in the same area–the extra cost with her was $35 which was well worth it for our circumstances. And because of her specialties, she had everything she needed so it made no difference in treatment and diagnostic options between house visits and clinic visits.
That’s awesome! You’re right, $35 is not bad at all.
I personally have never used a house call vet due to the fact that we have a regular vet that we absolutely LOVE, however, I do have the number for one on my fridge. Due to the fact that my husband and I moved from one small town here to another, we now have a (short) drive to take if we want to continue going to our original vet (which we do). I work from home and we are a one-vehicle house, so there’s always the concern that I am going to need to get ahold of someone without being able to make that drive.
I’m the same way – both before and after we moved we were SO lucky to find vets that we like and that work well with Kit and Fen. It’s just easier now to keep taking them to a vet that’s familiar with them rather than starting over with someone new. How funny – I also work from home and my partner and I have just one car. My partner also works from home now, though, so I don’t have to worry too much about not having access to the car if we had to make an emergency trip to the vet.