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.