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Mobile pet care services have been around for many years, but with the recent pandemic, these services have increased in popularity. Services such as mobile veterinarians or mobile groomers have brought new conveniences to pet parents. What can you expect from these services, and how do they stand up to traditional in-office visits?
Considering recent events, you are probably familiar with telehealth or telemedicine for yourself, but these virtual services also exist for your cat and dog. Although many people use these two healthcare service terms interchangeably, they have some significant differences.
Telehealth is more of an umbrella term. It can describe any type of healthcare provided remotely with technology.
Telemedicine, on the other hand, is a subcategory of telehealth. With telemedicine, your veterinarian can diagnose a condition and prescribe medication. Telemedicine services can only be provided when you have an existing Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). Otherwise, they can only give general (telehealth) advice.
Though telehealth and telemedicine are convenient and quick, virtual services are typically not recommended in emergency situations. In the case of a crisis, it’s best to take your dog or cat into a physical animal hospital, emergency pet clinic, or their veterinarian’s office. Depending on the situation, it may be best to call ahead, explain the problem, and let them know you are on your way.
Before your telehealth veterinary appointment, it’s best to double-check for any specific requirements. For instance, though most virtual visits can be done on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you may need to ensure that you have a good Wi-Fi connection or service, depending upon your location. Plus, some veterinarians may require you to download a specific app beforehand.
You may still wonder, “Can a televet prescribe flea medicine?” The answer is typically ‘no’ if you do not have an established relationship with this veterinarian. However, suppose you have always visited your veterinarian in-person, and for one check-up, you switch to an online appointment. In that case, your pre-existing relationship means that your veterinarian should be able to prescribe your pet their medications.
Televet pricing will vary based on the veterinarian you see and your pet’s condition. For instance, if your pet is completely healthy and only requires a quick appointment, costs will be kept low. However, if your veterinarian decides that your pet needs an in-office examination and medication as well, then prices will be higher.
As far as a virtual veterinary visit goes, it should be treated the same as if you were in the office. Test your audio and visual beforehand to ensure they are working well, write down any questions or concerns you may have, and take your call in a well-lit and quiet room. Depending upon the health issue you’ll be discussing, it may also be helpful to take some photos of your pet or the specific problem ahead of time.
When it comes to mobile veterinarians, your first question may just be, “What is a mobile veterinarian?” Though it may sound similar to other virtual pet health services, a mobile veterinarian is different from telemedicine, telehealth, and a televet.
Mobile veterinarians are professionals that will come to your house for your pet’s examination. This one-on-one setting in your home is a wonderful option for pets that become incredibly anxious in a traditional veterinary office.
Because these services sound like special treatment, it’s natural that most people question, “Are mobile vets more expensive?” Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question since every business will charge different rates. If your veterinarian doesn’t have a permanent location and only has mobile services, their rates may be lower since their overhead costs will also be lower. Yet, if your veterinarian has mobile services on top of an actual office, then their mobile services may be at an extra charge.
Either way, many pet parents have found that mobile veterinarians are worth the extra cost. Not only is it highly convenient and a big time-saver by having the veterinarian come straight to your home, but it also eliminates the stressful car rides, office setting, and interactions with other animals for your pet.
If you are interested in trying out a mobile veterinarian, you will first want to research what kind of services you’d like. For instance, many veterinarians may just offer a routine examination, vaccinations, and consultations to discuss your dog’s nutrition and cat’s nutrition, their health, weight, and behavior. Depending on the vehicle they drive, others may offer a few more services such as bloodwork, minor dental procedures, or spaying and neutering.
Mobile grooming has been around for years but has recently become more popular, similar to mobile veterinary services. Between the convenience, time-saving factors, and limiting stress for your pet, it’s easy to see why so many people are fans of this mobile option. Not only is this an excellent choice for people with busy schedules, but it can also be helpful if you don’t have access to a car or have limited mobility.
With mobile pet grooming, you can schedule the day and time you’d like your pet to have their appointment, and then the grooming service will come straight to your home and pamper your pet right in their vehicle.
Since mobile grooming is still a newer option for many people, it’s natural that many pet parents have questions. Common ones include:
There is no definitive answer to this question since many factors must be included. Depending on the area you live in and the individual mobile grooming service you choose, the cost can vary significantly. Next, you will need to decide what you want to be included in your cat or dog’s appointment—bath, nail cutting, trimming coat, etc.
Another factor, which will affect dog parents more, is the size of your pet and the thickness of their coat. You can imagine why your dog groomer would charge more for a Saint Bernard appointment than a Beagle appointment.
On average, mobile pet groomers are a more expensive option. To receive this individualized attention and for the sake of convenience, groomers need to charge extra. That said, all prices can vary from one business to another. If cost is a significant factor, don’t hesitate to ask your pet’s groomer if they offer any loyalty rewards or discounts.
There is no golden number on how much you should tip your dog groomer. If you are a long-time, returning customer, you may want to tip a little extra, or if you are thrilled with how your dog was treated and how well they were groomed, you can also tip some more. Some people believe that 15% is a good place to start, and you can vary that amount based on how satisfied you are with the service provided.
Whether you are looking to begin virtual veterinary or mobile grooming appointments, both services have many advantages. However, don’t forget to weigh all your options to determine what will work best for you and your four-legged friend.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
title: On-the-Go Pet Care: Telehealth and Mobile Grooming
author: Emily W.