How to Choose the Right Veterinarian

Finding the right veterinarian for your dog is a process, and it may take a bit of time before you find someone who is a good fit for both of you. Ideally, you’ll want to find someone who will be part of your pet’s life for a long time and will be providing care for a number of years.

Choose the Right Veterinarian

  1. Start by finding possible candidates.

Ask friends, relatives, relatives, neighbors and co-workers who have dogs where they go for veterinary care and if they would recommend their doctor.

Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website, enter your zip code and click on “Find a Veterinariran” to find a doctor in your area. You can also look up veterinarians in your area online to check out their websites to see what kinds of services they offer.

Go to a local pet store or shelter and ask the staff if they can suggest the names of some doctors you could contact. Ask for a suggestion as opposed to a recommendation and the other person is not put on the spot. Explain that you are interested in interviewing a few candidates before you make your choice.

  1. Make sure the veterinarians you are considering are accredited.

Check to ensure that they have met the standards set by the American Animal Hospital Association. It means that a veterinary hospital has voluntarily met the Association’s standards for equipment, facility and quality of care.

Veterinary specialists should be board certified. This means the vet has completed an additional two-four years of study in his or her specialty area and passed an exam.

  1. Make an appointment for a wellness check for your dog.

Your evaluation of the veterinarian should start as soon as you contact his or her office.

  • Are the staff friendly and helpful?
  • Is the office open during hours that are convenient for you?
  • Is the parking convenient?
  • How long do you have to wait to see the vet? Does he or she practice alone or in a group?
  • When you get to the appointment, make note of the general condition of the facility. Is it clean and comfortable for you and your dog?
  • Are there technicians or veterinary assistants on staff?
  1. Observe how the vet interacts with your dog during the exam.
  • Does he or she take some time to pet and reassure your dog before starting the exam proper?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking questions, and are they answered completely?
  • Does the vet provide extra tips about diet and exercise for your dog at the well visit?
  • What kinds of services does the veterinarian offer?
  • Which emergency services are available?
  • Does the vet do blood work, X-rays, EKG, ultrasound and other diagnostics in house or do you need to see a specialist?
  • Can you have your dog boarded, if necessary?
  1. Do the vet’s fees fit your budget?

Some vets will offer a discount to seniors or families with multiple pets, so do ask whether this is the case.


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