Dog Care
How to Choose a Veterinarian For Your Dog

How to Choose a Veterinarian For Your Dog

Choosing a veterinarian isn’t always easy. Not only will you want to find someone who has the knowledge and experience to treat your pet, but you will also want to find someone who adores animals and who’s able to get Fido the loving care he deserves!

How to Choose a Veterinarian For Your Dog

With a little work up front, you will be able to find a veterinarian that you will be comfortable with, and one that will be able to serve all of your dog’s long-term needs.

How to Choose a Veterinarian For Your Dog

This may seem like a tedious process but you are talking about a long-term relationship and the care of your fur-baby. It is important for everyone to be comfortable with the decision.

I know some pet owners believe that a visit to a veterinarian is only necessary when a pet is suffering or ill. And while you definitely want to visit a veterinarian when your dog becomes ill or starts to show abnormal symptoms, you should also schedule routine appointments for your pets just like you schedule regular appointments for you and your family to visit the family doctor.

There is no good reason not to give your pets the best care that you possibly can. Many simple problems and sicknesses can be prevented or solved easily by early detection, even in pets, so make it a priority to see your veterinarian regularly. Even for doggie dental care – preventative is far better than dealing with a larger and most costly issue later.

As for service dogs? This is a non-negotiable item. A Vet is needed to keep them up to the task of doing all the great jobs they are trained for. If they aren’t at optimal health, their charge suffers also.

Is this your first pet?

New pet owners should make appointments immediately to see a veterinarian and get a full health check for their new friend. Let your veterinarian teach you all about your new pet. Learn about the best ways to care for your pet, the best food to feed it, the best ways to bathe it, and the levels of activity that are necessary for keeping your pet healthy.

You may be surprised how much there is to learn about each variety of different pets. Whether you have a dog, a cat, a bird, or a horse, I guarantee you that a veterinarian will teach you helpful tips that you didn’t already know.

Here are some tips on how to choose a veterinarian:

How to Choose a Veterinarian: Ask around.

One of the best ways to find a good veterinarian is to start by asking your family members and friends whom themselves own pets. Try asking friends, coworkers, or neighbors who have pets which vets they use for their pets.

Another option is to ask people who have a lot of experience with animals, such as people who work at animal rescues or dog groomers. Word of mouth is a great place to start.

You can also search your local yellow pages under dog hospitals, veterinarians, and animal clinics. Flipping through your phonebook or doing a simple internet search can also help you explore options for finding the right veterinarian in your area. Some vets specialize in certain animals, so be sure that you schedule a visit with a veterinarian that has vast experience with your particular pets.

It is OK to make a list of a few different Veterinarians to check out.

Check for accreditation when looking for How to Choose a Veterinarian.

You’ll want to make sure that whichever veterinarian you choose for your pet is accredited. The American Animal Hospital Association is a great place to check for accredited animal hospitals. You also might want to check with the Veterinarian Medical Board to check if any complaints have been filed against the practice. This will help you skip the wasted time of a visit or consultation if they fail this step.

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Schedule a consultation with the vet. 

This will give you the chance to introduce your pet to the vet. You can see if the veterinarian seems like a good fit for Fluffy. While you’re there, you can also check out the office. Make sure everything seems sanitary and that any pets who are there appear safe.

Give each veterinarian a call and explain that you are looking for a new veterinarian for your dog, and you would like to meet with them to ask a few questions and to see their facility.

Typical questions and what to look for:

Fee and Services

Some veterinarians are higher priced than others. Don’t be hesitant to ask about prices! Here are some great questions to ask about what things cost:

  • What methods of payment do they take?
  • Do they accept a pet insurance plan?
  • Is full payment expected on the day of the visit?
  • Are there discounts for multi-pet households?
  • What is the range of services that the veterinarian provides (x-rays, blood test, heartworm test, etc)?

Veterinarian Office Hours

  • What are regular office hours?
  • Who will take over if the veterinarian is on vacation or out sick?

Emergency Care for your Dog

  • What should I do if the veterinarian is closed and my dog gets hurt or is sick?
  • In case of an accident that requires an overnight stay, will someone be with my dog non-stop?

Observe the Staff

Observe the interaction with the veterinarian and with the other staff. Are they courteous and caring?


  • Is the facility clean and well kept?
  • How many veterinarians are in the practice?
  • Are appointments required?
  • Are the animals in separate cages?

Determine if you need a vet with a specialty. 

If you have pets like fish or birds, for example, you’ll want to make sure that the vet is trained to care for these animals.

Once you have finished making your visits with the veterinarians on your list, you should have a clear picture of what veterinarian you would like to use. If for some reason your first choice doesn’t work out, you can always switch veterinarians to your next choice on your list.

By utilizing the above guidelines, you will be able to match the right veterinarian to what you are looking for, and to serving all of your pup’s needs.

Check out these other great tips for dogs:

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