Help With Choosing the Right Veterinarian

Choosing a veterinarian is one of the most important decisions you will make for the health of your pet. You’ll want to choose a veterinarian that you and your cat or dog both feel comfortable with at a practice that offers the highest available standard of care. As your pet’s guardian, you may be in the market for a new veterinarian if you have recently adopted the pet, moved to a new area, or you have questions about the quality of care your current vet is able to provide for your pet’s particular medical condition.


Start your search for the right veterinarian by asking your friends, family, and co-workers about their choices in animal doctors. Most pet owners are glad to share their experiences and opinions when it comes to the care of their cats and dogs. Reach out to animal shelters, groomers, boarding kennel employees, or dog trainers for referrals.

Conduct a search online for “veterinarians” and “animal hospitals.” You will be able to learn a great deal about the hours, location, and scope of practice. Many websites offer consumer reviews and detailed information about the practice, including whether it is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA. A membership in AAHA means the practice meets high national standards for veterinary care.

Choose a practice relatively close to home. Traveling long distances for veterinary care can be uncomfortable for both you and your pet, especially in emergencies or when your pet does not feel well. Look at the parking situation and consider how convenient it will be when transporting a sick pet into the building. Opt for a practice that keeps hours convenient to your schedule. Many vets work evenings and weekends.


Make an appointment to speak with a vet before you bring in your cat or dog to get a feel for the practice and its employees. While in the waiting room:

• Note if the facilities are clean and well-organized
• Ask about the number of veterinarians on staff; request an introduction to other veterinarians in the practice who might care for your dog or cat
• Learn about the practice’s credentials, including whether it is AAHA-accredited
• Find out how the pets are cared for overnight
• Ask if dogs and cats are caged in separate areas
• Determine the cost of care and inquire about any discounts for senior citizens or households with multiple pets

The practice should have several friendly technicians and other staff members on hand to help care for your pet.

Bring a list of questions to ask the veterinarian. As you ask the following questions, be aware of your rapport with the veterinarian to determine if he or she is a good fit for your pet’s needs:

• Does the practice use modern diagnostic tools and the most technically advanced methods?
• Do technicians perform tests in-house or does the pet have to travel elsewhere for x-rays, ultrasound, blood work, and EKGs?
• Are specialists on staff or do pets have to go elsewhere for specialized care?
• How do the doctors evaluate pets before giving anesthesia in surgical cases?
• What is the protocol for pain management?

You should feel comfortable with the veterinarian’s answers. Look for a veterinarian who takes time to answer your questions completely without making you feel rushed.

Finally, take your dog or cat to the veterinarian and let your pet be the judge. Dogs and cats are excellent judges of character in most cases, and your pet will ultimately let you know if you have chosen the right veterinarian.

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21 thoughts on “Help With Choosing the Right Veterinarian

  1. Shad Morris

    It’s interesting that you should bring a list of questions to ask the veterinarian before you choose them. We just adopted out new puppy, and we wouldn’t want anything to go wrong with him. I know that I would want to make sure that everything is understood before we choose that doctor.

  2. Burt Silver

    I like that you mentioned to ask about what overnight care is like at a potential veterinary service. My dog is part of my family, so I always want her to receive care as good as I would want to receive. If I have to leave my dog with a veterinarian overnight, I want to know that he will be cared for as well as possible.

  3. Rachel Lannister

    My husband and I have decided that we are going to get a cat for my daughter, and need to find a good vet. You wrote that a good place to start looking is to ask for referrals from friends and family that are also pet owners. A friend of mine has a cat, so I’ll have to ask who she takes her cat to. Thanks for the blog.

  4. Cole

    This is definitely an important decision as a pet owner. My friend’s dog had to go to the vet three times in the first six months they owned him so it was good they took their time to choose a vet they were satisfied with.

  5. Marcus Coons

    I agree with you in that it is important to choose a vet that is close to your home in order to get the help your animal needs in an emergency. We just moved to a new house and want to make sure we find a good vet that has experience with bunnies in our area. It is important to remember that consulting with the BBB can help you narrow your search and find an animal clinic that is reputable.

  6. Max Jones

    I like how you talked about conducting an interview with a potential animal hospital. I’ve been looking for an animal hospital for our puppy in case of emergency, and I think that being able to have a plan and check out the facility before we need it would be smart. I’m going to have to conduct an interview like you talked about and see what we can find! Thanks for the tip!

  7. Sandra Hexner

    Thank you for all this great information about finding the best vet! I really like your point about on top of having friendly staff, that the facility should be clean and well-organized. We just moved and are hoping to find the best animal hospital for our pup before it’s needed, so this information has been very helpful.

  8. Tiffany Locke

    Your advice to ask friends, family, and coworkers about the animal doctors they go to and their experience with them as well as online reviews would be useful. This could help you figure out if they’re reliable and offer the type of services you need for your pet. When you go to meet with them once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’d probably want to see if it’s okay to bring your pet with you in order to see how they react to the veterinarian and the staff at their office in order to ensure your animal is comfortable and will get quality care.

  9. Annika Larson

    This past week, my husband and I adopted a husky. We want to make sure he gets the best possible health care by choosing a reliable veterinarian. Like you suggested, we will be sure to make an appointment beforehand to find out things such as how the pets are cared for overnight. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Derek Dewitt

    My wife and I just moved to a new town and are looking for a vet to take our dog in for some shots. I like that you suggest conducting an interview to see if the facility is clean and the staff is qualified. I don’t want to take my pets to somewhere that is dirty so I’ll be sure to check each facility before I decide. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Callum Palmer

    I agree with the article, it is always in your best interest to interview the vet before you take your pet to them. Its also pretty great that the article actually provides a lot of ideas for the questions you can ask. Personally, I find the question about how the pets are kept overnight is the most important because you want to make sure your pet is comfortable if an overnight stay is necessary.

  12. Spencer Montgomery

    Conducting an interview is a great tip. It would entail great communication between the owner and the veterinarian. If I owned a dog and start looking for one, I’ll make sure to do this. Informative post.

  13. Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for going over some things to think about when finding a veterinarian. I’m glad that you mentioned that you should pick a place that is close to home, which could be really good in emergencies. My sister has been thinking of getting a pet, so it could be good for her to see what is available nearby in the future if she does get one.

  14. Sariah

    I just got a new dog, and I want to make sure that he gets the right veterinarian. Thanks for the tip on choosing a veterinarian close to our home. This way, I can make my dog’s veterinary care visits comfortable. Cheers!

  15. Theordore Winston

    I agree that we should consider interviewing the veterinarians, or the staff about their work. Observing their facilities if it’s well-organized and clean is a great factor to consider on how they work inside the clinic. Thanks for these great tips! My dog’s veterinarian is an absolute pet lover and their facility itself is well-maintained and organized. Cheers!

  16. Larry Weaver

    I appreciate the point that you should find a vet that is relatively close to home to avoid uncomfortable trips for your pet. Whenever I try to drive around with my dog, he freaks out, so a practice that is close to where I live would make visits really easy for both my pet and I. Conducting an interview is also something I’ll have to do when finding a vet.

  17. Dan Moller

    My wife and I have conceded to adopting a puppy after a little (read: a lot) of persuasion, begging, and threats coming from our kids. Before we get to the adoption, though, we wanted to make sure that the whole family is prepared for any situation with our to-be newest family member and your article gives a very good starting ground about what any future pet-owner should do. Your suggestion about conducting an interview is absolutely brilliant as this will facilitate and personalize the whole looking-for-a-vet thing.

  18. Callum Palmer

    I really like the suggestion you make about conducting an interview to help people find the vet they need. In particular, I love your question about specialized care. This could really make the difference if your pet needs special medical help when you’re in the middle of an emergency.

  19. Kayla

    I didn’t know that choosing a veterinarian is one of the most important decisions you will make for the health of your pet. My sister has a new pet dog and it’s not feeling well. My mom suggested bringing it to a veterinarian and shared this article with her. It says that the practice should have several friendly technicians and other staff members on hand to help care for your pet.

  20. Callum Palmer

    I really like that the article actively encourages conducting an interview with the vet before you take your pet to see them. After all, for many people, their pet is a member of the family, so you’d treat finding them medical help just like you would treat finding a doctor for anyone else in the family. You want to make sure that the vet is trained, certified, and actually has a plan to help with your pet’s problem before you agree to set up an appointment.