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.


WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO START LOOKING?

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.


CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW

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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56 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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

    Reply
  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  21. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you want to interview a vet before you actually choose them. Getting to know what kind of practices they use would be really helpful as well. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our new greyhound puppy, so we’ll have to interview them first.

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  22. Earnest Watkins

    I liked how you suggested that recommendations from people you know can be a good place to start looking for a vet. My wife and I are thinking of getting a puppy soon, but we’ll need a good vet we can take our pet to in order for it to get the proper care it needs. I’ll start reaching out to people I know on social media to see if they have any suggestions on who we should visit.

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  23. Ivy Baker

    I liked that you pointed out that you should pick a veterinarian that is well organized and clean. That is good for me to know because I have been thinking about getting a puppy soon. That puppy will need a good vet to care for them. I should make sure that I find a good one.

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  24. Ellie Davis

    Thank you for suggesting we make an appointment before bringing our animal in to make sure the vet clinic is clean and trustworthy. My husband bought me a new puppy for my birthday and it is time to take her in and get some shots. I’ve never had a dog before so I haven’t done much research on a vet. I will have to look into local ones and find the best one for my little puppy.

    Reply
  25. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you need to consider how a pet is cared for overnight at a vet. It would be good to check this because it would help put your mind at ease that your pet is comfortable. My dog tore her ACL while running on the beach last week, so we’ll have to find a good vet to help operate it.

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  26. Hannah Neilson

    Thanks for the advice about considering if a vet’s office is clean and well organized. It would be good to consider this because it would ensure that they are committed to quality pet care. My husband and I are looking for someone to vaccinate our greyhound which we just rescued, so we’ll have to check out their office first.

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  27. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you would want to consider if a vet has a clean and well-organized facility. It would be good to choose someone who has one because it would show that they are qualified. My son wants to adopt a bearded dragon, so we’ll have to find a vet with a clean facility to check it out when we do.

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  28. Amanda Drew

    I have recently gotten a new Yorkie puppy named Gracie. She’s still pretty young so I want to find someone who can look her over and let me know if she has any health problems or if she needs any vaccines. So I like your suggestion to look on a veterinarian’s website to see if they have any detailed info about their practice as well as any reviews from past customers. I’ll have to do that to find the right person to take Gracie to and get her checked out.

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  29. Ashley Maxwell

    I appreciate your tip to look for veterinarians that you can interview ahead of time. I also like how you said that they should be able to show you their credentials. My husband and want to find the best vet and animal clinic for our cat; thanks for your helpful tips.

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  30. Bethany Birchridge

    I thought it was a great idea to ask animal shelters and groomers for vet suggestions. My friend will be adopting a dog soon and wants to make sure she chooses the right vet. I think I’ll share this article with her so she can feel confident in the vet she chooses.

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  31. Riley Smith

    I like that you suggested choosing a vet that has been certified by the AAHA. My wife and I have been looking for a vet after moving to a new area. It would be smart to find on that is nationally certified because they would have the knowledge required to treat our dog’s rare condition.

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  32. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you want to check with the AAHA when choosing a vet. It would be good to find someone who is certified by the right organizations in order to be sure that they are qualified. My husband and I are looking for a vet to neuter our new cat, so we’ll have to consider if they are AAHA certified.

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  33. Gary Puntman

    I agree that asking friends, family, and co workers is the best way to find a good veterinarian. I have been highly considering getting a dog for months now. My sister has a dog and I know she’s happy with the vet she uses, so I’ll have to ask her who she goes to. This is probably the most effective way for me to find a good vet.

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  34. Hannah Neilson

    Thanks for the tip about considering if a vet has a clean and well-organized facility. It would be smart to check their facility in order to show that they are qualified. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our dog, so we’ll have to check their facility first.

    Reply
  35. Kyle Wayne

    I love that you talked about asking about how the pets are cared for overnight. I have a relative who is looking to hire a veterinarian but wants reliable one she can trust. I’ll be sure to talk to her about finding a professional that also has great overnight care.

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  36. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you want to consider if a vet has clean facilities. It would be good to consider this because it would show that they are qualified. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our dog, so we’ll have to check their facilities first.

    Reply
  37. Jenna Hunter

    I like your advice on searching online to see what animal hospitals in your area offer in terms of hours and scope of practice. I just moved to a new city and want to find a good vet to take my puppy too. He is still nervous going to the vet so I want to find one with great reviews that will help him feel safe and calm while they are checking him out.

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  38. Deb Pearl

    Thank you for all the tips for choosing the right vet. I really want to find a good vet to take my dog too. I really like your tip about asking about the number of veterinarians on staff. It would be nice to know how many they have.

    Reply
  39. Kairi Gainsborough

    I love the suggestion to interview potential veterinarians you are interested in. I take great care of my greyhound, and I want to make sure that I bring him to a veterinarian clinic that I trust, so this is good advice. When I look for a place to bring my dog in for a checkup and updated on his shots, I will be sure to follow your advice and ask if they are AAHA accredited.

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  40. Millie Hue

    I love that you suggested asking the shelters and dog trainers in finding a trustworthy animal hospital. While it is good to ask our friends and family, it will be more advisable getting recommendations from them since they have more knowledge about our pets. My furbaby is experiencing discomfort, I could tell. Even if Choco seems to be active, I noticed that she is slower than his normal behavior. Thanks for the tips!

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  41. Elsa Anderson

    I recently bought my first dog and I want to make sure that I choose the right veterinarian so I am glad that I found this article. You make a great point that you should start by asking friends and family because they will give you an honest review of the quality of the service of the vet. Also, I will make sure to conduct an interview with the veterinarian and make sure that the facilities are clean and well-organized and that the staff members are friendly to the animals.

    Reply
  42. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you need to consider the facilities of a vet before choosing them. It would be good to consider these because it would ensure that they are qualified and experienced. My husband and I are looking for a vet for our dog who tore her ACL, so we’ll have to consider their facilities first.

    Reply
  43. Millie Hue

    A family friend told us that they will give us one of their puppies. We are all excited about this because it will be the first time that we’ll have a pet dog. My father and I talked about looking for a veterinarian we could trust even before we get the pup. I love that you suggested choosing a clinic that is nearer to your home since long travel can be stressful for both you and your furbaby. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  44. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you want to interview a vet before choosing them. Finding someone who is qualified and experienced would be helpful. My husband and I are looking for a vet to neuter our dog, so we’ll have to interview them first.

    Reply
  45. Watson Williams

    I appreciate how you suggest taking the time to look at a vet’s credentials before taking your dog to them. This is definitely something I’ll keep in mind since I’m looking for a vet now that my wife and I got a dog. We’ll definitely make sure we choose someone that has proper licensing, education, and experience to handle our pet’s health needs.

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  46. Vivian Black

    My dog has recently been struggling with arthritis due to his old age and my husband and I have been searching for a vet who we can trust to care for him. I appreciate that you mentioned how the practice’s credentials, especially an AAHA-accreditation will be a good indication of how capable the veterinarian will be. Thank you for your tips about finding the best options for pet care!

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  47. Burt Silver

    I like how you talk about where the best place to start looking is and how you should go to friends and family. That’s a great idea because I know my sister had to take her dog to the vet recently. Maybe she would have some good suggestions in mind because lately, my dog hasn’t been feeling well. Hopefully, we can get her taken care of and feeling all better.

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  48. Ashley Maxwell

    Thanks for mentioning how a vet should be located in a nice area. I also like how you said that they should have good credentials. My husband and I are looking for an animal clinic that has good and trained vets in it.

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  49. Rosie Beckett

    I recently got my first dog and I have never had a pet before, so I want to find a quality veterinarian to help keep my dog healthy! You make a great point that you should choose a practice that is close to your home so that it will not take long to get to the vet if there is an emergency. Also, I never thought about conducting an interview and visiting the facility! This would help me to find out if the staff is kind and friendly and if the facility is professional and clean. This is important to me because I want my dog to get the best and safest care.

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  50. Jay

    I like that tip about bringing a list of questions. I will have to try to do that this week while I am thinking about it. Do you have any more examples of questions to ask? Thanks!

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  51. Candice Eisenhower

    You made an interesting point in seeking recommendations from your trusted friends and family members in looking for a reputable animal doctor for your pet. That makes sense because they are likely the ones who will provide you an unbiased feedback of the veterinarian’s service based on their experience. I just bought a pet cat and one of the things that I’m looking to get is a veterinarian who listens and is eager to perform regular checkups and vaccinations for my pet. I’ll make sure to follow your advice and hopefully, my prospect doctor works for a reputable animal hospital where my cat can stay in confinement and further tests.

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  52. Hannah Neilson

    I agree that you want to interview a vet before choosing them. It would be good to consider this because it would show that they are quaffed. My husband and I are looking for a vet, so we’ll have to consider interviewing them first.

    Reply
  53. Jordan Miner

    I’ve been wanting to find some veterinary services for my dog, and I think that knowing how to go about doing it would be nice. I like that you talked about finding out how a veterinary service takes care of pets overnight. I’m going to have to look for a few good veterinary services and see what we can find out!

    Reply