Recommendations & Testimonials
Before going down the rabbit hole of reading online reviews, contact friends, family, and neighbors first. Word of mouth is often the best testimonial you can receive. If you don’t have a personal network in your area that can provide veterinary recommendations, then turn to the internet. If you have a local neighborhood group on Facebook, considering asking your neighbors who they recommend and any vets to avoid. While reading reviews, be sure to stay focused on what is most important to you and your dog.
Location is a major factor not only when it comes to convenience but also in case of emergency. However, if there aren’t any nearby vets that are checking the boxes that are most important to you, consider expanding your distance a little further. When it comes down to it, it may be worth the few extra minutes drive for a vet you’re comfortable and confident in entrusting your dog’s health and care with. If your regular vet you end up choosing is a bit further, make sure to have a local emergency vet in your back pocket for immediate emergencies.
Vet bills can add up rather quickly and are a major factor to consider when it comes to selecting a vet. Ask about the general costs of routine vaccines, wellness exams, emergency fees, etc. Speak to the staff about how they expect payments; in full, split payments, and what they accept. In addition, consider whether or not the practice accepts credit cards such as CareCredit or ScratchPay, which can make a big difference in your pet receiving great treatment without having to break the bank upfront.
Professional Accreditations & Experience
Be sure to check that the veterinarian is licensed in your state, as well as the registered veterinary technicians. You can always ask to see their licenses and/or contact the board of veterinary medicine in your state. In addition, inquire about how many licensed veterinarians and technicians are on staff. Find out how long they’ve been in practice, and about their education and training background. You may also want to consider if they’re accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Philosophies about Pet Care
There are different approaches that veterinarians may have when it comes to dogs and medication. Discuss with your potential vet and see what their approach is about wellness and prevention issues when it comes to dogs. Euthanasia, cancer care, chronic diseases, and spay and neutering are also hot topics in the veterinary industry. Consider if they perform any controversial procedures such as declawing cats. Their philosophies can make all the difference if you’re ever faced with difficult decisions surrounding these topics. If the vet is not on the same page as you, continue looking.
Tour the Space and In-Person Visit
Tour the practice in-person without your dog before committing to a veterinarian. Take note of the cleanliness of the space, after all, it is a medical facility. If there are signs of poor cleaning practices, continue your search. Also consider how friendly and knowledgeable the staff you interact with are, including the veterinarian, technicians, and front desk staff. Proper communication is essential especially if you’re ever faced with a sensitive decision regarding your dog’s health.
Additional Questions to Ask
- Is the practice open in the evenings and weekends?
- Does the vet refer patients to specialists as needed?
- Which emergency services are available on-site?
- Are diagnostics like X-rays, bloodwork, ultrasounds, etc. done on-site or referred elsewhere?
- Will I see the same vet every visit?
When selecting a veterinarian for your dog, consider all of the above and don’t waiver on what matters to you. It’s so important to feel at ease when it comes to the quality of care for your dog. If you’re looking for a specialty vet, start here by visiting our Specialist Directory.