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Choosing a vet is one of the most important choices you’ll make as a pet owner. Though it is a personal choice, your vet should provide the highest possible care to your pup.

When Should I Look for a Vet?

If you are planning to adopt a pet, you should already be looking for a vet. Owners that are planning to move, or even if you’re having issues with your current vet, you’ll need to search for a new vet.


How Do I Find a Vet?

Recommendations from friends, family, or your adoption agency are great ways to start. Ask dog owners what they love about their vet, and even what they don’t.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) evaluates veterinary practices on the quality of their facilities, staff, equipment and patient care. Search the organization’s website at for a list of accredited vets in your area.


How Do I Decide Which Vet is Right for My Dog?

Here are some things to consider when selecting a vet:

–  Arrange for a first appointment without your dog to speak with a veterinarian and get an overall feel of the facilities.

–  During your appointment, look around and consider whether the space is clean, modern and well-organized.

–  Inquire about the number of vets on staff. In many practices, vets may share responsibility for patients and cover for each other during vacations or other absences.

–  Do you have good rapport with the vet? Effective communication is essential to any health care relationship.

–  Ask questions! Don’t be shy; most vets appreciate it when their clients take an interest in their pets’ care.


What Questions Should I Ask When I’m Selecting a Vet?

Although your questions may vary depending on the reason for your visit, you can use the following list as a guide:

▪    Is the practice AAHA-accredited?

▪    How are overnight patients monitored?

▪    What sort of equipment does the practice use?

▪    Does the vet refer patients to specialists?

▪    How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?

▪    Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?

▪    What is the protocol for pain management?


What If I Have Problems with My Vet? Can I Switch?

A vet’s office is a business, and it is important you seek the best possible care for your dog. If you feel that you are not getting the most for your dog, it’s okay to switch to another vet. Do what is in the best interest of your dog.