The relationship between a vet and you and your pet is very important. You need to be able to talk to your vet and have clear lines of communication. You should feel comfortable discussing your pet with your vet. It’s also important that your cat or dog like your vet. Here are some  tips to help you choose a good vet for you and your pet.

Choose a vet before your pet gets sick

The last thing you want to do is try to pick an unknown vet out of the phone book or online when your pet is sick. Instead, check around when you have lots of time before your pet ever gets sick. Consider the following issues:

Do you want a vet who is located near you? Location can be an important issue for many owners, especially if your dog has an emergency.

  • What days and hours is the vet open? If you work then make sure that the vet will be open on days when you are off.
  • Does the vet handle emergencies after hours or refer clients to a pet emergency hospital? Many vets no longer handler emergency calls after hours but some still do. Find out what a vet’s policy is on emergencies.
  • What services does the vet provide? Some vets have more advanced equipment than others, for example, and are able to do more diagnostic testing or can provide more advanced treatments. However, not all pets require these services.
  • How do the vet and staff handle phone calls? Sometimes you may need to call your vet. You may not know if you should take your pet in to see the doctor or not, or you might just have a question. Will you get a helpful response? Are client phone calls returned quickly?
  • If you choose a multi-vet practice, can you see the vet you prefer? Sometimes you or your pet might like one vet better than the others. Can you see the vet you like best? Or do you have to see whoever is available?
  • What methods of payment does the vet accept? Vet care can be expensive these days, especially for illnesses and injuries. Find out in advance what kind of payment your vet expects. Does he or she expect bills to be paid in full at the time of the visit? Can you make payment arrangements or pay on account?
  • Does the vet accept pet insurance? A relatively small number of people in North America have pet insurance for their pets but it is growing in popularity. Find out if your vet accepts pet insurance. Pet insurance usually requires you to pay for the services yourself and then the company will reimburse you for some portion of the bill.
  • What is the vet’s staff like? This can be important since the staff often spends as much or more time with your pet as the vet.

How to find a good vet

There are a lot of ways to find a good vet. One time-honored way is to ask your friends and neighbors. Talk to people whose opinions you respect who have pets. Ask them which vet they use. They will probably recommend a vet they use. This is often a good vet to check out.

You can also check online. Many cities have sites which offer client reviews of local veterinarians. You may find some extreme reviews from disgruntled clients, but there should be a consensus.

You can also check online to find out which vets belong to veterinary organizations you respect such as your state veterinary medical association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, or other organizations. If you’re looking for a vet who is a specialist, check out his or her credentials.


When you have found a few vets who fit your criteria, pay a visit to their offices or veterinary hospitals. Do you like the atmosphere? Is the facility clean and pleasant? Is the staff courteous and friendly? You should be able to form an impression.

You probably won’t know what you think of the veterinarian until you bring your pet in for a visit but these are some good ways to choose a vet for your pet. Plan ahead and consider all the factors before your pet needs to see the vet.

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