How to choose a Vet

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How to Choose a Vet.

Referrals are one of the best ways to choose a vet. Start with the breeder, do they know a vet in your area? Your circle of frieds are also an excellent source of vet referrals. New to the area? consider asking the local breed club, dog trainers, or animal shelter who they would reccomend.

When to look for a vet

The time to look for a vet is before your new pet arrives. It is always a good idea to have a new pet visit your vet right for a checkup and to make sure it is in good health.

If you've jsut moved you'll want to find a vet now, don't wait until your pet becomes ill.

Visit Dog Shows

Visit a show and talk to the breeders there, find an owner/breeder/handler who is from your ares, they may know a vet who specializes in your breed, or is even actively involved in your breed.

Find a vet who breeds dogs.

At our local vet clinic one of the vets breeds labs, another Corgi's and another owns an American Bulldog. What more could you ask for?

Visit the vet clinic.

Yes, visit the clinic during their normal business hours. Explain to the receptionist that you are looking for a new vet in the area and ask to see their facilities. They should be able to show you exam rooms, boarding facilities and other back rooms.
Is the practice clean and orderly? Are there any unpleasant odours?

Office Hours

What hours are the office open? Do they fit your schedule?


The cost of an operation can be quite expensive. Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit? Does your vet take only cash? credit cards? Do they offer financing for more expensive surgeries?

Check their credentials

All vets will display their certificates prominently in their office. Are their technicians and helpers also licenced? How long have they been practicing?

Check out how they operate their office

Is the staff friendly and courteous? How do they greet patients and owners? Do they speak your language clearly? Im many offices the vet techs write out the prescriptions and the vet signs them, make sure the staff can understand you and you can understand them, mistakes can be deadly.

Emergency Service

Your going to have your dog a long time, it is likely you will need emergency service one day. Is someone on call before or after office hours? If your vet is on holiday are arrangements made with another local clinic to assist? Many vets group together to provide emergency services.

Find out if your vet is a specialist

If you are just using vet for regular checkups and vaccinations you may want to inquire if your vet is a specialist. You may not want to pay the increassed costs associated with visiting an opthamology specialist if you do need their extra equipment and training.
At present, there are 20 AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations

Beware Boutiques

There is nothing inherently wrong with your vet selling other products, just make sure they don't always push extra's on you. Remember it's a vet office first, not a pet shop.
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