ASPCA Logo

Finding the Right Vet for Your Pet

One of the most important decisions you'll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you'll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.

When Should I Look for a Vet?

Guardians seek out new vets for a variety of reasons, including a recent adoption or move, concerns about a current vet's quality of care or treatment for a pet's specific health problem.

How Do I Look for a Vet?

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 www.aahanet.org for a list of accredited vets in your area.

It's also a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends, family and trusted neighbors-especially those who take a keen interest in their dogs' health and well-being.

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?