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Selecting a Veterinarian

Selecting a Veterinarian


Selecting a veterinarian is a personal choice, much like selecting your family physician or dentist. In choosing a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. You will want to be comfortable with the veterinarian, their staff and the clinic environment. Personal references can be a great way to help select a veterinarian.

If you've just moved, you will want to locate a veterinarian soon. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill; you want to establish a relationship right away. Your veterinarian can give you with information on special climate concerns for your pet. In addition, since traveling can be a stressful experience for a pet, an early check-up may be in order.

Considerations in Selecting a Veterinarian

Office Hours

  • What are the doctor's regular office hours?
  • Are they compatible with your schedule?
  • Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?

Professional Staff

  • How are routine telephone calls handled? Is the staff polite and courteous?
  • If there is more than one veterinarian in the practice, can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor and staff?
  • Are you comfortable with how the veterinarian and staff interact with your pet/animal?

Fees and Payment

  • What methods of payment are accepted?
  • Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit?
  • Is pet insurance accepted?
  • Are there other payment plans available?


  • What is the range of services that the veterinary hospital provides?
  • Will most of your pet's care be able to be handled at this hospital? Will referral for diagnostics or procedures be necessary?

Emergency Care

  • How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after regular office hours?


  • Is the practice clean and orderly?
  • Are there any unpleasant odors?

Professional Affiliations

  • Is the veterinarian a member of a professional veterinary association?


  • Do you understand the hospital's policies and procedures?


Source: American Veterinary Medical Association