Finding a veterinarian

Finding a veterinarian is relatively easy, especially if you're using MyVeterinarian.com to search. Recommendations from family and friends can also be of great help. However, finding the right veterinarian for you and your pet is what's really important.

Check out prospective clinics and veterinarians by paying them a visit, with or without your pet. Is the clinic/hospital clean and orderly? Ask if you can take a tour of the clinic.

Pay attention to how the veterinary team talks to clients and how they act toward the animals in the clinic. Are team members readily available to answer your questions or address your concerns? Do they answer your questions in a way you can understand? One of the most important considerations is how the veterinary team makes you feel – ask yourself if you would be comfortable having your pet in their care. Trust your gut feeling – if you like a veterinary team but can't pinpoint why you like them, you're probably in the right place. If you're there with your pet for an actual visit, do the veterinary team's explanations of the exam findings and treatment plans make sense to you?

Are the clinic's office hours compatible with yours? How do they handle after-hours emergencies – do they see them, or do they refer you to an emergency clinic (it's best to find this out before you need to know it in an emergency situation)? Do they accept your preferred form of payment? If you have pet insurance, does the veterinary hospital accept that plan?

When choosing your family's veterinarian, use the same care and criteria that you would in selecting a physician or dentist. Think about what is important to you. Location, office hours, payment options, and the range of medical services provided are all important considerations. For many pet owners the most important factor is the friendliness and commitment of doctors and staff. Your goal should be to find the veterinarian who you believe can best meet your pet's medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term relationship.