How to Find the Best Veterinarian – American Kennel Club (2024)

Choosing the right veterinarian for your dog is a serious decision. You’ll want to consider factors such as your dog’s age, underlying medical conditions, or previous injuries and surgeries. Your dog may need a veterinarian with specialty training, with state-of-the-art equipment, or one who offers special services.

Here are a few tips on what to do when selecting a veterinarian:

Get Recommendations

Talk to neighbors, friends, and family. Find out whom they use and are willing to recommend. Talk to breeders or breed club members who likely know of veterinarians knowledgeable about your breed and the types of problems they experience. Groomers, managers of local shelters, and local dog trainers could be helpful, and state and local veterinary societies can also help you locate a convenient, reputable veterinarian.

How to Find the Best Veterinarian – American Kennel Club (1)

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Visit Local Veterinary Hospitals Without Your Dog

Take a tour and observe whether the office is clean and well-organized. Ask about services they provide, find out what hours they’re open, and ask what provisions are made for emergency coverage (after-hours and weekends). Many veterinary practices provide in-house digital x-rays, dental x-rays, pet dental care, ultrasounds, and radiology, as well as veterinary surgical services, such as general surgery and neutering, orthopedic procedures, and assistance with chemotherapy.

Find out what arrangements are available for specialty referrals. What’s the average wait time for making a non-emergency appointment? Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?

Find Out Whether the Practice’s Treatment Philosophies Match Yours

Ask the veterinarians for their beliefs about treating cancer, spaying and neutering, supporting senior dogs, and euthanasia. Do they believe in prescribing holistic or alternative treatments when appropriate? Do they emphasize preventative care? If you have children, would they be welcome to accompany you for a routine office visit? It’s great to be able to teach your children what’s involved in responsible pet care. Is the vet patient when answering your questions?

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Consider Location

A close and convenient location is beneficial when you’re taking your dog to the vet. Should your dog need emergency care, you’ll want to know exactly where to go. If your new veterinarian does not provide 24-hour care, they should provide precise directions to the nearest 24-hour emergency facility.

Ask About Fees

Compare charges and avoid deals that look too good to be true. As with most products or services, you get what you pay for. Your best course of action is to ask ahead of time about fees, costs of procedures, and what methods of payments are available.

Find out if the veterinarian provides written estimates for services. Are payment plans or financial assistance options available if you need them? If you have pet insurance, does the clinic accept your plan? Are you provided with a detailed explanation of services for every visit?

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Check on Professional Accreditations and Experience

How many veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians are on staff? Find out how long they’ve been in practice and ask about their education and training background. Do they participate in continuing education? Are they accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)? Are the veterinarians members of a professional veterinary association, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and their state or local veterinary association?

Visit the Veterinarian’s Office With Your Dog

Stop in with your dog and observe the “bedside manner” of the veterinary and office staff. How do they try to make your dog feel at ease? Have they set up the waiting area and examination rooms to make your dog feel as comfortable as possible?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Today’s pets are living longer, healthier lives thanks to the availability of high-quality veterinary care, preventive care, and pet owners’ careful monitoring of their animals for early signs of illness. When choosing your family’s veterinarian, use the same care and criteria that you would in selecting a physician or dentist. 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 veterinarian-client-patient relationship.”

Need help with your adorable new puppy? Training your dog can be challenging without expert help. That’s why we’re here to help you virtually, through AKC GoodDog! Helpline. This live telephone service connects you with a professional trainer who will offer unlimited, individualized advice on everything from house-training to behavioral issues.

How to Find the Best Veterinarian – American Kennel Club (2024)


How to Find the Best Veterinarian – American Kennel Club? ›

Get Recommendations

How to pick the right vet? ›

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.

How do you know if you have a good vet? ›

Your vet should be able to comfort and console your ill or injured pet, as well as being empathic to you as a struggling pet owner. A great vet will also use compassion even when your pet is healthy to make your cat or dog feel at ease in an unfamiliar place.

How do you know if you can trust a vet? ›

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a veterinarian. Ask your friends and family if they recommend anyone. Online reviews can also be helpful, but suggestions from people you trust are even better. Different pets and families have different needs, though, so consider meeting with a few vets before choosing one.

Who is the best veterinary doctor in the world? ›

8 Famous veterinarians animal lovers should know
  1. Claude Bourgelat. Veterinary medicine as we know it would not exist were it not for Dr. ...
  2. Bernhard Lauritz Frederik Bang. To say Danish Veterinarian Dr. ...
  3. Elinor McGrath. ...
  4. Buster Lloyd-Jones. ...
  5. Louis J. ...
  6. Patricia O'Connor. ...
  7. James Herriot. ...
  8. Mary Knight Dunlap.
Mar 18, 2019

What questions to ask when picking a vet? ›

  • What Happens During Emergencies? It is a good idea to ask a potential veterinarian how they handle emergencies, both inside and outside of business hours. ...
  • What Is Your Training Background? ...
  • What Are the Payment Options? ...
  • How Often Should I Take My Pet in for Checkups?

What animals go to the vet the most? ›

Dogs visit the vet the most often not because they are sick, but because they require regular health maintenance like humans. Dogs need to have checkups, vaccinations, and regular care to ensure that they remain healthy.

Is it okay to switch vets? ›

If you're wondering, "is it bad to switch vets?" we're here to tell you, no, it's not, and that it's not as big of a deal as you might think, though the process can come with challenges. If you genuinely feel you're not meshing with your pet's vet, it's crucial to know how to make the change.

What are three important qualities for a veterinarian? ›

Important Qualities
  • Communication skills. Strong communication skills are essential for veterinarians, who must be able to discuss their recommendations and explain treatment options to animal owners and give instructions to their staff.
  • Compassion. ...
  • Decision-making skills. ...
  • Manual dexterity. ...
  • Problem-solving skills.

Does my vet judge me? ›

This is as true for the veterinary field as it is for any type of business. We judge clients based on their appearance, mannerisms, words spoken and so on. We may do this consciously or subconsciously, innocently or maliciously, appropriately or inappropriately.

What to do if you think your vet is wrong? ›

To see if your state has a peer review board and to find out how it functions, contact your state veterinary medical association. Lastly, if you continue to have significant concerns, you may submit a complaint to the state veterinary licensing board, which enforces state license laws applicable to veterinarians.

How to spot a bad vet? ›

The following are warning signs that a veterinarian may not be the right fit:
  1. They do not consider their client's financial situation.
  2. They are not kind to pets or owners.
  3. The vet does not disclose information about a pet's treatment.
  4. The vet gives incorrect diagnoses.
  5. They do not allow owners to visit their pets.
Nov 28, 2022

Can you say no to a vet? ›

Saying no is fine – so let's work together

It can be uncomfortable, especially when you feel you are going against the opinion or suggestions of the experts – the vet team.

Who is America's best veterinarian? ›

Gary Richter - America's Favorite Veterinarian and Best-Selling Author.

Who is the best vet in the USA? ›

Meet America's Top 10 Veterinary Professionals and Vote for Your Favorites!
  • Dr. ...
  • Dr. Victoria Smith (Olympia, WA)
  • Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles (College Station, TX)
  • Megan Brashear (Portland, OR)
  • Ellen Carozza (Arlington, VA)
  • Olivia Faith (Crestview, FL)
  • Joan Gorman (Kansas City, MO)
  • Kim Knap (Urbana, IL)
May 19, 2016

Who is the highest paid veterinarian? ›

High Paying Veterinarian Jobs
  • Veterinary Radiologist. Salary range: $92,000-$287,000 per year. ...
  • Emergency Veterinarian. Salary range: $176,500-$219,500 per year. ...
  • Associate Veterinarian. Salary range: $102,500-$165,500 per year. ...
  • Small Animal Veterinarian. Salary range: $85,000-$126,500 per year. ...
  • Veterinary Inspector.

How do you know which pet is right for you? ›

Selecting a pet for your family
  • Can you afford the costs of caring for your pet? ...
  • How long will you be away from your pet? ...
  • Who will care for your pet in your absence? ...
  • What future changes might occur in your living situation that would affect your ability to keep your pet in years to come?

How do you pick the right dog for a pet? ›

When choosing a dog, pick one that is active, friendly, inquisitive, and not afraid of you. The dog should accept gentle handling and not exhibit signs of aggression. The temperament of a puppy's parents may be an indication of its future behavior.

How to choose a vet practice? ›

Things to look for when choosing a veterinary practice.
  1. Vets. Vets must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to work and practise in the UK. ...
  2. Recommendations. Personal recommendations and word of mouth can be a really useful. ...
  3. Location. ...
  4. Specialist care. ...
  5. Price. ...
  6. Visit the veterinary practice.
Feb 5, 2024

How do you know if vet tech is right for you? ›

If you're looking for a career where you get to play with animals, then this isn't the career choice for you. Being a veterinary technician is for those with a real commitment to taking care of animals and isn't something to be taken lightly.

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