Bark About! Blog

A puppy pile of dog information and stories

A great vet is your dog's second best friend

How to Find a Great Vet

Published April 17, 2019
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Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or moving to a new area, choosing a vet can be a challenging process. We want our dog’s health to be in good hands, getting the best possible care.

Thankfully, many people are happy to refer others to their vet, and talking to others is a great way to start your search. Asking neighbors, friends, and local shelters is an easy way to get ideas, and online reviews can provide additional insights.

If you’re just starting your search, keep these ideas in mind.

They work in an AAHA-accredited hospital

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is the only organization to accredit veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada. They hold hospitals to the highest veterinary standards, so if you find an AAHA-accredited hospital, you can feel confident about the level of care your dog should receive. There are many great hospitals not AAHA accredited, but it’s an option if you’d like some extra peace of mind.

If you’re interested in finding an AAHA accredited hospital near you, you can use this search feature provided on AAHA’s website.

They’re easily accessible

When you meet with a prospective vet, ask about their emergency policy. If something happens to your dog, would they be able to see your dog immediately? Could they arrange your dog to go to another hospital? Could you get to that hospital easily and quickly?

Find out how easy it is to schedule appointments or get medications confirmed. If you call the hospital, does the vet get back to you in a timely manner? It’s much easier to stay on top of your dog’s health when the vet is easily accessible and just a short distance away.

They have strong communication skills

It’s a difficult time when your dog is dealing with an injury or illness. Great vets are able to stay calm and show compassion, and they can help you through any stressful situation. Do they treat your dog well, take the time to listen to all of your concerns, and answer your questions thoughtfully? These are just a few traits to look for in a vet.

They have a large network of specialists

Your vet may be highly skilled and knowledgeable in their practice, but chances are they won’t be experts in every specialization. When you meet with your vet, find out whether they’re connected to a large network of other specialized veterinarians. If your dog could benefit from seeing a cardiologist or ophthalmologist, it’s much easier when your vet is able to recommend someone within their network.

They maintain a clean practice

It seems obvious, but it’s still important to inspect the environment your vet works in. A clean, sanitized space indicates a quality level of care. If possible, if the hospital could give you a little tour of the area. Many are more than happy to show you the quality of care they provide.

These are just five tips to keep in mind as you start your search. Trust your gut, ask for referrals from your community, and keep your pup’s health a priority!

Do you have any tips on finding a great vet? Let us know your experiences.

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