Your dog is more than just a pet–he or she is a bonafide member of your family, one whose health and happiness matter as much as any other. Choosing a veterinarian for your four-legged friend is a big decision with several important factors to consider, as this canine healthcare provider could be responsible for keeping your dog strong and healthy so your dog can live as long a life as possible. 

Knowing how to find the right vet for your dog involves some forethought and planning. Read on for tips to help you make an informed decision. 

Ask Trusted Associates

Finding a veterinarian is different from finding a healthcare practitioner for yourself in that there are more things to keep in mind when it comes to the customer experience than just your own personal preferences. While your dog can’t talk or share an opinion, you likely have other people in your life, pet owners in particular, who can weigh in. Think of fellow dog owners in your life and reach out to ask for recommendations. Many of them may have even worked with a few veterinarians in your area and can provide valuable insight regarding several offices and professionals they’ve visited. 

Consider Your Dog’s Needs

Not all dogs have the same medical needs and requirements, and not all veterinarians have the right experience to treat different breeds, ages and health conditions. Look for a veterinarian that specializes in the types of care you want and need for your dog, whether that’s holistic pet healthcare, treatment plans for older dogs or grooming treatments as well as healthcare options. 

Examine Potential Services

Not all veterinarian’s offices have the same capacities to treat certain ailments. For example, you may find a veterinarian that is excellent in many ways, but practices in an office that isn’t equipped to take x-rays, which would mean you’d have to visit another practitioner should the need for imaging arise.  As well, some veterinarians have different approaches to medicine and treatments. Explore what care options would be available to you and your dog, but make sure to ask about their policies on administering medication, preventive care, emergency issues and any other relevant issues that would affect the healthcare experience for both you and your dog.

Look Nearby

Should an urgent situation arise, it may be important that you can get to the office of your veterinarian right away–or at least as soon as possible. Do research in your immediate area to discover a veterinarian that is within a short distance of where you live. However, if no offices in your area seem to be a good fit, a practitioner that checks other boxes may still be a great choice for your family if their office is within an hour’s driving distance or less. 

Take Tours With Your Dog

Considering the level of potential fear or uneasiness your canine companion could experience at the facility while receiving care, it’s just as important that your dog feel comfortable in a veterinarian’s office as it is that you and other members of your family do. As you explore your options, ask your vet facilities with your pet so they can explore the area and you can get a good sense of how relaxed or stressed they are at different offices. 

It may not be apparent to you, but a dog’s senses can pick up on various aspects of a building or person that can affect how they feel about their visit. Dogs can pick up on fainter scents of urine or other signs of uncleanliness or different aspects of a person’s temperament and may show signs of distress or fear during a tour, which should signal that it’s a good idea to keep looking elsewhere.

Ask Plenty of Questions

Does your veterinarian have up-to-date technology to treat common medical conditions? Will they have plenty of availability for last-minute appointments? Do several different veterinarians practice at the facility and will you be able to see the same one at each visit? Bring a list of questions to ask potential vets, and the staff at the office, about their services, hours, cleaning practices, calming methods, experience, personality and general medical philosophy as it will apply to you and your dog. 


Choosing a vet for your pet can be a daunting decision, but with these tips and some preparation ahead of time, you can make a solid choice and select a provider that both you and your dog will be happy with for years to come.