Wondering how to choose a vet?


Immediately after making the well thought out or spontaneous decision to choose to raise a pet, new pet owners are faced with many short and long term decisions, which range from the fun questions of what is a good pet bed to buy or the best toys for dogs and cats to more important decisions about health care and choosing a veterinary care provider.


Your pets may be scared of the vets office with all the new smells, choosing the right vet can make it a less stressful experience for all of you.

In order to make the right choice about your pet’s care provider, there are several factors which must be considered when deciding how to choose a vet: proximity, and office hours, accreditation and licensing, type of care provided, reviews and/or testimonials, and whether or not they are a fit for you.


1.  Proximity plays an underestimated and critical role. With over 160 hours a month spent at work and an average commute time of 30 minutes, each way, in urban areas, choosing care that is close to work or situated along your commute route may make the most long term sense. The veterinarian’s office hours should also be considered if you have a long workday.  Your pet also may be unaccustomed to long car rides.  Cats, especially may find the ride more stressful than the vet visit.


2.  Accreditation and licensing are important. Find out if the practice has licensed veterinary technicians on staff and determine if the practice is AAHA accredited.


Because the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has developed a set of accreditation standards that are widely used as benchmarks to measure excellence in veterinary medicine, a veterinarian that is accredited by the AAHA holds himself or herself to a high standard.


3.  Online reviews and testimonials are a helpful resource. The website www.Yelp.com lists reviews from customers. Happy and unhappy customers alike can post on their website letting the world know about their experience. Keep in mind, not every happy or unhappy customer writes a review on Yelp. Another place to find reviews about the quality of care is on the veterinarian’s own website.


4.  The type of care offered is also important. There are holistic approaches, traditional approaches, and specialties all of which provide the best quality care for your animal. See the helpful links section, below, to find out more about the types of care available.


5.  Determine personal fit by testing the doctor and staff to see if they are suitable for you. Schedule a general check-up and, during your visit, look for the qualities you want in a doctor and support staff. For example, does the doctor listen well to your concerns? Is the doctor or technician a good communicator sharing his or her knowledge and expertise? Observe the office and staff. If the office is tidy, updated, and welcoming and the staff is helpful and enjoyable, it is likely a well-run organization and one that you’ll enjoy returning to again and again.


Helpful links:
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association: http://www.ahvma.org/index.php/aboutus


American Veterinary Medical Association:



Online review sites Yelp: