What you need to know

How to Choose a Good Vet

Mariana Castanheira
By Mariana Castanheira, Licensed vet. Updated: February 22, 2018
How to Choose a Good Vet

Veterinary care is mandatory in your pet's life. Whether it's a cat, a dog, a parrot, rabbit, or an iguana. From the moment a new family member of any species arrives home, we should give them all the conditions they need to live happily beside us. Periodic visits to the vet are one of the key points of any animal's health.

Each species requires specific care that can include de-worming, vaccinations or only periodic visits as preventative measures to ensure that all is well. Many carers only take their pet to the vet when the animal becomes sick. Don't make this mistake. Even before adopting an animal you should look for a veterinarian.

Almost all carers ask us this question: how to choose a good vet? AnimwalWised will answer this question indicating 10 tips to find a good professional.

You may also be interested in: What to Look For When Choosing a Dog
  1. Legalization of the clinic
  2. Location
  3. Visit the facilities
  4. Personality
  5. Specialty
  6. hour emergency
  7. Price
  8. Other services
  9. Be a good customer!
  10. The most important thing-Trust!
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Legalization of the clinic

This is undoubtedly point number 1. Unfortunately, there are many 'fake vets"and clinics that are not legalized. The role of Justice is to detect these cases of fraud but all carers should be aware and conscious that these cases exist and may be closer than you think.

Only a veterinary doctor that has had the required training and practice needed can perform medical acts with animals. Don't take your dog to be vaccinated by the worker of the Pet shop, nor to your neighbor to get "cheap shots". Cheap ends up being expensive and your animal's health is priceless!

In the United Kindgom there have been cases of people posing as veterinary surgeons that were performing as licensed doctors but were not qualified. This type of offenses can earn a sentence of more than two years in prison, so make sure your vet is qualified.

In other countries there have been many cases of false veterinarians reported. These are some of the reasons that made customers wary:

  • Vaccinations with no stamp and date
  • Stamps for vaccines printed directly from their computer
  • All donated medications without any prescription
  • Advertising of their services on the Internet
  • Prices that are way below average
How to Choose a Good Vet - Legalization of the clinic


The question of the location of the clinic or veterinary hospital is relative. Ideally, a clinic near your home is the most indicated to avoid the stress of travelling with the animal and the time it takes to get to the clinic in case of emergency. However, driving a few extra miles may be worth it to receive better services. You will always have to assess the pros and cons.

Many veterinary clinics have home service! If you have an animal with locomotion problems or that gets stressed during trips, this can be an excellent option.

Visit the facilities

You can directly ask for an appointment at the clinic, before going with your pet, to visit the facilities. Most clinics will show you their facilites (of course you should not expect a guided tour around the hospital, especially if it's a busy day and you have not scheduled a meeting beforehand). I'm sure they will explain all the features that the clinic has. Take the opportunity to ask which emergency services are available, how many veterinarians work at the clinic, which are their veterinary specialties and majors, if they have x-rays at the clinic or if they will be done in another if necessary.

Why is it important to ask about conditions? The more equipment they have the better the facility is for your pet. It will be much more comfortable to perform additional tests in the same practice than to have to move when there is an emergency. However, most clinics that don't have a particular service have agreements with other facilities. This is not a determining factor but it is important to consider like all other things mentioned.

This first visit, without your pet, allows you to also see the mood at the clinic immediately. Do you feel well taken care of? Is everybody friendly and happy at work? These points are just as important as the skills and clinical services. If all goes well, you will keep on going to this vet for many years and it is crucial that you feel well taken care of!

How to Choose a Good Vet - Visit the facilities


As we just mentioned, friendliness and the way they treat you as a client must be valued. Take into consideration the personality of the veterinarian. It is very important that you like your veterinarian's attitude, towards both you and your pet. Just so you will have total confidence in them if something happens one day with your little and need to leave your beloved pet at the clinic.

More than a veterinarian who "knows everything", you want a humble veterinarian! All veterinarians, no matter how many years of experience they have behind, have their limitations. A good vet knows their limitations and recognize when a case requires more than their own knowledge, and will thus be the first to suggest you seek a specialist. In other words, a good vet is not necessarily one that quickly diagnoses a complex heart problem in your animal, but acknowledges that it is best to recommend a colleague who specializes in cardiology to accompany a case that he alone will not be able to solve!


Your vet's specialty or specialized field is essential. Medical vets are increasingly walking towards specialization, in the same way human medicine is. Before thinking in terms of specialization in cardiology, neurology, etc terms, think of the animal in question.

If you have a reptile, bringing him to a horse veterinarian is not the best choice. Look for a vet that is a specialist in your animal. Today there are already exclusive clinics for exotic animals, only for cats, etc. Some clinics offer services for several different animals. You must ensure that your pet receives attention from an expert in this animal!

Veterinarians are always studying and refreshing their knowledge. Check your clinic's website for information on your vet. You can even search your vet's license and specialization online and view the courses and his credentials.

If your pet has a particular problem, such as the previous example, regarding Cardiology, it will be beneficial to search a specialist in this area. Of course, the price of an expert will probably be higher, but there's no better investment than the health of your pet.

How to Choose a Good Vet - Specialty

24-hour emergency

The 24-hour care service is important because you never know when your pet will need immediate assistance. If your vet choice does not have this service, ask your vet to contact one just in case. Like the other factors, you should not exclude a clinic if they don't have this service but it is essential to be prepared and have a phone number always at hand in case of affliction.


The price should not be a determining factor in choosing a vet. It is extremely complicated to compare prices of medical services because they vary greatly in practice. A clinic may even offer cheaper prices on vaccinations and be more expensive when it is necessary to assist an emergency, for example.

In addition, is paying 50 dollars for the service of a less competent professional than one that charges 80 really worth it? Your animal's health is priceless! This does not mean that a veterinarian that charges less is worse than a professional who charges more. Each case is different and this is why you must prioritize is the quality! Most veterinarians will always present a budget before moving on with any treatment. Unfortunately, not all people have the economic conditions to finance some treatments and veterinarians deal with this reality on a daily basis.

Some important questions to ask the clinic in this sense are:

  • What methods of payment do you accept?
  • Do you accept credit?
How to Choose a Good Vet - Price

Other services

Other services that the clinic may have can be a bonus! Currently, many clinics already have professionals specialized in hair-styling and nails. Some even have an associated hotel and dog trainer service.

Some cat clinics, for example, already have so-called "kitty classes" that promote the socialization of kittens!

Be a good customer!

If you want to be treated well by your veterinarian, you must also be a good customer! This does not imply just being a good guardian to your animal. You must promote and encourage a good relationship with your vet. After all, it's in their hands that you will leave your best friend!

Listen carefully to all the advice and tips from your vet. If they are saying anything it's because it is important for you to listen and apply their words! Sometimes, the vet is saying too much information at the same time and you may find it difficult to follow ... let them know! A good vet will have no problem in slowing the pace of information or even writing it down for you! Don't be shy to ask as many times as you need to until it is clear.

Don't expect the vet to do what you wouldn't expect a mechanic to do when reviewing your car. I mean, you wouldn't ask your mechanic to take a look at your car without paying, right? Yes, the vet also has bills to pay, also has a family and the equipment and drugs don't pay for themselves. If you have economic problems, talk openly with your veterinarian. Most veterinarians have options and more accessible ways for people with less economic conditions to pay for services.

Cherish your veterinarian's work and their opinion. If your vet has prescribed specific treatment, don't tell them the home remedy your neighbor told you about must be better! What your vet is doing is everything they know and giving their best to save your best friend.

Check the visiting times and use the emergency service only when it really is so. Going to the vet at 5 A.M. to vaccinate a dog is not an emergency. Veterinarians are also humans and need to rest to have 100% energy to take care of our best friends!

How to Choose a Good Vet - Be a good customer!

The most important thing-Trust!

Most importantly, trust your veterinarian. This confidence must be reciprocal and you should not lie to your vet under any circumstances. You must remember it's your pet's health that is at stake. He has no way of talking and you're his voice! Any detail that you can explain can be useful to reach a correct diagnosis and define the treatment that will cure your pet.

If you've found a veterinarian you trust the health of your best friend with fully, don't search anymore! If on the other hand, you are not satisfied with the service or just looking for a second opinion, don't hesitate! As in human medicine, there is no problem to get a second and third opinion about your animal!

How to Choose a Good Vet - The most important thing-Trust!

If you want to read similar articles to How to Choose a Good Vet, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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Levi Armstrong
I like your advice about choosing a veterinarian that is an expert in your particular animal pet. My husband plans to give our son a pet frog since he has been asking for one for a long time. I'll follow your advice and make sure we choose a veterinarian that is an expert with amphibian pets.
It was helpful when you mentioned that you should pay attention to the prices of a vet before you hire them. My wife and I have been talking about finding a vet to help us with our puppy. When we look for one, I will be sure to check their prices.
drake welsh
I thought it was helpful that you suggested to choose a vet who you could trust. My wife and I have been talking about getting help to figure out what is going on with our dog. When we look for a vet, I will be sure to look for one who we could trust in.
Easton Memmott
I liked the tip you gave under the section of being a good customer: to develop a good relationship with your vet. I am bringing my sweet dog to the vet soon to get a checkup and I want to make sure that everything goes over well. I will be sure to be extra nice to the vet so that they will have an easy time taking care of my dog.
Duncan Lance
Twenty-four hour emergency service really is one of the biggest things you need to look for when choosing a vet clinic. After all, you want to make sure that your pet can get the help it needs whenever there is a problem. It might even help to talk to the vet about any emergency services they might offer for special patients that need it.
Bobby Saint
You made a good point when you said to verify the legalization of the clinic as one way to find a good veterinarian and animal hospital for your pet. It is important that you choose one that is legally authorized to operate their business in the area. You may also want to check if the veterinarian himself is accredited by an institution or has undergone the required training and certification for treating animals. This would give you some peace of mind that you are dealing with a licensed professional. If I were to look for an animal hospital and veterinarian, I would make sure to take this into account. Thanks.
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How to Choose a Good Vet