Updated: Oct 22, 2018
Maybe you’re new to the area or you have a new pet and now you have the task of locating a veterinarian to take care of your furry family member(s). You flip to the Yellow Pages or open Google and scour the internet looking through the vast listings of veterinarians available in your area. You ask your neighbors and each one has a different veterinarian. How do you choose which one?
There is no "one-size-fits-all" correct answer to this question. It will vary from person to person, location to location, and pet to pet. What aspects of a veterinarian, veterinary hospital, or veterinary staff are important to you when caring for your pet? Do you prefer someone soft-spoken or someone who’s more direct? Do you prefer a more advanced hospital with a vast array of diagnostics available to them in-house, such as abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy, or a laser for surgery? Would holistic and alternative therapies in veterinary medicine benefit you more? Are business hours important for you to consider (i.e., open after 5 PM, open on Saturdays late or on Sundays)? Do you prefer a hospital that takes emergency phone calls from their clients after-hours or are you okay with referral to a fully-staffed veterinary emergency clinic? Does location of the clinic or curb/aesthetic appeal matter to you?
Ask yourself these questions when determining which veterinary hospital to visit. A hospital's website may answer many questions you have and give you some idea about whether or not the hospital is the right fit for you and your pet. It's okay to ask for tours of veterinary hospitals prior to making a decision on which facility you'd like to use. A hospital tour gives you a chance to see the facility, ask questions in person, meet the staff and perhaps meet the doctors.
Each pet owner places value on certain factors and those factors are not all the same - just as veterinary hospitals are not all the same. The most important thing is that you find a veterinarian who you can trust and who complements your values for the management of your pet.