Find The Best Vet for Your Pet

Here are some tips for finding the best animal hospital for your furry friend.

Almost 70 percent of households in America have a furry companion in the home according to the American Pet Products Association.  Of those pets, 33 percent will need emergency veterinary treatment annually.

With that in mind, it can be very helpful to do some research on the best vet for your pet before an emergency pops-up. A good starting point is Checkbook –a non-profit organization that provides ratings for animal hospitals across the United States and in your local area based on surveys of area consumers.

Here are several factors Checkbook recommends evaluating when deciding which vet to pick for your pet. These criteria are also included in their ratings.

American Animal Hospital Association – AAHA’s Dr. Heather Loenser shares her top tips for how to pick the right veterinary hospital for your pet. Find an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital at

Convenient Location and Hours

For the sake of routine visits, emergencies and potential hospitalizations, choose a vet that is located near your house and is ideally open 24/7 for emergencies or at least has options to handle emergencies.

Limiting Wait Times

There is nothing worse than waiting in a room, while your dog suffers. Choose a vet that keeps office waiting time as short as possible.

Offering Advice by Phone

As a first line of defense a good animal hospital should be able to provide valuable advice on the phone to help you understand if an office visit is necessary.


The staff at the animal hospitalshould be able to communicate effectively with you about your dog’s health, treatment options and healthcare costs.

Showing Concern and Friendliness

A reputable animal hospital should have staff that display empathy, concern and passion for your pet or they are not a good fit.

Competence and Thoroughness

One of the most important criteria to consider is the competence and thoroughness of the animal hospital. For example, does the vet perform a thorough exam, take a complete medical history and follow-up after a visit or procedure.

Advice on Prevention and Home Care

Find an animal practice that helps you care for your pet by providing advice and helpful reading materials. The vet should offer advice on disease prevention, ways to spot health problems on your own, and tips on taking care of sick pets.


Before selecting an animal hospital ask for a tour of the facility from the reception area, treatment rooms to the cages and the areas where animals are temporarily held or boarded. Make sure you feel comfortable that your pet will receive the best care possible.


Make sure the facility is sterile and that waiting rooms and treatment rooms are clean and that staff wash hands and disinfect surfaces.

Hospital Accommodations

The animal hospital should have the facilities to house your dog for visits that require a prolonged stay – whether that is several hours, overnight or several days. The practice should be bright, clean, well-ventilated and keep animals separated during visits.


Check to see if your veterinary hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The accreditation ensures your vet meets certain minimum standards: maintaining adequate medical records and providing complete diagnostic, pharmacy, anesthetic, surgical, nursing, dental, and emergency service facilities. Find an accredited hospital by checking their website.

Limiting Costs

Review the prices of several of your local animal hospitals to ensure you pick one that offers the best services at fair prices.  Good animal hospitals value the care of your dog over dollars from extra and potentially unnecessary treatments. A good vet should be able to explain if a treatment is necessary and worth the cost.

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