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Choosing a veterinarian for your dog

 Next to you and your family, a veterinarian is the most important person in your dog’s life. You want to make sure your veterinarian is providing the best care possible because he or she is responsible for your dog’s health and well-being. So what's the process and criteria to select a vet?

Ask for vet recommendations. One of the best ways to find a vet is through a friend's recommendation. Ask one or two close friends what clinic they use and their impressions of the vet.

Research vets in the area. Also, you can search in the phone book and through the Internet. Select a few practices in your area and call to see if you can come by to introduce yourself and take a brief tour. You don’t need to bring your dog for an initial visit.

You will be entrusting your dog’s life to these people. It’s important that you feel comfortable with them. Here are other considerations:

  • Is the facility clean?
  • Is the staff professional?
  • Are the staff and vets friendly and approachable?
  • What is the clinic's policy for emergency care?
  • How easy is it to schedule an appointment?

Most veterinary clinics have one vet and several vet technicians. Veterinary practices with more than one veterinarian are becoming more common, however, because they allow several skill sets within one clinic. One is not necessarily better than the other.

Cost is also a factor in determining the treatment. Veterinary care can be expensive, so it’s important to ask about options such as pet insurance once you have selected your dog's clinic.

In the end, take a tip from your dog and follow your instincts. You want a veterinarian who cares deeply about animals, especially your dog. Your vet frequently will be the first line of contact for many of the trials and tribulations that arise with dog ownership. Use your best judgment and choose someone who allows you to communicate openly and honestly.

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