How to Find a Veterinarian for Your Dog

When it comes to finding a veterinarian, the sooner the better. In fact, if you're getting ready to get a new dog, it's a great idea to decide on a veterinarian even before you bring him home for the first time. When your dog is sick or hurt, you want to be able to get him the help he needs right away and not waste precious time searching for a veterinarian.

Finding the right veterinarian for your dog can be time consuming, but it is well worth it. When your furry friend is in need of medical attention, you will be glad to place him in the hands of someone you know and trust.

To begin your search, ask friends and family who own dogs for referrals. Other referral sources may include obedience schools, dog groomers, breeders, or boarding kennels. Once you have one or more referrals, you can check out the different clinics. Most dog owners feel more comfortable choosing a veterinarian once they've seen the clinic and had the opportunity to meet the staff and ask any questions they might have.

It's a good idea to ask about the clinic's regular office hours. If your schedule is very busy, a clinic with flexible hours might hold more appeal for you. You should also ask how emergencies are handled, both during office hours and at other times, like if your dog needs emergency care on a holiday, will someone be available? Also, what specific services do they offer? X-rays? Ultrasound? Endoscopy? Surgery? Not all veterinarians offer the same services. If the clinic you are most interested in does not offer every service you would like yours to have, ask if they will refer you to a specialist if the need arises.

Once you find a clinic you love, make sure you are equally happy with the doctor. Every veterinarian is different, and it's important that you are confident enough in yours to be willing to leave your sick or injured dog in her hands. She should be knowledgeable and friendly, willing to really listen to you and address any of your questions or concerns. In the case of an illness or injury, she should always explain the diagnosis and treatment in a way that you can understand and be willing to clarify if necessary. Also, your veterinarian and the rest of the clinic staff should treat your dog with kindness and respect.

Every veterinary clinic is unique, which is good because every dog owner is also unique. Do some research, and you will find the clinic and doctor that are a perfect fit for you and your dog.


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