New Puppy Boot Camp: Choosing a Vet

Aside from a puppy’s parents, the most important human in his or her life is their doctor. Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet can be hard. There are so many options out there and deciding who to hand the important task of caring for your pup to can be a difficult decision.
For those who haven’t had pets in the past, we recommend narrowing your choices down to a few vets and scheduling a consult or introduction with each. The Internet or the phonebook are two excellent resources for discovering vets in your area. Asking friends and family, neighbors or even the manager at your local pet store for recommendations is another way to approach you search. (If you’ve hit a wall or need some extra input, let us know. We’d be more than happy to recommend someone nearby.)
Visiting prospective veterinarians gives you the opportunity to meet potential vets and their staff, visit each practice and hear about their unique philosophies and approaches to veterinary care.
It’s important to meet your pup’s doctor first because you want to ensure that you have good communication and understand each other. After you know that you feel comfortable with this person you can move on to asking the question that really matters: how are they going to care for your new puppy?
The first few years of a dog’s life are very important. During this time they receive the majority of their vaccinations and begin crucial stages of growth and development. (Not to mention curiosity tends to get them into a bit of trouble!) Ask potential vets about their vaccination schedule, emergency care services, in-house abilities (are tests and x-rays done at the facility? Or do they refer you to a specialist?), and how much do their services cost? Take in the friendliness of the staff, wait time, upkeep of the building and cleanliness. If it helps you to remember, take notes. This will help you compare later.
Looking for a bonus perk to break a tie of two worthy contenders? Inquire about their AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Membership. Acquiring this voluntary membership means a vet and his or her facility have met the standards upheld by the AAHA.