A great place to begin your search for a vet is to ask family and friends who they use, and why. The “why” is important. Some people choose a vet based solely on proximity or budget, without evaluating the job he performs. My vet is not the most convenient one to me, but his knowledge, professionalism, caring and commitment to my animals make the drive worthwhile. If someone can give you this type of recommendation for their vet, he or she is certainly one to investigate.

Once you have a list of vets to consider, begin making contact with them. Prepare a list of questions, and make a phone call to the practice. Is the person who answers friendly and polite? Does he answer your questions easily, or seem to resent your questions? If the person you’re talking with seems harried, or places you on hold, be patient and consider the possibility that something out of the ordinary is going on that day. Ask if he could call you back when things calm down, and see if he does.

Find out how many vets are in the practice, and whether or not you can the same one each visit. I prefer this, as it allows my dog to be comfortable with his doctor, and his doctor to know what is normal for my dog. It’s important to me that other vets are available though, in case my primary vet is out of the office when my dog needs to be seen.