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Finding a Vet for Your Puppy or New Dog: Tips for the Pawfect Match

A vet with two Australian Shepherd puppies

So you just brought home that furry bundle of joy… Just as a baby needs a pediatrician–your new furry best friend, whether they be a pup or a full-grown doggo, needs a vet. And picking the right vet for your dog is just as important as finding the right doctor for your child. Unsure how to compare vets in your area? Here are some tips on finding the right vet for you and your forever friend.

Look for a Vet Before You Get Your Dog

Try to have a vet lined up before you bring your doggo home so that you can have them started with the right dog food and vaccinations from day one. If you have already brought your puppy or adoptee home, you are already a little behind, but don’t stress! You can still find the pawfect vet for your best friend.

Where Do You Find Your Vet?

All it takes is a quick Google search to see there are a number of veterinarians available. However, you want to pick the right one for you and your doggo. Here are some easy ways to cut through the veterinary clutter to find a reliable, reputable, and pawfect vet:

Ask Around

Ask family, friends and acquaintances. Talking with people in your life can provide you with great insight into a veterinary practice’s pros and cons. Unlike reading reviews, you can ask your friends and family questions–and you know they’re not just responding to one-off occurrences. 

Look Online

Google reviews and a vet’s website can provide you with a wealth of information. As you read through reviews, keep in mind that many pet parents only leave reviews after negative experiences–so, they may skew a bit more negatively than the practice deserves. However, note when there’s a pattern of positives or a pattern of issues that dog parents experience.

When looking at vets online, don’t just read their Google reviews–also check out their websites (and social media). A vet’s website will give you a sneak peek into the atmosphere of the clinic, so you know what to expect. 


When it comes to your doggo’s vet–location matters. The closer your vet is, the more convenient your visits will be. Plus, if you need to get there quickly in case of emergency, having your vet just down the road makes a world of difference.

How Big Is the Practice?

When comparing vet practices, decide if you prefer a larger clinic with many vets or a smaller ‘mom-and-pop’ style practice. Smaller clinics allow your dog to create a stronger bond with the vet while larger clinics may offer greater availability, scheduling-wise. 

Are They Friendly?

A friendly, smiling vet with a min pin

A veterinarian’s medical ability is a no-brainer when choosing a vet. However, a welcoming, understanding, friendly environment makes a huge difference as well. Visiting the vet can be quite stressful for your dog and for you–so, having an accommodating staff can turn a stressful experience into a fruitful appointment. A warm smile goes a long way, after all. 

Are They Expensive?

A major factor in deciding if a vet is right for your furry family is how much they charge for their services–and these charges can vary wildly. While most vets do not put their prices on their websites, you can always call and inquire about the cost of an initial exam, including labs.

Is It Easy to Get Appointments?

When you first bring your new best friend home, establishing veterinary care is a high priority. Your vet needs to have a baseline of your dog’s health in order to better evaluate their condition should they become sick or stumble into trouble. Because of this, you want to be able to easily make an appointment without waiting too long. Ideally, you and your doggo can get in within a week or so.

What Are Their Specialties?

Your dog may not need a specialist when you bring them home. However, some breeds have a higher predisposition to certain conditions, such as joint dysplasia, allergies, or breathing problems. Choosing a vet that specializes in one of these fields can save you from having to find a specialist in the future.

When you adopt an adult dog, they may come with their own special needs. If so, finding a vet that can provide general plus specialized care is vital.

Accreditation, Certifications, and Awards

When it comes to the quality of care, the proof is often in the accolades. Comparing a vet’s awards, accreditation, and certifications can give you peace of mind that they’re truly worth their weight in puppy kisses and care!

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions

Before you get your dog, visit the veterinarian’s facility. And do not be shy about advocating and asking questions.

Here are some questions to ask:

      • What is your philosophy regarding things like spay/neutering and euthanasia?
      • Are you open on the weekend?
      • Are you available for emergencies?
      • Do you refer to specialists?
      • What are your hours?
      • Do you accept walk-ins?
      • Do you accept insurance?
      • Do you offer dental care?
      • How much do you charge for an office visit? 
      • Can you do tests and procedures on-site?
      • Do you have a pharmacy?
      • What are your payment policies?

Finally, Visit with Your Dog

A vet being held by their owner with a vet taking notes in the background

One of the best ways to truly get a feel for a veterinary practice is to do a test run. Bring your dog in for an initial visit and see how things go! Remember that you’re not obligated to stick to that vet, should the experience not quite live up to your expectations.

Was it easy to make the appointment?

When you make your appointment, note how easy it was to find a time that worked with your schedule. You will also want to evaluate if the receptionist provided you with the information you would want and need as a first-time patient. This can include how to check in when you arrive, what to bring, and what your anticipated cost will be.

How do the vet and staff relate to your dog?

Your doggo is a bark star! And they should be treated as such. Note how the vet techs and the doctor handle and talk to your dog. Taking their time is an excellent sign that they truly care about the health of your best friend.

Does the vet allow time for you to ask questions?

In addition to making your dog feel at ease, your vet and their team should also ensure you feel confident in the care they’re providing your doggo. This includes verifying that you understood the information they provided, including test results, and providing you with plenty of time to ask questions. 

A Great Vet is the Prescription for a Healthy, Happy Dog

Finding a vet for your puppy or new dog may feel a bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. As you sort through the possibilities, keep these tips in mind and know that every vet pledges to provide their patients with compassionate care. Plus, once you find your dog’s fur-ever vet, you will find that vet visits aren’t scary or stressful–but an opportunity to learn more about your best friend’s health and needs.