Choosing a veterinarian for your pet is like choosing a pediatrician for your child. After all, man’s best friend deserves the best. Not only do you want your dog’s doctor to be an expert with all of the latest skills and knowledge on canine health, but you also want him to have a “bedside manner” and have rapport with your pet. You also want him to have the latest in veterinary equipment so that he or she can handle any pet condition or emergency that comes along.

When choosing a veterinary office for your dog’s care, you should consider whether the doctor’s office is convenient to your home and has adequate office hours to meet your needs. Is there more than one veterinarian in the office to cover times when your chosen vet is on vacation or away from the office? How large is the staff in the office and how do they treat you and your pet while you’re waiting to see the doctor? A good thing to do might be to stop in for an unexpected visit to the veterinary office to see if it runs smoothly and is clean and well-organized.

There are many ways to find a good veterinarian. Ask your family, friends, or neighbors who they use to care for their animals and if they are satisfied with his/her services. You can review your local yellow pages telephone directory or perform an internet search for veterinarians in your area. You might try calling local animal shelters, animal hospitals, or the humane society in your area to ask if they have a directory or recommend certain practitioners. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a couple of providers, you might consider contacting the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints and get a general feel for the reputation of the veterinary practice.

Just like physicians and hospitals for humans belong to accrediting agencies or are board certified in specialty areas, so are veterinarians. An American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) membership means that the veterinary practice has voluntarily pursued and met AAHA's standards in the areas of facility, equipment, and quality care. Veterinarians can become board certified in a specific area of veterinary medicine such as ophthalmology, surgery, or cardiology. You’ll want to ask if your vet has adequate experience with dogs or if he perhaps specializes in cats, horses, or other animals.

Once you’ve chosen the doctor to care for your dog, be sure to take your pet for regular preventive care and routine checkups rather than just when emergencies or illnesses occur. You’ll start to know when something seems out of the ordinary with your dog so you can recognize the first signs of illness. If your dog appears to be sick, don't wait until it is really sick before calling your vet. It is heartbreaking to both doctors and pet owners to see an animal die of an illness that could have been treated successfully if he’d been taken for care sooner.

When taking your pet to the vet, take him or her in a pet carrier or keep them on a leash while in the waiting room, to protect both your pet and other pets and people in the office. Consider the behavior exhibited by any technicians and members of the support staff. After all, might love your dog’s veterinarian but feel that his/her staff doesn’t treat you or your dog with respect.

Consider all of the factors that are important to you when deciding on the veterinarian who will be the caregiver for your pooch. The extra miles or higher prices will be worth it if your pet gets the care he deserves.

Author's Bio: 

Brian is an avid pet lover and is also a writer for Pet Super Store: Your one stop shop for dog stairs, dog kennels, and pet doors!