A visit to the vet is part and parcel of owning any animal – and especially a dog. Whether you need to deworm them, get bloodwork done, or take care of a troublesome allergy, it’s always a good idea to have a preferred supplier in your area.

That said, the closest veterinary practice isn’t necessarily the best one. In the article to follow, we’ll give you six things to think about when you shop around.

Do they have the right to practice?

In order to be a licensed vet, someone needs to obtain a degree in veterinary medicine, and then a license to practice. Professionals are technically doctors, as they earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

It’s actually very hard to get into veterinary school, as there are only 33 in the United States that are accredited by the AVMA Council on Education. In short, when you choose a licensed professional, you’re in safe hands.

Do they have a good reputation in the area?

Often, the best way to determine whether something is good or not is to hear what other people have to say. Word of mouth is a reliable predicter of quality, so chat to people in your neighborhood (who own animals) to get their verdict.

What do Google reviews say?

Googling a business is a great way of unearthing more information. For a start, if the practice doesn’t have a website, or the website is shoddily maintained, this might be a warning sign. But if the site is working properly and there are reviews you can read, take your time to comb through what’s said. 99% of these are genuine customers who want to share their experience with the wilder world.

Do they offer specialisms, or are they best suited to standard work?

If your dog needs an MRI, or complicated surgery, your vet might not have the equipment or skills to take on the work. In these instances, they’ll refer you to a specialist nearby. If you’d prefer to sidestep this, opt for a practice that has a veterinary anesthesiologist and ophthalmologist.

What are they like with your dog?

Most vets are ultra comfortable around animals, and instantly put a dog or a cat at ease. That said, watch their bedside manner when you arrive for the first time. It’s also worth looking at the staff in general – do they seem happy to be there? Are they good with your dog? Reassuring?

Are the prices reasonable?

According to Wellness, most trips to the vet shouldn’t be more than $400.

For various ailments, you can expect to pay:

  • Fecal exam: $25-$45
  • Heartworm test: $45-$50
  • Dental cleaning: $70-$400
  • Allergy testing: $195-$250 for skin test, $200-$300 for blood test
  • Geriatric screening: $85-$110

Ask your vet for a quote before you commit to taking the dog to the practice. Prices can vary, but you want a ballpark figure in mind before you make up your mind.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is new-customer-banner.png