Our dogs are our best friends. When considering options for their veterinary care, the decision should be weighed heavily. There are many veterinary clinics available in most areas and you should to be sure you choose a doctor for your dog that you can trust and count on. After all, you’re putting your dog’s health and well being in their hands!

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is a reliable resource for learning which veterinary hospitals meet the standards of high-quality care. Their accreditation reporting takes into account all factors. According to AAHA.org, “Hospitals that are accredited by AAHA meet high veterinary care standards. Each hospital voluntarily completes a detailed evaluation of its services and equipment.” You can visit the AAHA website to look-up local veterinarians in your area that meet or exceed their list of standards.

Here are some things to consider when looking for a veterinarian:

Ask friends and family.
Get recommendations from friends or family members that you know feel the same way about their pets as you do. If you consider your pet a member of your family and want only the best for them, you should ask for vet suggestions from people who think the same way.

Find a vet that shares your philosophies.
It is important to find a veterinarian that shares in your philosophies of preventive health care and is a willing to be an active participant in meeting your pet’s healthcare needs.

Call around.
You can easily get a feel for a facility by calling in and speaking with the staff. Are they willing to answer your questions? Are they polite and courteous? Do they seem knowledgeable?

Don’t be put off by a busy waiting room.
Especially in an area with many veterinary options, a busy waiting room could be a good sign! If there are many people seeking the care of the same veterinarian in a well-run office, it might be a sign that you have found a trusted doctor.

Take a tour.
Once you think you’ve found the right vet, don’t hesitate to ask them for a tour. If they have nothing to hide, they’ll most likely be proud to give you a glimpse of their facility. A tour will give you the opportunity to see that the facility is clean, that the patients seem content, that the staff is friendly, and that the equipment is up to date.

Get acquainted.
Rather than waiting until your pet has an emergency or falls ill, schedule time to get acquainted with your new vet beforehand. A meeting will allow your pet to meet with their new doctor, and will give you the chance to engage with the staff to ensure it’s a great fit. It is important to feel that you and your vet will have an effective partnership in your dog’s health. Communication between you and your veterinarian is key!

If you already have a trusted veterinarian, but are planning to move away, ask them for a recommendation of a vet in your new area. Most vets have connections through their veterinary network and won’t have any qualms about suggesting a trusted vet.