Since you do not have much time to spend researching for the ideal veterinarian once you have your dog, it is a good idea to do your search ahead of time, before you bring the puppy home. But before you reach over for your phone book, check out for other resources and find out what you can get “through the grapevine”.
First, see if your breeder can recommend you to his or her vet. Also ask for recommendations from other dog owners that you can trust. You can learn a lot from their experiences, but use your own judgment because their opinions are going to be subjective and may not necessarily be accurate.
If you do not know anyone who owns a dog, your next bet is to go to the Yellow Pages or go to the Internet and look for vets in your area. Below are 3 factors to consider when choosing the right vet.
1. Is the vet close to your home? Try to find an office as close to your home as possible, preferably within a 10 minute driving distance. It’s very important to know that help is just a few miles away, especially during an emergency.
2. If your dog is suffering from a specific type of health problem, such as cancer or some kind of behavioral problem, look for a vet who specializes in that type of field.
3. Similar to human health care, veterinary care is either done in a small practice (where you are able to see the same vet on every visit throughout your dog’s life), or a large practice (where you get to see the first available vet on duty). In a small practice, your vet will be able to get to know your pet on a more personal level. This will help him with his diagnosis and keep track of your dog’s health better in the long run.
On the other hand, it may be more practical to choose a vet that belongs to a large practice because it is quicker to get an appointment in an office where there are more doctors available. This is crucial, especially during an emergency.