How to Choose the Right Veterinarian

By: James O'Bryan, DVM

TVMA Member
Paris, TX

Published October 2016

When choosing a veterinarian for your family pets, use the same care and criteria you would for selecting a physician or dentist. Your goal should be to find the veterinarian whom you believe can best meet your pet’s medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term veterinarian-client-patient relationship. But where do you start?

Think about what is important to you—location, office hours, payment options and the range and quality of products and services offered. Probably the most important factor when choosing a veterinarian is the friendliness and commitment of the doctors and staff.

Professional Association Websites Recommend Reputable Veterinarians

When you search for a veterinarian using a veterinary medical association website, like the Texas Veterinary Medical Association or the American Veterinary Medical Association, the sites often allow you to sort and filter various options. This method helps you find the veterinarian that best suits your pet’s needs by evaluating factors like services provided, species treated and location. Finding a veterinarian through a professional association indicates the veterinarian is affiliated with a reputable group of professionals with an endless amount of resources. These veterinarians have access to the latest advances and knowledge in veterinary medicine.

Advice From Pet Owners Is Invaluable

Ask other pet owners what makes their veterinarians stand out among the rest. It may be beneficial to ask specific questions about their visits, looking for any good or bad experiences they may have had. Perhaps they have considered using another veterinarian or know of another pet owner that may have other recommendations for them as well.

After some research, you will probably have a list of several veterinarians in your area that examine and treat the type of animal you have, but how do you know which one to choose? Now it’s time to do some legwork and go visit the veterinary practices in-person. During your visit, ask yourself some questions:

  • What was your initial impression when you walked in?
  • Were there any unpleasant odors?
  • Is the waiting room clean and organized?
  • Were you and your pet greeted by the front desk staff?
  • Did you feel welcomed upon your arrival?
  • What is the range of medical services the practice provides, and are they willing to give you a tour?
  • Are there non-medical services available such as boarding, grooming and training?

And most importantly, is this a place where you feel comfortable bringing your pet and leaving him or her with the staff and doctors? You want to know your pet will receive the best medical care and be treated just like you treat him or her.

Research Pays Off In The Search For A Quality Veterinarian

The veterinarian you choose should care about you and your pet and should be willing to sit down and answer all of your questions. Taking the time to go visit veterinary practices prior to scheduling your first appointment can really pay off. When you leave with a feeling of confidence and comfort, congratulations—you have found your veterinarian!

James O'Bryan, DVM, is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine who lives in Paris, Texas. Dr. O'Bryan practices at Paris Veterinary Associates in Paris, Texas, which is a new clinic in Lamar County.