How to Choose Your Pet’s Veterinarian and Hospital

February 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Choose a veterinarian

Choosing a veterinarian is not something to be taken lightly. As a good pet mommy or daddy, you want the very best for your fur-baby. Here are some tips on what you should look for when choosing a veterinarian and pet hospital.

Look for AAHA Accredited and Fear-Free Certified Facilities

Hospitals that are AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) have to meet rigorous standards in order to qualify and are audited every three years. Can you believe that only 12-15% of all American veterinary hospitals are certified?

Here are just a few criteria that are required of AAHA accredited veterinary hospitals:

  • Installation of special ventilation systems to stop air-borne illnesses from spreading
  • Eco-friendly requirements
  • Meet set standards in dentistry, surgical, and patient care guidelines

Along with looking for AAHA accreditation, look for Fear-Free certified hospitals as well. Let's face it- getting poked, prodded, and being given shots is not fun for anyone, especially pets.

Being Fear-Free certified is much more than giving your pet treats and pats on the head. Being Fear-Free certified includes:

  • Using pheromones and pet calming music in exam rooms to help calm your pet
  • Allow pets to roam around the exam room and "own" the room
  • Encourage clients to bring in their pets favorite toys to ease stress

It's Not Just About Smiles

When you go to visit a pet clinic or hospital, being greeted by a smile is great, but the friendliness and care shouldn't stop there. How the rest of the staff welcomes and treats you, and your pet is just as important.

How are you treated after your visit? Does the hospital send out reminders for vaccinations, provide seminars and have involvement in the community?

Is the Hospital Open When You Need It?

All veterinary offices are open from 9am to 5pm, or something close to that. Those hours aren't always convenient for working families. And most emergencies certainly do not happen during regular business hours. So when choosing a pet clinic or hospital, make sure their hours of operation work with your schedule or that they provide after-hours emergency services.

Services Your Pet Needs (or May Need)

There are certain breeds that have known medical problems. Hip dysplasia is common in Bulldogs, English Mastiff, St. Bernards and other large breed dogs. Knee problems common in Pomeranians, dachshunds, toy and miniature poodles, Yorkshire terriers and other smaller breeds. And most small dog breeds are known to have dental issues. If your pup has any known issues, make sure your vet can treat them, and can even offer tips on how to prevent these medical issues.

Recommendations Based On Other's Experiences

Friends and family recommendations are great, but if you're new to town, get on social media and find out what others have to say. Read the good and the bad reviews to get a clear picture of the staff and facility. Also, look for any responses from the vet or hospital trying to resolve any issues.

There are many factors to consider, so do your research and ask questions. If you have any questions that the doctors or staff at Intermountain Pet Hospital can help with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.