Five ways to "vet" your veterinarian

  1. Talk with neighbors and other clients of the veterinarian. Selecting a veterinarian is like selecting a pediatrician. You will be the individual communicating with the veterinarian. Make certain you have a good working relationship.
  2. Are the doctors members of a professional veterinary association such as the American Veterinary Medical Association or a state or local veterinary association? What is the hospital policy regarding continuing education for the professional staff?
  3. Ask about your veterinarian's office operations. This includes who does procedures, how much services cost and payment options.
  4. Inquire about their experience with your particular type of pet.
  5. Ask about emergency care. When your pet has acute health issues in the middle of the night, you'll need to know where to call or go. Ask where you should go when things go wrong, and make sure you figure out how to get there BEFORE an emergency – you certainly don't want to be driving around asking for directions in an emergency situation.

Top 5 things to think of BEFORE you visit the veterinarian

You know how it is. You have a million questions about your pet before you get to the veterinary clinic but when asked, your mind is blank. Veterinarians rely on you to be your pet's voice. You need to keep your eyes and ears open so that you can report any changes in your pet's behavior to the veterinarian.

Sharing information about how your pet is behaving—including eating, drinking, sleep, urinating and/or passing stool—could help make a lifesaving diagnosis.

  1. Ask about vaccinations. Vaccinations are essential to your pet's health and should be tailored to your pet's lifestyle. A pampered high-rise dweller that never sets foot outside won't need the same vaccines as a mud hound forever rolling in the grass, even if they live across the street from each other.
  2. Ask about parasite prevention and control for fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms that is appropriate for the region of the country in which you live.
  3. Ask about proper behavior training and socialization. Many shelters report behavior problems as a primary reason people give up their pets. Your veterinarian can assist in evaluating your animal's disposition and provide advice and tips on how to appropriately train and socialize your pet.
  4. Ask about nutrition. What type of food should you feed your pet? What serving size is appropriate? And does their age impact what you should be feeding them? If your pet is overweight and, if it is, how you can get your pet back to a healthy weight as in humans, weight control for pets is essential for good health.
  5. If you have a pet older than 7 years of age, ask about senior care. Note any changes you've noticed in your pet's energy level, water intake, behavior or any lumps and bumps your pet has developed. Although many of the lumps and bumps are not problems, some of them are cause for concern. It's best to have all of them checked out, just to make sure. Older pets are more prone to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, dementia and other problems, and prevention and early detection of problems are essential to helping your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Lifetime of Love

From the moment you realize your pet is "the one," to the last tearful goodbye, your veterinarian helps you provide your pet with a lifetime of love. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of National Pet Week®, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) spotlights seven specific needs every pet owner must consider to ensure that their pet lives the longest, healthiest life possible. more > > >

Veterinary Toolkit

Veterinarians: Celebrate National Pet Week® in your clinic and on your social media feeds. The AVMA's free toolkit includes images, logos, event planning ideas, and much more.

Poster & Writing Contests

The Auxiliary holds an annual poster and writing contest around a selected theme for the year. more > > >

Survey says!

Discover top ten dog and cat owning states more > > >

Five Feline Fast Facts

There are 10 million more cats owned in America than dogs. more > > >

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