How to Choose an Animal Hospital

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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Whether you have a horse or a large dog, a rabbit or a reptile, if you are the owner of animal, you undoubtedly treat her like a part of your family. You wouldn’t trust your human loved ones with an unqualified or inexperienced doctor, and as a responsible and loving owner, finding an animal hospital and veterinary professionals that is AAHA accredited that you can trust should be an immediate priority.

Nevertheless, with so many animal hospitals to choose from, how do you know which can provide the services you need and the care that your pet deserves? Finding the right animal care provider can feel like a daunting process, but there are some guidelines which you can follow, which will help you to find an animal hospital that is right for your unique needs.

Ask around for recommendations

If you have friends or family in the area who have similar pets to yours, what better way to find a great animal hospital than to ask for a personal recommendation? This is particularly useful if you have a more exotic or unusual pet, as not all veterinarians may have extensive experience with these types of animals. Even if you can’t get a specific recommendation, you may get a feel for which practices to avoid.

Read Reviews

If you don’t have any friends that live in the area and can provide a recommendation, read reviews online about the various vet clinics near you. Websites like Yelp and Google provide great platforms for customers to share their experiences.

Read through as many of the reviews as possible to get a good sense of what people say. While no vet practice is perfect, you want to choose a clinic or hospital that is highly reviewed by the majority of people.

Consider if your pet needs any specialist facilities

Just like humans, many pets have chronic health conditions and other health problems like ear mites, some of which require specialist facilities and advanced levels of care. For example, your pet may require cardiology equipment or orthopedic services in order for her to live a long, healthy, and happy life. This is something that you will need to consider when it comes to choosing the right animal hospital for your pet.

Visit the practice

While an animal hospital may look great on paper, you can only really get a feel for the environment and staff by visiting the animal practice and taking a tour of the facility. Any quality practice team will take the time to make you and your pet feel welcomed and valued and answer any questions that you may have.

Some of the most commonly asked questions that you may wish to consider asking include:

  • What are your office hours, and do you offer out-of-hours emergency care?
  • Can I email your administration team and veterinarians?
  • How long does it usually take to get an appointment?
  • Am I able to request to see a specific vet?
  • Do you have a relationship with any specialists that you can refer my animal to if necessary?
  • Do you offer grooming and boarding?
  • What happens if my pet needs to stay in your care? If I can leave my dog alone after surgery?
  • What insurance plans do you accept? Do you offer payment plans of your own?

As veterinary care is such an important part of your pet’s overall well-being, it is important that you find a practice that has staff that you can build a rapport with and develop trust. Follow the tips above, trust your instincts and you will soon find an animal hospital with which you can form a trusting relationship, and feel reassured that your pet is in safe and caring hands. ​