When bringing a new puppy into your home, one of the first orders of business should be to choose a puppy vet that will oversee your puppy’s health.  There are a number of shots and vaccinations that need to be given to a young puppy and many cities have mandatory rabies vaccination requirements, so for both legal reasons and for your puppy’s health, you should not delay.

Where to Get Puppy Vet Recommendations

While you can always get names and numbers of veterinarians from the Yellow Pages or an internet directory, those sources will not usually provide you with information on whether the vet is good or not.  Instead, look for recommendations from people who have a pet such as friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers.

Some dog breeds have a propensity for certain genetic defects.  If your puppy is purebred, another good source is checking with breed associations, club members for your dog’s breed, or dog show attendees.   Another good resource for finding quality and economical vet care is by asking for referrals from local rescue groups.

Types of Veterinarians

As with medical doctors, veterinary practices widely vary.  Some veterinarians have general practices.  If it is an animal, they will treat it.  Others specialize either in treating certain types of animals or areas of practice.  For example, some may only treat small animals and others only certain types of pets.  There are also veterinary urgent care clinics as well as mobile vet clinics.

What to Ask Your Veterinarian

Once you have narrowed down the veterinarians to those that meet your criteria, the next step is to find out more in detail information about their practice.  A few questions to ask are:

  • What are your office hours?
  • How many people are on staff?
  • What are office visit fees?
  • What forms of payment are accepted?
  • Do they accept pet insurance?
  • Are you open on evenings and weekends?
  • Do you have a call line for questions?
  • How long does it normally take to get in for an appointment?
  • What types of services are available?  Do they offer general exams, surgery, dentistry,  lab tests, nutritional counseling, behavioral recommendations,  or any other specialized services?

As you are talking to the veterinarian’s office, take note of the following:

  • How quickly was your phone call answered?
  • Does the staff seem courteous?
  • Were you given a choice of doctor?
  • Were all of your questions answered satisfactorily?

While screening veterinarians for your puppy may take some time, the time spent is an investment into your dog’s well being.  Your puppy vet will be your partner in maintaining your dog’s health for his lifetime.