How to Properly Vet a Vet

How to Properly Vet a Vet

Finding the right vet for your pet is one of those adult tasks that measures right up there with scheduling regular dentist appointments and cross-comparing auto insurance quotes. Not exactly free margaritas on the Appeal Scale. Maybe you’ve been putting the task off because you’re not quite sure how to go about it? If that’s the case, we’re here to hold your hand through the process and hook you up with a clear-cut checklist of tasks and questions.


  • Ask a few pet parents you look up to. Right now, text a few of your local friends whose level of pet care you admire. Ask them, “Are you happy with your pet’s vet? Would you recommend her/him?” This can give you valuable data either way. You’ll have a few names to either pursue or avoid.

  • Visit and pop in your zip code and the amount of miles you’d like to scour. This will give you a handful of local options that are AAHA accredited, meaning the facility is continuously evaluated by the American Animal Hospital Association as “operating at the highest standards of excellence in animal care.”  Look for the letters ABVP after the vet’s names. These letters let you know that this vet has continued education post-graduation and been certified by the American Veterinary Board of Practitioners.

  • Cross-reference this clinic and vet info with your friends’ recommendations and, voila, you’ve now narrowed your search.

  • Pour yourself a glass of wine. You’ve done some solid adulting already.

  • Dial up each of your prospects and ask a few questions. This should only take a few minutes and will give you a good idea of whether or not this facility is a good fit.

    • Are you accepting new patients? (This is an obvious non-starter if they’re full.)

    • Will I be able to make appointments with a specific veterinarian?

    • How long would I generally have to wait to make an appointment? (This should be no more than a week for a routine visit.)

    • What can you tell me about the facility? (You’re looking for humble brags about staff, equipment, continuing education, pet care, etc.)

    • Do you have a telephone policy? As in, if I have an important, but non-emergency question, can I call and talk to someone for help? (This is a biggie, so don’t forget to ask!)

    • Are all procedures done on site? (You don’t want any surprises if suddenly your pet is being transported without you knowing.)

    • Do you have a network of specialists? (The answer should be yes, not “well, we have Google.”)

    • Can I drop in for a tour? (If anybody hedges about giving you a tour of their facility, it’s Bye, Felicia.)

    • What is the average cost of an office visit? (It’s worth calling 2-3 facilities to compare because costs can range and price-gougers count on your ignorance.)

    • What forms of payment do you accept? (Credit card, cash, check, arms, legs, etc.)

  • Ask yourself out on a couple of dates--dates to visit one or two of your top choices. Setting aside the time is key, so pull on your grownup pants and enter this into your iCalendar. Ask a friend to come with you, if you like, and turn it into froyo-and-a-vet-visit. You can choose whether to schedule a visit with the office or just do a cold call. There are benefits to both, so suit yourself. If possible, take your pet with you. This is helpful to get your pet’s reaction to the place, and also super nice for your pet to have experiences at the vet where they are not being poked or probed or castrated.

  • Pick a fave. You’ll probably be totally confident and excited in at least one of your choices, so go ahead and sign up. Schedule your first check up, even if it should be months away. And if, by chance, the search didn’t produce a good pick, you’ve got all the tools to start over and find a good fit. Lather, rinse, repeat, as they say.

  • Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself another glass of wine. You nailed this one. Now let’s talk about your car insurance rates. KIDDING!



The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out

Gabby Slome

Gabby Slome

NYC native. Certified canine nutritionist. Equestrian. World traveler. Columbia Business School grad. Healthy eater. Mom to the best mutt in the world, (well according to me), Pancho.


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