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How to Choose the Right Vet for Your Cat or Dog

How to Choose the Right Vet for Your Cat or Dog

It's very exciting to bring a new pet into your home. Now you have to locate a vet that can provide your new cat or dog with the quality care they require and deserve. Today our Houston County vets share some tips on how you can find the best veterinarian for your cat or dog. 

How to find the right vet for my pet?

You have just added a furry companion to the family (or you are looking for a new vet). There are many factors you need to take into consideration when you are looking for the best possible vet for you and your cat or dog that is qualified and can provide the appropriate medical veterinary care.

Here, our Houston County vets provide you with some valuable advice on how you can find the right veterinarian for your pet.

Ask Fellow Pet Owners & The Cat/Dog Community

Begin your search by talking to other pet owners you know in the area. What vet do they go to, and why? What qualities convinced them that was the vet for them? You can ask friends, family, groomers, even fellow pet parents in an obedience class or at the dog park.

We all cherish our four-legged friends, so you will probably come across some interesting and varied opinions, valuable information - and maybe even some important elements you haven't thought of considering.

Check Online Reviews

Then you can do a bit of detective work. Google and social media platforms can be your friends when it comes to looking for a new vet. What do the reviews on their website, social media channels, or Google My Business profile say?

Based on what clients say, are the vets attentive, punctual, knowledgeable, compassionate? Do they truly care about their patients? What about their office staff - are they polite and responsive?

While many practices may have one or two unhappy clients, you can consider it a red flag if you see consistent complaints that show a pattern of bad service, unprofessionalism, etc. Also, check for replies on the reviews - is the practice responsive to concerns, and are questions or concerns resolved in a timely manner?

An active presence online and on social media might mean the vets and staff will be similarly responsive in person.

Visit the Facility

Some key indicators to pay attention to outdoors and indoors are:


Practical considerations such as location, parking, and accessibility are probably at the top of your mind. Can you get to the office easily? Is the premises clean and accessible? Is parking safe and convenient? Is the office in a safe neighborhood?

Visit the office during the times you’ll most likely be scheduling appointments for because this is the only way you will be able to find out if surprise factors such as traffic congestion or scarce parking around the office make it a no-go.


You’ll probably be spending a significant amount of time in the waiting area during your visits. Check to see if the waiting area is clean and comfortable enough to sit in and if the general environment is relaxed.

Don’t forget to ask about wait times, as a full waiting room may indicate multiple veterinary emergencies that day, not necessarily long waits.

Ask Questions

A list of questions you might want to ask at your visit:

What are your hours?

Are the hours convenient for you? Your cat or dog will require preventive care, vaccinations, and regularly scheduled exams, so it’s important that the practice’s hours are in line with your schedule.

What equipment do you have onsite?

Does the veterinary practice have advanced specialized equipment on site, such as diagnostic imaging technology?

Our Houston County facility is equipped with a full-service veterinary laboratory, that allows us to conduct a variety of tests, get fast results, provide an accurate diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible.

Are tests or treatments outsourced?

What tests do they have available at the hospital or office, and which ones are outsourced to other facilities? At Smith Animal Hospital, we conduct a range of tests in our in-house lab, from Complete Blood Counts to parasite tests and ultrasounds, urinalysis, and more.

Which services do you offer?

Comprehensive services will be important as your cat or dog reaches developmental milestones. From Wellness exams, vaccinations, and preventive care to dentistry, surgery, and geriatric care, our full-service veterinary hospital offers all the services your furry friend will need as they continue to grow.

You’ll also find convenient services such as boarding, behavior training, and nutritional counseling to help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Our in-house pharmacy is conveniently stocked with a wide selection of medications and prescription diets, meaning you’ll have quick access to any medications your pets may need while in our care.

Check Training & Qualifications

This is where picking the right vet is comparable to shopping for other services. Is the vet you’re considering licensed to work in the U.S. and in their state?

Do people working at the hospital (such as registered veterinary technicians) hold licenses? Ask to see these, or contact your state’s board of veterinary medicine for this information.

Board-certified specialists are a bonus. These professionals have completed extra years of school and intensive training in a specialty area (such as surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, etc.) of veterinary medicine to become board-certified. 

Evaluate the Vet’s Communication Style

The communication style and bedside manner of your vet are vital to developing a comfortable, honest, and relaxed relationship with the people who will be caring for your cat or dog's medical needs. Compassion, punctuality, and professionalism are key, whether you’re coming in for a routine exam or finding out your pet might require a surgical procedure.

Compare Prices

How are service fees charged? When price shopping, remember that one vet’s price for a given treatment may include post-op painkiller medication, anesthesia, and monitoring, while another vet’s total may not include these necessities, so ask for totals for procedures. Animal hospitals are unique and will have varying overhead costs.

Leaving Your Current Vet?

Many patients leave a veterinary clinic due to perceived communication issues or problems with service. If this is the situation for you, write an email or letter to the staff at your current clinic. Though this might feel a bit awkward, it could also start a dialog and give the veterinarian an opportunity to respond. If you can’t come to a resolution, many vets will be happy to refer you elsewhere.

If you are searching for a new vet for your kitty or pup, now is a good time to meet the staff and veterinarians at Smith Animal Hospital. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you searching for a new vet in Houston County, GA for your cat or dog? Our vets and staff at Smith Animal Hospital are currently accepting new patients and will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Smith Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Houston County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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