Choosing a Vet – 7 Vital Vet Tips to Use


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Choosing a Vet – 7 Vital Vet Tips to Use


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Choosing a vet with 7 vital vet tips to use is essential to every dog owner, whether their dog is a cute little Chihuahua or a hard-working Alsatian.

Looking for one of the best veterinary clinics in your area that can offer your canine companion[s] the very best care is just as important as choosing your own physician for you and your family’s care.


“Alsatian” – Credit: Wikipedia

“Chihuahua” – Credit: Nancy Houser


As time has gone on over the years, our four-legged friends have become more and more part of our families. Keeping them healthy over these years has slowly become a major responsibility, lengthening the time we have with them. It also increases their quality of life so we can enjoy them in their later years. Markets for pet products, vet products and vet services have grown to multi-figured markets.

The good news is there are many wonderful veterinary clinics out there that will take good care of your furry friend[s]. Additionally, we need to know the the seven things every dog owner should look for when choosing a vet.


With companies like Brosch Direct offering a wide range of medical supplies, there is no excuse at all for a veterinary clinic to be dirty.

When choosing a vet, cleanliness is of paramount importance. It not only shows that the animals and premises are well looked after, but it will help with things like infection control, preventing your dog from getting sick before or after treatment.


It’s against the law in Britain and in the United States for anyone who is not registered to practice as a vet. The body in the UK responsible for this is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). All qualified vets will have the initials MRCVS or FRCVS after their name. You can check the details of your chosen practice here.

Meanwhile in the United States, to meet the examination requirement for a vet license, you must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), owned and administered by the American Association of Veterinarian State Boards (AAVSB).

Students in the final six months of a veterinary technology program registered by the New York State Education Department or accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association may be admitted to the VTNE. All others must meet all education requirements including award of the degree before being admitted.

The deadline for submitting an application for license and first registration with the application fee and having your program submit education verification to the New York State Education Department is 60 days prior to the opening of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ (AAVSB) test window. For information on test windows, go to AAVSB’s Web site at

Practice Standards Scheme

Look for a RCVS Accredited Practice logo! This means a veterinary practice is part of the RCVS’s voluntary Practice Standards Scheme, which means they are rigorously inspected every four years and have spot checks in between. Click here to get the manual online from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Opening hours

It sounds obvious to some, but make sure when you choose a vet that the vet clinic of your choice has long opening hours so you do not have to completely rearrange your day whenever your dog needs treatment. Many veterinary practices open early or late these days to suit people who have work commitments, so it is worth looking around for a location that will fit into your lifestyle when choosing a vet.


Credit: Nancy Houser

Not only are long opening hours important, but it is a good idea to choose a practice close to your home, or as close as you can get. While this is convenient for you, it could also be life saving for your dog if he/she were to require emergency medical attention quickly. Vets do their best to treat your animal on-site, but they may also need to send them to a different facility with more advanced medical equipment. Therefore, it is worth finding out where their nearest emergency surgery clinic is located.

Choosing a vet requires the dog owner to be aware of future emergencies of their beloved pet. Some of the most common vet emergencies (taken from PET MD) to keep in mind for dogs are:

  • PAIN – Pacing, agitation, restlessness, panting, rapid heart rate, or even aggression, are all symptoms of possible pain.
  • DIFFICULTY BREATHING – This can occur due to trauma, allergic reactions, heart failure, toxins, infectious agents, cancer, or leakage of air.
  • SEIZURES – Seizures are episodes of abnormal electrical activity within the brain. They can be triggered by intra-cranial problems (such as epilepsy, brain tumors, or brain swelling) or extra-cranial problems (such as low blood sugar, electrolyte disturbances, etc).
  • DIFFICULTY URINATING – Many pets will strain to urinate if they have crystals or stones in their bladder. Inflammation, blood clots, cancer, or even stress alone can all cause difficulty urinating.
  • VOMITING AND DIARRHEA – Vomiting and/or diarrhea are some of the most common emergencies pets can have. These nonspecific gastrointestinal signs could be caused by a primary gastrointestinal problem (such as getting into the garbage or having an obstruction) or by a secondary cause (such as metabolic disease, cancer, etc).
  • COUGHING AND CHOKING – Choking can be a serious problem, even if the symptoms resolve within seconds. Coughing is a vague symptom of several possibilities, including viruses, bacteria, fungal pneumonia, allergic bronchitis, or even heart failure.
  • BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA – Many pets sustain some sort of blunt force trauma in their life. The external appearance of a pet can be deceiving. Even a minor bump by a backing up car can prove to be life threatening due to internal injury, some of which can take hours to become apparent.
  • TOXIN INGESTION – Toxins can be ingested, absorbed across the skin, or inhaled. Rodenticides are extremely common toxins in pets, but so are several household materials, such as cleaners, medications, plants, batteries, antifreeze, insecticides, paint, chocolate, xylitol containing products such as sugar-free gums, and fertilizers.
  • ALLERGIC REACTIONS – Causes of allergic reactions range from vaccine sensitivity to insect bites. Symptoms generally include facial swelling, hives, and itchiness, but may also include profuse vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, or difficulty breathing.
  • DOG BITE WOUNDS – Although a dog bite wound may appear small, the damage to the underlying tissues is usually much more extensive. Dog bites tear the layers of skin, fat, and muscle apart, creating a pocket of air, seeded with infection. In some cases, penetration into the chest or abdominal cavity can become life threatening.

Illustration provided by Nancy Houser


While some vets work alone with just the help of their veterinary assistant, others are part of a larger clinic that has a lot of trained people to hand. It is up to you whether you prefer a more intimate environment or a more bustling setting, but if you go for a lone vet be sure to check their credentials are up-to-date, whether it is in the UK or USA.

Remember this, selecting a vet is not always easy, but the above seven tips should help you make a well-informed decision when choosing a vet.

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WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2015