Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the most important things you will do for your pet.

At New Hartford Animal Hospital, we offer free counseling to pet owners looking for a veterinarian or future pet owners looking for a new pet. Your veterinarian will be your partner in your pet’s healthcare allowing you to give your pet the best chance for a long and healthy life.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your veterinarian:

Quick Checklist:

  • Are they accredited by the American animal Hospital Association?
  • Are they conveniently located?
  • Do they offer comprehensive medical and surgical services?
  • Do they offer any ancillary services like boarding and grooming?
  • Do they answer their phones in a friendly, welcoming manner?
  • Does their facility look clean, updated and inviting?
  • Is there pricing in line with what other practices are charging?
  • Do they offer payment options or a rewards program?
  • Do they have a comprehensive website that you can easily access important information from?

For a More Comprehensive Screening Process:

1. Get the family together for a conference.
Share your thoughts about what qualities in a veterinarian are important to all of you. Make a list of questions and concerns to ask every vet you interview. Also get references from breeders, shelter and dog rescues or other dog owners.

2. Go to to search for an American Animal Hospital Association-accredited clinic near you.
By choosing an accredited hospital, you are assured that your veterinarian practices the veterinary industry’s most up to date medicine and follows their guidelines for pet health care.

3. Find a veterinarian that will be there for you and your pet day or night.
Choose a veterinarian who has after hours emergency services so that if your pet needs care after hours, you have a trusted, reliable source to care for your pet.

4. Decide on the medical and ancillary services that are important to you.
Services to consider are routine medicine and surgery; non-traditional therapies such as acupuncture and laser therapy; referral services; NYS accreditation for travel; boarding or grooming; nutritional supplies; on-site crematory services.

5. Access to medical information.
Whether from a doctor or a technician, see if you can get timely answers to your medical questions. If your pet is hospitalized, can you call as often as you want for updates?

6. Proximity.
Find someone who is close enough to where you are located to be able to easily get to when you need to.

7. Ask about their preventive measures and their pet care philosophies.
Pay close attention to responses to your questions and concerns about pet health care. Does this team seem friendly, helpful and easy to communicate with?

8. Medical Equipment/Services.
A good hospital should have access to x-ray, ultrasound, dentistry, in-house lab tests, IV pumps, blood pressure, and eye pressure monitoring, as well as the ability to perform in-house lab tests procedures and send out lab tests. They should also have a list of specialists they can refer you to in the event your pet needs highly specialized care.

9. Open access to all areas.
Ask for a tour of the hospital. A good hospital is going to be proud of their facility and want to show you everything with exception to a medical procedure being performed that requires sterility and privacy.

10. Interaction.
Observe how the staff interacts with the patients in the hospital. Do they project calm energy? Has the hospital taken extra measures to insure the comfort of your pet? Ask about the longevity of the medical and nursing staff. Staff members who feel empowered to do good medicine and nursing care tend to stay with a practice longer.

11. Are the hours convenient?
You need to be sure that the clinic is open hours that are convenient for you. Long hours are not as important as good communication and pet health care.