Do you have a veterinarian that has been recommended to you by another pet owner? How far away is this veterinary practice? Where is the nearest animal emergency room? These are aspects of dog ownership that need to be considered. Things happen with dogs when you least expect it . . .

Word of Mouth and Personal Recommendation

When I was choosing a veterinarian, I tried several. After I moved to Austin, my dog, Jasper, developed diabetes. I did not know that excessive panting and water consumption was a sign of this, and I thought that the heat of the Texas summer was responsible, as we had just moved from a cool mountainous climate. At the time, I didn’t know very many people, but I asked the ones I knew for referrals. The first one we tried was nice, but I did not feel as if he was someone I really liked for Jasper.

Ask an Emergency Veterinarian

One evening, we ended up in the Animal Emergency room because Jasper was not eating. The veterinary on call took the time to answer my questions thoroughly and was openly affectionate to my dog. Unfortunately, that day I lost Jasper, but when I asked the emergency vet who she would take her dog to see, she gave me a recommendation. That was the beginning of a thirteen year relationship with a veterinary practice, even though it was 45 minutes from my house to get there. The dogs who followed Jasper loved going to the vet. Maybe too much! Each time we were there, the vet would feel them all over, pet them, search for lumps, check ears and eyes, ask how they were eating, if their behavior had changed in any way, etc. Of course, they got treats, which helped, but you could tell that the dogs felt safe and cared for, in spite of poking, prodding, getting blood, and various surgeries. If the veterinary felt it was necessary, she was not afraid to refer us to a specialist.

When Vaccination time comes, try a New Veterinarian

If you are not happy with the attitude of the veterinary or the feel of the vet office, don’t be afraid to go somewhere else. The perfect time to do this is for something that is not urgent, such as getting routine vaccinations and booster shots annually, and for the heartworm test. This provides an opportunity to assess the efficiency, friendliness and expertise of the veterinary practice.

Google Veterinary Practices and Look for Someone with Years of Experience

This last time when I was searching for a vet, I asked friends, but I thoroughly checked out their recommendations on the internet. Luckily, I found someone who was highly recommended and who had 30 years of experience. I have discovered that when it comes to dogs, first-hand experience is highly desirable. There is just no substitute. If you think about it, it is that way with anything. You wouldn’t go to a physician who was just out of school unless you had no other choice.

Don’t Be Afraid to Travel a few miles to Receive Great Care

Currently, I drive 25 minutes for veterinary care, and it is worth every extra minute and extra mile.

Dr. Tom Sutton at Hometown Veterinary ( in Pflugerville, TX has over 30 years of experience in the field, is very highly recommended and his colleagues are just as nice and capable as he is. If it is an emergency, he can be reached after hours. Dr. Sutton knows exactly how much your pet means to you as part of the family, and shares the same concerns as pet owners.

Should you be lucky enough to find a great veterinary, it is really crucial for the care of your dog to see that person consistently, even if it is only once a year for vaccinations. Experience and trust between the animal and the veterinarian are very important to continuing good canine health.