There are many different things to consider when you are choosing an animal hospital or veterinarian for your new pet. Several aspects of the clinic are probably more important to you than others, as you can assume that as long as the clinic has a good reputation (look through Yelp and Google+ reviews or ask your friends) that they are going to be able to provide the basic veterinary services that are found at almost any clinic. The most important aspect to consider for most people is the location and the distance to the hospital from your home. The main reason that this is so important is that if the location is too far away, you will probably have more of a tendency to make fewer appointments as it is more difficult to arrange a convenient time. Regular visits to the veterinarian for checkups, vaccinations, and treatments are crucial to the well-being and health of your pet, so choosing a hospital that is convenient to your home will probably allow you to arrange for more regular visitations. Another important aspect to remember to ask when you are looking at veterinarians is the hours they keep, and what you should do if there is an emergency either after the hours they are open or if it is something they can handle. Many veterinary clinics are limited in the scope of work they can handle in emergency situations when time is crucial, so finding out after you bring your emergency case into the location that they are not equipped to handle the situation is not the best thing to do. When you are interviewing your potential new veterinarian, ask what hours they are open and where they suggest you go in case of an after-hours emergency. Make a special note of the location they suggest, and keep the directions and hours of that location handy at all times. Emergencies are stressful, and in an emergency situation, you need to be as prepared as possible. Ask your veterinarian what they suggest in an emergency like if your dog was hit by a car. Are they equipped to handle that situation during their office hours? Do they have a surgery center and a veterinarian on staff who can perform emergency surgery? Ask them if you should bring your cat to them if the pet stops breathing, falls down, or has an allergic reaction. Ask if they can handle emergency poisoning if your puppy eats fertilizer from your yard. Ask if they are equipped to handle these situations at any time, or if they are simply to be considered only for non-emergency situations.
Ask your potential animal hospital if you can tour their facilities, and get a sense as far as the cleanliness and professionalism of the staff. Does the facility look like a professional animal hospital or does it look like an unprofessional office? Does the clinic have modern-looking equipment and a room where they can do surgery or dental work? If you want to be able to take your pet to a single location to have all of these types of treatments done, then you have to make sure that your potential choice can perform these important services. If they cannot, you will have to go to a different location to get that work done.
Lastly, use your gut feelings to see if you like the veterinarian and the staff of the animal hospital. Keep in mind that you are choosing a doctor that you are putting in charge of making decisions for your pet with regards to their health. Do you get a good feeling from the staff? Are they pleasant or are you getting the feeling that you do not like them? Are they on top of appointments or do you feel like you are being forgotten about? Use all of these aspects to make your choice of animal hospital, and both you and your pet will benefit from your decision.