Bringing home a new dog or puppy is an exciting adventure. It’s also important to make sure that your dog will be under the right care throughout his or her life. Dogs need a veterinarian who is qualified, reputable and with whom you can form a positive working relationship. Depending on your dog’s breed or health conditions, it’s important to pick a veterinarian who is well-versed in their needs.

1. Do your research.

Ask breeders, groomers, family and friends for suggestions. Breeders are usually well connected with your breed and may be able to provide useful guidance as you search for the right veterinarian.

2. Ask the right questions.

Simply calling up veterinary clinics in your neighborhood can help you have a better understanding of what they offer. Always ask about their specialties, the procedures they regularly perform, how long they have been around and how many veterinarians and technicians are on staff. It's also important to ask about their business hours and emergency care procedure in the event that you need assistance after hours.

3. Compare medical fees.

Medical fees may vary by clinic. The lowest fee may not always be the best choice. Keep in mind that if a clinic’s fees seem really low, you should proceed with caution. They may not be taking all the steps necessary to provide proper care for your dog. The highest fee clinics may not be better than some of the others, but they may offer a greater level of customer service, offer a wider variety of specialty services or have extended hours. Most clinics are happy to explain their services and fees. You can also take this opportunity to ask questions about pet insurance.