CHOOSING A VETERINARIAN is an excellent source of veterinary clinics in your area. Do a brief comparison survey by calling the veterinarians conveniently located near you and asking the following questions:
  • What are the clinics' hours? Are they open on the weekends?
  • Is the clinic a walk-in clinic or do they require appointments?
  • Do they have a working relationship with the nearest emergency clinic or provide 24 hour availability for emergencies?
  • Do they make house calls?
  • Do they have specialists on staff?
  • Are all their veterinarians licensed DVMs or VMDs?
  • Do they have boarding or grooming facilities?
  • Do they accept credit cards and provide payment plans?
  • How long have they been in business?
Rely on referrals from neighbors and friends. And, don't hesitate to use your local humane society, pet store or pet breeder. They are often familiar with the veterinarians in your area and can offer reliable advice.

A good veterinary clinic will be clean, well-organized and generally odor-free. Equipment does not need to be brand new, but should be clean and functional. Make sure you feel at ease when asking questions and compiling information.


Just like humans, pets are candidates for periodontal and gum disease. All too often, pet owners neglect to provide dental care for their pets. Dental upkeep reduces bad breath and prevents some destructive, painful symptoms of gum disease. Don't wait until your pet displays symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding and swelling of gums and discomfort when chewing. Constant maintenance is the best way to avoid complications. Most veterinarians recommend a teeth cleaning once a year, though it varies depending upon tartar buildup. Teeth cleanings are generally same-day procedures performed by your local veterinarian. You can deflect dental problems by brushing your pet's teeth a couple times a week. Use a child-sized toothbrush and a special toothpaste available through your veterinary clinic.