How Did You Choose Your Vet?

How did I choose Eko’s first vet?  It was easy, I didn’t. My family has a vet in NJ who all our dogs have gone to, so there was never of question where I would take Eko.

I felt right at home, and judging by the way he smooched the techs, so did Eko

While Eko and I traveled, keeping Eko in top shape was a coordinated effort.  We saw a vet in Tennessee for an ear infection, one in Portland for a rash and another vet in Colorado for an annual physical.  I kept all medical records along the way and checked in with my vet at home with any follow up questions.

After our trip, Eko had another exam at home and received his updated vaccines. When we moved to Chicago I had no vet for Eko.  I knew the location of an emergency clinic in our area, but that was about it. Then Eko slipped at the park last autumn and broke his toe.

Eko checking out his busted wheel

Without much thought, I booked the first appointment at the closest vet.

The receptionist had her own body gaurd

I felt the care and treatment for Eko’s paw were good and the price reasonable. However, I chose the vet based only on proximity so I felt it was worth researching other options in the area for the next time Eko got himself into trouble.  Eko was happy to oblige on that front.

This photo should be next to “How dogs get ear infections” in vet textbooks

Since it was not an emergency, I did not have to rush to the nearest vet.  I booked an appointment at a different practice that is well-reviewed on

No practice is well-reviewed by Eko when he realizes he’s there for ear medication

The facilities and services at the second vet were top-notch but the baseline cost seems more expensive than the first vet we visited.  We had a quick follow up visit at the second practice and saw a different vet than we saw the first time.  At final count for our time in Chicago, Eko has seen three vets at two different practices.

Eko is an active, healthy and happy pup.  That would not be possible without the help of my vet from home and all the vets Eko has seen since then.  However, I don’t have one vet in Chicago who I’m completely comfortable with and who knows Eko.  Nor would I expect to have such a vet since I’m new(ish) to the city.

So who is Eko’s vet in Chicago?  I don’t know for sure, but I would like to figure that out. There are a lot of different considerations when choosing a vet, so I am very interested to hear from other people about their experiences.

There are adventure to be had, we can’t have Eko bedridden!

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or advice about choosing a vet, I would really appreciate your input. Thanks for any help or insight you can offer!

39 thoughts on “How Did You Choose Your Vet?”

  1. Hi there,

    I teach canine first aid here in the UK and two of my Rhodesian Ridgebacks (Axl who is 9 and Chi his son who is 2) are my demonstration dogs for the courses. Ive written a book and have a website and Im running a photograph competition just now to find pics suitable to scroll through the top banner on our website. Somebody sent me a picture of a ridgeback wearing a stethoscope, hat and face mask staged in an ER and Ive been trying to find out where the picture originated – then somebody said they thought it was one of yours. I wondered if it is indeed your picture, if you would mind me using it on my Facebook page (obviously credited to you and your blog site) and if you had any other pictures that you might like to put on our website? Everything we do is force-free so I love the way you work with Enzo and would love to feature a link to your blog on our pages.

    If its not you and Ive got it all wrong, no worries but hey – LOVE your blog xx

    Kerry, Axl, Chi and Rain

  2. I chose my vet mostly based on location, but partly based on experience. My family had two cats when I was growing up, both indoor cats who hadn’t seen a vet since they were spayed/neutered (i know, shame on me, but they were healthy). When one got badly sick (at age 21) and was put down, the vet was AWFUL. tried to guilt us into invasive operations that wouldn’t drastically increase the cat’s lifetime, had additional charges for everything (including $20 for a cardboard box to take him home in to bury), and made us feel like the worst people in the world. When our other cat went a few years later, we tried a different vet, and they were wonderful, and have been wonderful since, with Gwynn.
    I figure any vet who doesn’t make you feel stupid for showing up with a perfectly healthy dog (now) who ‘i swear, was acting really strange and not right twenty minutes ago, are you sure he isn’t dying?’, and who your dog likes is a good thing 🙂

    • It’s tough to balance all the different aspects that are important. I think it’s important I realize there is no “best” vet, but there is a vet who is the best fit for me and Eko. And yes, they need to be very understanding of the occasional mishap, it comes with the territory!

  3. Way back in the day, when Mom was a broke college student she had a young “Chowbrador” pup named ‘Stormy’ who broke her hip in a bizarre accident. Mom barely had money to pay for annual vet visits let alone the major surgery that was needed for Stormy. Her vet cut her fees and found donations for Mom to cover nearly all the surgery fees and medications. Stormy lived to a ripe old age of 14. Because of that, I have the very same vet today. Mom’s been loyal to the same vet not only because of her compassion but also because she practices both eastern & western medicine, doesn’t tippy toe around delicate subjects, and is straight up honest with her clients. Just like human doctors, it’s equally important to have such comfortable relationship with your pet’s doctor.


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