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. We have had the same vet for over 25 years. I met him when I volunteered for the local Humane Society. He was young and just starting out in the business. He did a lot of work for the Society and loves animals. When he opened up his own animal hospital we started going there and have been there ever since. He is like a family member. I hope you find a vet that you and Eko both are pleased with. Hugs and nose kisses

  2. I would say follow your gut instinct. We switched vets after the one we used for years couldn’t help us in an extreme situation during a holiday, even though they answered the phone and were obviously there (a country vet). Our cat had been sick for weeks, he had already seen her twice and we spent $800. I was choked and we were left to fend for ourselves. When we finally found someone to help (they didn’t even know us), they said come over right away. In the end we had to say good bye to our cat, I was traumatized. I think if you love animals and their comfort and welfare are really important to you, a holiday is just another day on the calendar. So that would be a question I would ask any vet, “what happens if Eko get’s sick on a holiday?” “Do you have an emergency contact number?”

  3. I have a nearby cheap-ish vet who can do all the basics. However, in an emergency or with anything more complicated than claw clipping or mites treatment I go further away . It’s about an hour longer to get to but they are an exotic specialist and very good. I found them after going on my favourite forum and looking at a list of recommended vets by other users.

    Finding the right vet is tough and sometimes there is only one good vet at a surgery and you might not get them. I remember seeing one I was certainly not impressed with and being so embarrassed when I called and asked for another on the follow up appointment. Too often people are afraid to do this, but until you have seen all the vets at a practice, I don’t think you can easily judge them.

    Good luck with your vet hunt. I’m sure Eko will sniff out the right candidate for you!

    ~ Amy

  4. Well, what I look for is a practice that is well maintained, has up to date equipment and has staff that’s happy to be there. I also look for a practice that is progressive, open to alternative treatments and if at all possible AAHA certified (since they have certain standards to meet). I’ve been to several in the past that I’ll never go back to again but there are quite a few I’ve found that are great (and I’ve even worked for a few of those!)

  5. Hey Will! My co-worker had a Sharpei who had a laundry list of health problems (poor little guy) and she couldn’t speak highly enough of the care he received at West Loop Veterinary Care. So that’s where I took Winnie for her puppy vaccinations and I have been SO pleased so far. I feel like the front desk staff and the vet knew me by face and name by my second visit and they shower Winnie with attention and love. Our specific vet is Dr. Mike Boling and you can see how much he truly loves dogs with his interactions with Winnie. It might be a bit more expensive than other places but it’s super clean, everyone is friendly, and they email/call me to check up on Winnie after vaccines and to remind me of appointments. I feel like they are really on the ball. Plus they have five free parking spots outside their office 🙂


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