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. A good vet is like a gift. We found our vet as one of our Huskies had a bad accident. He is a little far away but he was the one who saved his life once. And by now he was always fair and did a great job (that’s sometimes not easy with Easy)

  2. When I had to start the process of looking for a vet with Aspen, I started with checking with my friends. I got their recommendations as to where they took their furkinds. Once I got their recommendations, I followed up with googling reviews on the practice to see what other people thought. You should talk with your friends as well as fellow pet owners at the dog park. I understand that this may not happen until it gets warmer in Chicago.

    When I took Aspen to the practices, I checked the facilities and observed the staff’s and vet’s interactions with my dog as well as Aspen’s interactions with them. In the end, Aspen went to 2 vet practices depending if it was a routine procedure vs emergency. At both practices, not only did they provide great care for Aspen but they took the time to make sure I was as comfortable as possible also. Looking back this made all the difference when I had to make the heart breaking decision to let Aspen, who went into kidney failure at 6yrs old, cross the rainbow bridge 3 months ago.

    • It’s partly overwhelming because there are so many options in the city. I think polling friends and people at the dog park (once the sun shows up) is a great place to start. There is nothing like having a vet you completely trust and who puts your pet at ease. Losing a pet is tragic and it’s a good feeling to know you gave them the best care you could. Eko’s getting an extra hug tonight.

  3. Will it’s a hard choice.
    I was lucky and was referred to mine , but I.some times wonder about him ? He is somewhat of a old country vet and wonder if they are getting top treatment ? But he is great and does everything right in front of me with my dogs. I have been to.a.couple that would take out of the room to do stuff like draw blood and give shots, this I do not like.
    I have also used a great orthopedic surgeon for dogs in Norridge IL a.Doc Hammer, for the ACL on my dogs, three times and they all did great to.
    It’s just what you and Eko feels is comfortable for you guys.
    The one thing I would never be without is Health insurance for them, I been using VPI health insurance for my guys.
    They have been good, fast to pay, and great customer service. Like the ACL surgery cost around $3500, after I paid the vet, I sent the bill and paperwork in, and in less then two.weeks I had a check from VPI, my cost out of pocket was around $1100, for each surgery. Something maybe you and Eko to look into, my guys run.about $35 a month for coverage for each. When you think about it, that’s not bad.
    Well hope I helped a bit and good luck on your search.

  4. Whatever you do, do NOT take Eko to a Benefield Clinic in PetSmart. We took our cat there one time, all they tried to do was sell insurance. Hardly looked at the cat and charged a fortune. Love PetSmart, Hate Clinic.

  5. I’m not sure there’s a magic formula, but I hope when you hook up with the right practice and the right vet your gut will tell you it’s right. Did you try asking the NJ vet if he knew anybody in Chicago? Ya never know…


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