PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Choosing the right veterinarian is extremely important for both you and your pet.

First, think about your pet’s needs. For example, if you only have cats, some veterinarians specialize in felines only, and limit their practice to one species to provide more thorough care. Some veterinarians specialize in exotic pets, birds, etc.

Visit the office and their facility and find out what services they provide. Check with the State Veterinary Board and the Better Business Bureau for peace of mind. Look for cleanliness, a friendly, helpful staff that can provide plenty of patience and gentle compassion. Check the vet’s office hours and ask if 24 hour emergency care is always available. If not, do they work in connection with a local emergency clinic?

Look for convenience of location, especially in an emergency situation. Find out their basic fees and methods of payment ahead of time. How easy is it to get an appointment right away? Do they specialize in various areas such as geriatric, behavior, etc and certain breeds that may require specialized care such as greyhounds.

Ask a lot of questions. There should be a good communication between you and your veterinarian. Ask friends and family for recommendations and referrals.

But most importantly, observe your pet’s interaction with the staff and the vet, and always trust your own instincts. If you’re not comfortable, it’s not the right situation for you and your pet.

Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio

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