Head of the Class Dog Training LLC 

Winchester, VA

Winchester's Premium Professional Pet Training

Finding the right vet for your beloved companion is important, and sometimes harder than finding a doctor for yourself. Think about the skills required to be a vet. When you go to the doctor, you can explain your symptoms to help the doctor make a correct diagnosis. A vet has to rely on training, keen observation and intuition to diagnose your furry friend, who can’t tell the vet “my paw hurts” or “I have a pain in my belly.” Here are some tips for finding just the right vet.

  • Ask a friend. If you have animal lovers in your life, chances are they’re using the best possible vets. People love to share when they get really good service somewhere, and the veterinarian is no exception. Personal referrals from friends and neighbors in your area can help you find the perfect vet for your animal.
  • Look at reviews online. You can review any business on multiple platforms these days. Read the reviews for area vets and look for glowing reviews as well as possible red flags. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, especially if there are 25 glowing reviews and one terrible review, but researching customer feedback online is a good place to start your search.
  • Ask other pet professionals. People in the pet related industry might have the best tips on which vets to visit and which to avoid. Dog groomers, dog walkers, animal shelters or humane society workers may all have great recommendations for a vet because they frequently deal with animals and usually have pets of their own who need veterinary care.
  • Make a visit in person. If you’re evaluating a few different vets, visit the office in person to check it out. Make sure the office is clean and organized. Assess the hours of operation and whether or not they offer emergency services. See if the staff is friendly. Check out their prices for standard services. Feel free to ask questions to make sure this is the right fit for you and your pet.
  • Check for special certifications and professional memberships. The American Animal Hospital Association holds vets to a high standard for their facilities, equipment and the quality of care they provide. If a vet is a member of this association, you know they consistently meet high standards in all of these areas. Some vet offices have specialists certified in surgery, ophthalmology or cardiology. This means the vet has extra schooling and has tested in his or her specialty area.  
  • Shop around. Don’t be afraid to comparison shop vets. Call around and ask questions, especially if you’ve heard good things about multiple offices. Find the criteria that is important to you. Maybe it’s important that the vet have evening or weekend hours so that you can bring your pet in around your work schedule. Or maybe your pet needs a certain specialist on staff. Evaluate based on your needs and your pet’s needs to find the perfect fit for both of you.

At Head of the Class Dog Training, we want to make sure your pup is getting the best care around. If you would like more resources to help you find a quality vet, contact us. We’d be happy to assist.

-Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.

Here’s How to Find the Right Vet for Fido