How to Find the Right Vet After a Move

This advice from NorthStar Moving Company covers the hunt for a new vet from whiskers to tail.

Guest Post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

Any pet owner knows that “find a new veterinarian” is on the top of the moving to-do list. In fact, for many, finding a new vet is higher on the list then finding a new doctor. Admit it! Our four-legged loved ones often come first! However, the task of finding a qualified vet for your beloved furry friend can be a hairy one.

I called in the pros: the veterinarians at VetPronto and Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist, to learn some simple tips to help find a qualified vet in your new hood. From office structure to qualifications and interaction, their advice covers the hunt from whiskers to tail.

VetPronto recommends asking these 5 questions before selecting a new vet:


1. How far is the clinic? Most pets get stressed by the car ride to the vet so try to minimize the travel time by finding a vet with an office close to your home. If the vet’s office is a bit of a drive, you can desensitize your pet to the car trip by going to the vet frequently and making it a pleasurable experience, such as by giving your pet treats while inside. Your pet will build up positive associations. Vet trip? Yum!

2. What are their hours? Pets like to get sick when it’s least convenient, so look for a vet that works weekends and has options for emergency care, or at least has a good relationship with the local ER vet clinic.

3. What is the ratio of nurses to vets? You want to aim for 1:1 or even 2:1 ratio of nurses to vets to ensure that your pet gets the attention they deserve.

4. Are they AAHA accredited? Ask if they are American Animal Hospital Association  accredited, which requires very high standards.

5. What are their qualifications? Ask about their experience as a vet. Specifically, how many years have they been practicing, do they have board memberships in internal medicine or surgery, and where did they get their degree?

Dr. George offers these five tips to unleashing the vet that is right for you and your pet:

1. Seek out recommendations: Ask friends, new colleagues and family in the area if they have a vet they would recommend. Word of mouth is still a very reliable and powerful tool to find a vet you can trust. Social media is also another valuable tool such as Yelp.

2. First Impressions: It is not just the vet you want to give the once over. You want to be sure the front desk is easy to work with, experienced and reliable as well. When you call the office, how is the front staff? Are they friendly? Do they ask you to send copies of your previous records, vaccine history and radiographs? All of their careful work upfront will assist the veterinarian in evaluating your pet’s history and assist you in following through on any special needs your pet may require.

3. Manner & Methods: Once you meet with the vet, its critical to not just look at their qualifications, but also their interactions with you and your pet. Do they make eye contact and show interest in your pet’s history? Do they handle your pet in a gentle manner and try to make your pet (and you) feel comfortable? Do they do a complete physical evaluation, which includes looking at your pet’s eyes, ears and mouth? They should palpate the entire body including the lymph nodes, abdomen and do a rectal examination to evaluate the anal glands and check for any masses.

4. Standard Treatments: All veterinarians should give you options for vaccinations, flea control and heartworm prevention on your first visit. One size does definitely not fit all. Vaccinations should be tailored to the pet’s lifestyle and exposure to certain diseases. The vet should also address the following treatments:

  • Rabies is usually required by law, but distemper, parvovirus and kennel cough vaccines can be adjusted to meet each animal’s specific needs.  Some animals may have sensitivities to vaccinations and a good veterinarian will give you options for blood tests, which are used to measure protective antibodies levels to certain ailments and evaluate if a vaccination is really necessary.
  • Heartworm is a very serious disease, but not present in all parts of the world. A good veterinarian will discuss which diseases are problematic in your new area and assess which preventative measures are needed.
  • This practice includes flea control. Many flea products can have side effects and can be toxic to your pet. A veterinarian should discuss environmental control and determine whether your pet truly needs flea medication every month. Often, the administration of flea medications can be tapered or minimized given the season or degree of flea exposure.

5. Specialists: Veterinary medicine, like human medicine, has become highly specialized. There are board certified veterinary surgeons, dermatologists, oncologists, internal medicine specialists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and behaviorists. Your veterinarian should be familiar with all the options available to you and offer these specialists to you if your pet needs one.

With these ten tips in paw, you will be sure to find a new vet that will keep your pet healthy and both of you happy. Wishing: Happy tails to you!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.


Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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  1. Olivia Nelson
    September 19, 2016

    I appreciate your tip on finding a vet clinic that is AAHA accredited. I would imagine that finding a vet that adheres to such high standards would mean good things for you and your pet. I just moved and I’ve been looking for a new veterinarian to take my dog to so I’ll have to remember to check their accreditation before I choose them.

  2. Shad Morris
    October 12, 2016

    My sister just recently moved, and she needed to find someone for her cat! I really like that you say to ask friends and new colleagues in the area for recommendations. I know that she has a few friends that live near her, so she will have to do that. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jalu Sakti
    October 31, 2016

    I like how you started out by talking about the logistics of a clinic, like hours and amount of staff, before talking about subtle differences that turn out to be big, like your feelings and impressions. You have to look at the logistics before even deciding if you like the place or not. Is it close enough? Is the price range within your budget? If so, then you can think about how you feel in the office and take a tour of it. That’s what we are going to do when we move in a few months.

    • Lindsay Listanski
      December 2, 2016

      Best of luck!

  4. john Mahoney
    November 30, 2016

    My family and I moved to a different area and need to look for a veterinarian for our dog. I didn’t realize that you can know if you found a good veterinarian by the way they interact with you and the way they handle your pet’s information, whether they care or not. I will make sure to look for this clues as I search for a good veterinarian.

    • Bella
      December 10, 2016

      What I find so insrteeting is you could never find this anywhere else.

  5. Ben Allen
    December 12, 2016

    I appreciate the information on finding a vet when moving to a new area. I agree that it is important to find their qualifications and to find out if they are AAHA accredited, this can really tell you a lot about what kind of clinic it is. My sister just moved and is looking for a new vet for her two dogs, I will be sure to share this information with her.

    • Victoria Keichinger
      December 12, 2016

      So happy to hear that! A pet truly makes a house a home, so we know how important it is to keep them in mind during and after the moving process.

  6. Gregory Burke
    December 19, 2016

    I’m planning on moving soon, and I’m sure I’ll put more effort into vetting my cat’s doctor than my own doctor. Thanks for the tips. Google, Angie’s List, and Yelp reviews are a good place to start, but I definitely agree that first impressions go a long way. We all know animals are good judges of character.

    • Victoria Keichinger
      December 21, 2016

      We 100% agree, Gregory! Best of luck with your move.

  7. Troy Blackburn
    January 11, 2017

    I love what you mentioned about how it’s critical to look not only at a vet’s qualifications, but also their interactions with the pet and the owner. I’ve heard, too, that not feeding your pet beforehand can help a lot so that your dog can be reinforced for positive behavior. I’ll have to keep this info in mind as I look for a good, new veterinary hospital for my dog!

  8. Shad Morris
    January 12, 2017

    My friend just moved to a new state and wanted to find a vet to take his pets to in the area. It makes sense that you would want to consider how close their office is to your house. I know that I wouldn’t want to drive too far for my dogs check up.

  9. Maxine Wilson
    January 17, 2017

    My husband and I just moved into a new house, and we will need to find a vet for our two dogs. Like you talked about, you want to make sure that we find one that is close by, and has good hours. However, I hadn’t thought about finding one with a good ratio of vets to nurses. That is something I hadn’t even thought about. I’ll be sure to ask that to potential vets in our area!

    • Victoria Keichinger
      January 18, 2017

      Glad you found the article useful, Maxine! And all the best to you and your pups!

  10. Rachel Lannister
    January 18, 2017

    Thank you for the fun blog. My husband and I have been considering adopting a dog from the shelter, and wanted to find a good vet before we did that. You wrote that you should consider their hours, as pets like to get sick when it’s least convenient. Not having to worry about the clinic being closed would be great, as it would allow us to get our dog examined and treated right away.

  11. Frank Delaware
    January 27, 2017

    We just moved to a new area with our family, and wanted to make sure that our dog had the care he needs. I really like that you say to make sure that the front desk is easy to work with and reliable. Since they are going to be working with you on making appointments and getting medicine, it would be nice to know that they know what they are doing.

  12. Pam Lassila
    February 7, 2017

    I love my dog so much and I am very concerned for her health! I want to make sure that the vet I bring her to will treat her the best that they can. It is very important to know the Vet clinic’s manners and methods towards animals.

  13. Ridley Fitzgerald
    April 5, 2017

    We are planning on moving next month, so this is great. Finding a good vet for our little Spaniel is definitely high on our priority list. I like your tip for finding one with a 1:1 ratio of vets to nurses.

  14. John Ferrell
    April 5, 2017

    You said that we should find a vet that works weekends and has emergency care. If I was going to move I would need to find a vet that could care for my dog. It might be helpful to know that he can be taken care of right when he gets sick, too.

  15. Bradford Snelson
    April 17, 2017

    Thanks for proposing a question about the qualifications of a veterinarian. I imagine that they don’t all have the same education or the same skills, so looking into this could be important. It might also help to know if they have access to a veterinary surgeon.

  16. Roger Middleton
    August 11, 2017

    My wife and I have recently made the decision to buy a Siberian husky and after the decision to name her scout, we’ve realized that in the coming weeks we’ll need to get her first set of shots. I really appreciated the mention of making sure that the office staff is friendly and willing to help us out whenever we have a problem. I hadn’t realized that searching out a vet would be so difficult until I owned my own dog!

  17. Max Jones
    August 15, 2017

    My wife and I have been looking for some new veterinary care since our move, and I think that your tip about first impressions is important for us to keep in mind! I’m glad that you talked about making sure you can work well with the front desk and office staff of your veterinary care, and how its important to be able to do so. I’m going to be sure to keep that in mind while we look for veterinary care, and hopefully that’ll help us make a good choice!

  18. Finley Moreira
    August 31, 2017

    My wife and I just recently moved, and we are now looking for a good vet. I liked your suggestion to ask for recommendations from people in the area where we just moved to. We’ll start asking some of our new neighbors to see if they have any good suggestions on where to start looking.

  19. Jeremy Thompson
    September 29, 2017

    It’s good to know that we can ask the vet about their work experience. My daughter really loves her pet, and I’m glad there are professionals to keep our pet safe. Thanks for the very informative article!

  20. Deb Pearl
    October 9, 2017

    Our family did recently move, and we were wondering how we can find a great vet for our dogs. That is a great idea to ask about the vet’s qualifications and see how long they have been practicing. If they have been working many years that would prove they are very reputable. Thanks for the information!

  21. Kyle Wayne
    October 31, 2017

    I like that you mention finding out the qualifications before hiring. My sister just moved and is looking for a veterinarian. I’ll be sure to talk to her about checking the qualifications first.


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