So you're thinking about the field of veterinary medicine but not sure what area of practice to explore.

Have you thought about working with companion animals?

Companion animals provide emotional support to their human owners.

They're usually dogs, cats, or birds, but it's not uncommon for other animals like chickens, rabbits, horses or snakes to be companion animals as well.

How Do You Become A Veterinarian?

A dog dressed like a veterinarian

It's no walk in the park!

Veterinary programs have a variety of different requirements but they generally consist of:

  • an undergraduate degree

  • a specialized veterinarian degree

  • onsite training and ongoing professional development

Typical Path To Becoming A Companion Animal Veterinarian

An animation of a veterinarian waving

  1. Complete high school pre-requisites to apply to a college/university program in Life Sciences or a similar field.

  2. Complete two years of pre-veterinary study or be required to have completed your Bachelor's degree.

  3. Gain experience in the field through volunteering/internships to help strengthen your resume and guide you towards your interests.

An animation of a veterinarian tending to animals

  1. Apply to and complete a 4-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.

  2. Take and pass the licensing exam for your state or province.

  3. Start practicing in the field!

  4. Pursue other training and/or certifications to specialize in working with companion animals.


How long does it take to become a companion animal veterinarian?

What Does A Veterinarian For Companion Animals Do?

  • Perform wellness exams

  • Do diagnostic testing using x-rays/drawing blood etc.

  • Administer vaccines

  • Prepare and prescribe medications

  • Perform surgeries such as spays and neuters

  • Diagnose illnesses

  • Treat wounds

  • Clean teeth

  • Assist with problem births

  • Euthanize animals nearing the end of their lives

A veterinarian giving the owner of a cat a high five


What is something a veterinarian for companion animals would't do?


Canadian Average Salary

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USA Average Salary

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Is Becoming A Veterinarian For Companion Animals For You?

It's wise to weigh the challenges and benefits of this tough but rewarding career.

A girl putting a stethoscope to a dog's chest

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  • It can take many years of schooling.

  • It can be hard to deliver bad news to companions of support animals.

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  • You get to care for animals.

  • You can help people with emotional support animals live better lives.

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