The best vets in Canberra


Looking for a Canberra vet for your furry friend? Read through our article to find our recommendations of some of the best. Photo: Vanessa Burdett.

From scales to tails, and feather to fur, more Canberrans are welcoming pets into their homes than ever before. Be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, or something a little more exotic, we are a nation of animal lovers indeed. In fact, Australia boasts one of the highest rates of household pet ownership in the world.

As the givers of unconditional love, it is no surprise that the bond shared with our pets is like no other. They bring out our softer side, encourage us to be more active, and at times even more social. Such are the impacts that scholars the world over have recorded countless medical benefits for owners from decreased blood pressure, triglycerides, and more.

While they improve our health and quality of life dramatically, we too care for them. If you have a four-legged or feathered friend, you will know just how important a veterinarian is. From vaccinations, to oral health, microchipping, and general concerns they are bedrock when it comes to your pet’s wellbeing.

That said, not all veterinarians and their clinics offer the same level or care or servicing. The good news is that we have shortlisted the leading vets in the Canberra region.

What makes a great vet?

The best vets are impeccably skilled animal health practitioners crusading for the wellbeing of creatures who cannot speak for themselves. Their passion, compassion, and considered approach ensures our pets health – and happiness for years to come.

  • Animal afficionados. The best vets are not only animal afficionados; they have a genuine affinity for their care. First impressions often last, so look for real passion – and importantly compassion – to put your mind at ease. Finally consider a vet with a disposition suited to your paw-pal for the best chance of fostering a connection.
  • Accredited & experienced. All practicing vets will be the proud owners of a doctorate in veterinary science and professionally accredited. In Australia vets are accredited at state level, so check the Veterinary Practitioners Board for those practicing in the ACT. Moreover, the best will also be members of peak industry body, the Australian Veterinary Association. While foundation qualifications are essential, what really counts is experience. A such, look for vets with a solid track record under their belts.
  • Recommended & reputable. Much like doctors, finding a reputable vet is often as easy as asking around. Personal recommendations from family, friends, or colleagues are often a great way to start researching. Equally, client reviews online along with broader pet health care websites can be helpful too. Finally, if you hold pet insurance it might be worth consulting your provider for clinic recommendations.
  • Services & need match. With varied pet ages and stages, it pays to find a vet equipped with the skills to service your needs. For instance, younger pets may benefit from clinics under which multiple generalist services are offered. These services may include vaccinations, microchipping and desexing, along with x-rays, pathology, and ultrasounds. Contrastingly, older pets may require more specialised services such as oncology, ophthalmology, or dermatology.
  • Convenient & available. A final minor, yet important factor is your vet’s location and availability. Considerations such as travel time, opening hours, and location all should be considered. Availability for your vet of choice and short waiting times all help when needed. Also look for what after-hours or emergency care is available.

The best vets in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Small Friends Veterinary Hospital

Since its inception in 2004, Small Friends Veterinary Hospital have built an impeccable reputation amongst past and present clients. Their first-class service, exemplary standard of animal care, and trusting professional approach are hallmarks of their offering.

Home to three vets and a team of nurses and support staff, this boutique practice specialises in small animals and household pets. Small Friends Animal Veterinary Hospital offers a comprehensive range of services from general consultations all the way through to complex surgery.

Located in Amaroo and open six days a week, Small Friends Animal Veterinary Hospital is an excellent choice.

Daniel Chisholm shared this glowing review on Google, Always friendly and professional. I have complete faith in the wonderful team at Small Friends Vet who have tended to our animals for the last 15 years.”

The Village Vet

Proudly local, The Village Vet, turns the ‘white coat’ effect on its head by creating a nurturing and homely environment for owners and their pets. They aim to provide families and their fur babies with a more comfortable and caring veterinary experience.

With over fifteen years of experience caring for feathered and furry friends their team offers a range of medical and surgical of services. With a separate

Located in Downer and open six days, they are a perfect choice for your household pet.

Natasha Crawford had this to say on Google, Amazing staff, the vets are kind and patient, they really listen to what you have to say and take any concerns seriously. Lovely, safe environment for all animals. They have separate areas for cats and dogs to ensure every pet feels comfortable.”

Capital Veterinary Hospital

Locally owned and operated by Dr Ashrafi, Capital Veterinary Hospital have built a swift reputation for quality care and consistent service. Their boutique offering is home to small team of veterinarians, nurses, and support staff ensuring you see the same carers each time.

While they offer a range of generalist medical services, what sets this practice aside is their specialisation in complex surgical procedures. Among these are soft tissue, orthopaedic, and cruciate surgeries, alongside fracture repairs.

Conveniently located in Phillip and open six days, this team also provides emergency services for existing clients.

Katrina Buttriss shared praise for the team on Google, “I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the wonderful staff who have looked after my fur babies with such love and respect, every time we have visited them.”

Northside Veterinary Centre

For more than fifteen years, the devoted team at the Northside Veterinary Centre have worked together to provide high-quality and personal service to Canberra’s pets and pet-owners.

With more clinics owned by enterprise organisations, Northside Veterinary Centre are proud to offer non-corporate community-centred veterinary care.

Headed by Dr Adamson and Dr Oakes, this team of five full time vets, nurses and support staff adopt a team approach for the care of your pets. Offering a range of services from general consultations, to emergency, and surgery are a great local choice.

Beth Cribb had this to say about the centre, “Great vet! Compassionate and caring, down to earth advice. Great facilities and large comfortable consulting rooms.

Belconnen Animal Hospital

With an ethos anchored in the delivery of quality pet care, Belconnen Animal Hospital are well placed to deliver to your medial and surgical needs. They hold the philosophy that prevention is better can cure, and endeavour to care for your pets to ensure long, happy, and comfortable lives.

Recent changes in ownership have seen numerous improvements including state of the art technology and expanded service capability during business and emergency hours. Services include dentistry, behaviour, vaccinations, pathology, and more. Located in Weetangra the hospital is open six days a week.

Helen Day shared this great experience on Google, The staff clearly love animals! Very helpful and supportive of us and our new puppy, particularly as we have absolutely no experience.”

There is a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. For urgent care see our article on the best emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra.

Moreover, our articles on the best dog trainers, the best dog groomers, the best pet shops and pet supplies may help.

If you are a looking for somewhere for your pet to stay look to our articles on the best dog walkers and pet sitters, the best dog boarding kennels and catteries, and the best doggy daycare may be helpful.

Finally, if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest.

Your experience with vets in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the vets listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a veterinarian do?
Veterinarians service the healthcare needs of animals, much like doctors do for us humans. Commonly referred to as ‘vets’, veterinarians generally practice in hospital or clinic settings where they treat animals, including our beloved pets.
Why should I take my pet to the vet?
Veterinarians play an important role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of your pet. They monitor current states; diagnose and manage diseases; and treat sick or injured animals. As our pet’s mask symptoms easily, regular visits to the vet to help to keep them in tip top shape and prevent future illnesses.
How often should I take my pet to the vet?
The frequency of vet visits tends to depend on your pets age and their individual health needs. That said, most veterinarians recommend that you take your pet to them at least once a year for an annual wellness assessment. Additionally, take your pet to the vet as needed for any issues such as illness or incident which may arise.
What does a wellness check involve?
Regular wellness checks allow your vet to prevent, detect, or treat any health issues before they become life threatening. A typical wellness check may include a physical examination, diagnostic test, and a faecal examination.
Why should I vaccinate my dog or cat?
Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious diseases, and prevents the transmission of those that pose a risk to humans. For specific advice on vaccinations please consult your vet.

What's Your Opinion?

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50 Responses to The best vets in Canberra
canberrascout canberrascout 3:58 pm 06 Nov 19

Sonza Vet Clinic was consistently cheaper for us when we and dogs. They also made house calls at the time for us when it was too painful for our pets to continue. Highly recommended for budget pet care.
Sonza Vet Clinic 5893 Kings Hwy, Kowen ACT 2620 (02) 6238 1132 Checked their google reviews and seems their reputation still holds up.

Ian Ian 10:48 am 09 Jan 12

I’ve always found Belconnen Animal Hospital (cnr Belconnen Way and Coulter Drive at Weetangera) very good.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 10:37 am 09 Jan 12

deltarider said :

LiamMarsh said :

Jan Spate in hall, good vet, very nice lady, super cheap. Sorry I don’t have a number for you. when you find her address/number don’t bother calling you just turn up to the clinic on a first there first served type thing.

In the interests of having all the information available to you, Jan Spate has been deregistered as a veterinary surgeon by the vets board due to incompetence. I wouldn’t take my pets to her in a million years.

Care to back that up with any evidence? There were certainly issues with Jan’s registration a couple of years back, however as this story from 2009 mentions – – she was re-registered back then, and the issues mentioned are nothing to do with incompetence.

Shazam Shazam 9:45 am 09 Jan 12

Jan Spate in Hall is basic but cheap and very thorough. Why spend $1000 when you can get the same type of service for $50 or $100.

We have two cats and two rabbits and love our animals but I think some people go a little crazy over their pets. If ya don’t give birth to it or marry it (or are born into it ) then it isn’t family, but haivng said that, our animals are much loved. The amount of money people spend on their pets is abominable!! $7000, seriously!! Think what that can do to feed starving people. More than happy to take the animals to the vet if they are sick but seriously, having operations and the like is more about you than the animal as you are just increasing their suffering.

deltarider deltarider 10:04 am 28 Jun 11

LiamMarsh said :

Jan Spate in hall, good vet, very nice lady, super cheap. Sorry I don’t have a number for you. when you find her address/number don’t bother calling you just turn up to the clinic on a first there first served type thing.

In the interests of having all the information available to you, Jan Spate has been deregistered as a veterinary surgeon by the vets board due to incompetence. I wouldn’t take my pets to her in a million years.

You should always seek the best veterinary care which you can afford. The bigger hospitals do have equipment and means available to them which small clinics may not. If the vet feels your cat needs regular check ups/blood tests, etc. to ensure the medication it is on and dosage is still appropriate and not harmful to your cat then I’d be inclined to doing just that. How much would you be prepared to pay for your child’s medical care?

pjcook pjcook 9:55 am 07 Jan 11

+1 for Jane Spate at Hall

sunshine sunshine 5:13 pm 06 Jan 11

i don’t know about the belconnen area however in all the yrs i’ve lived in canberra and no matter what suburb i always go to see either Malcolm or Karen @ Tuggeronong Veterinary Clinic in Fadden. I could not speak more highly of their caring compassionate natures – would trust them with animals no questions.

akinom akinom 5:04 pm 06 Jan 11

Bad Seed – +1 for South Vet Centre at Narrabundah. The guy there is particularly good with cockies and other birds

Jim Jones Jim Jones 1:53 pm 06 Jan 11

Whatever, Conan – proceed on the basis of lack of evidence and make whatever assumptions you want.

I’ve had poor experiences on pretty much the same lines with these vets in the past, as have friends and acquaintances, and would advise anyone to avoid them.

I know exactly what the OP is going through and extremely pissed off that a vet would use old pets nearing the end of their lives as a means of extorting money from clients completely unnecessarily.

Bad Seed Bad Seed 1:05 pm 06 Jan 11

Not in Belconnen but we have used the Inner South Veterinary Centre at Narrabundah (next to the German Club) for more than 30 years for various dogs and cats and always found them great

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 11:39 am 06 Jan 11

“…there are lots of medical conditions (for both humans and animals) that require constant, unchanging medication until death – and vets will acknowledge this.”

That information is not in the OP, so how can we take your word on it that these cats are experiencing similar issues?

“Doesn’t matter who you are, being gouged a couple of thousand dollars for a vet when you already have a firm diagnosis and know what is necessary is utter bollocks.”

It also doesn’t matter what you think you know, as at no point has the OP stated the nature of the conditions, and working off the data provided, the OP could be risking the lives of their beloved felines simply because they felt they were being hard done by financially.

I’m all for saving money, money is great, but not enough evidence has been provided to assume the vet is doing something shonky.

Madame Workalot Madame Workalot 11:02 am 06 Jan 11

Another +1 for Tuggers Vet Hospital in Braddon. I have taken my dogs there for various ailments over the years, and have never been unhappy with the treatment. They always take extra-special care and are polite, caring and compassionate. Well worth the 40 min drive.

JessP JessP 10:52 am 06 Jan 11

I would recomend the Brudine Veterinary Hospital located at the Corner Kingsford Smith Drv & Alfred Hill Drv in Melba (+1 for Lefty!).

Brudine has been great friendly, realistic and reasonable. Highly recomended!!

EvanJames EvanJames 9:47 am 06 Jan 11

Agree with comments above about those large vet businesses where you see a different vet each time. We have had real trouble with that in the past, total lack of continuity of care which resulted in a dog with a broken leg dying of kidney failure (one of the many she saw put her on the wrong medication).

We see the bloke who operates out of his house in Ijong St, Braddon, now. We don’t get the gammut of x-rays and blood tests for every diagnosis. Seems OK.

taninaus taninaus 7:11 am 06 Jan 11

@Minion – +1 for Tuggeranong Vet Hospital – a small group of senior vets and they are picky about the junior vets that work for them so you always get good ones. They have been very good to me thorough my dog getting diabetes and various other health issues.

tiliqua tiliqua 10:55 pm 05 Jan 11

@Minion #30 – I can’t speak highly enough of Malcolm McKnown, Tuggeranong Vet Hospital in Fadden.

cleo cleo 10:15 pm 05 Jan 11

I’ve never taken a pet to Jan spate, but I have heard she is excellent, I live on the other side of town and recommend Peter Burgers in Braddon.

lucym lucym 9:59 pm 05 Jan 11

Did you know that with some vet meds you can get scripts filled at human pharmacies? When our dog was prescribed heart medication it was very expensive to get it through the vet. I looked into options and found that Macquarie Pharmacy (which is a compounding chemist) was able to compound the meds for me at 1/4 the cost. Our dog was on the medication for 2 years and it saved a lot of money. We asked our vet for the script to shop around and they were happy to provide it. They also gave us repeat scripts at no cost.

Tainted Tainted 9:37 pm 05 Jan 11

Depending which part of Tuggers, Weston Creek Vet Hospital probably isn’t too far away. The vets are vet nurses are fantastic, really care about the creatures they are treating and don’t just try to get your money. We’ve used them for years for our dogs and cats and wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere.

Gin02 Gin02 9:03 pm 05 Jan 11

+1 Small Friends in Amaroo.

It’s a bit of a hike but so worth it. All the staff are lovely, are more than happy to answer my silly questions, have no problem dealing with my excitable Staffy and actually care about the animals welfare instead of just getting the cash off you.

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