Competitive applicants to veterinary medical schools are well rounded and have pursued a wide range of experiences to develop not only their scientific, thinking, and reasoning skills, but also interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills, professionalism, and of course animal care experience. Most vet schools like to see some job shadowing or experience in one or more veterinary settings so you have some idea what veterinary care is like from the veterinarian’s perspective, and have an opportunity to explore and appreciate different styles of veterinary practices or specialties. In addition, pre-vet students are expected to have a significant amount of hands on animal care experience before they apply, either paid or volunteer, with both small (companion) and large animals. There is no set number of hours - requirements vary by individual vet school - it’s about both quality than quantity of experience.
Volunteering and community service, whether or not it is in a healthcare setting, demonstrates your commitment to serving others, as you will as a future physician.
Research experience helps you to learn the problem-solving skills needed to think like a veterinarian, and develop an understanding and appreciation for the scientific and medical research that will be the basis for modern veterinary practice.
Becoming a leader in a student organization, job, etc. gives you experience working with teams, communicating, and working together to share responsibility for accomplishing shared goals. Consider joining organizations such as Alpha Epsilon Delta honor society or Wags for Mags, and working your way toward an executive board or other leadership role.