Veterinary care can be expensive, but it is important to provide regular checkups and treatments for your dog.
The cost of a vet visit can vary depending on the procedures that are necessary, but here is an estimate of the average cost of some common services.
According to research conducted by Actijoy, the average costs are as follows:
- Annual Wellness Vet Visit: $45 – $55
- Annual Blood Test: $90 – $110
- Annual Fecal Test: $25 – $45
All in all, you can expect to pay around $300 to $800 yearly for preventative dog healthcare in the United States.
We’ll be covering some different reasons for vet visits, what costs you should expect when you should take your dog to the vet, and some ways to help lessen the costs.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Vet Look At My Dog?
As mentioned above, the costs will depend on the purpose of your visit.
The costs for routine vet visits are markedly different from the costs for specialist consultations. If your dog has been in an accident and in need of emergency surgery, then the costs would include vet and consultation charges along with in-patient stays and surgery costs.
However, to give you an idea of what type of costs to expect, your annual vet care costs for a dog fall in the range of $300 to $400.
The average cost of having a vet check your dog through a physical exam is $50.
Almost all vets will charge a consultation fee, but there are healthcare plans that you can consider with different pet healthcare providers. For example, PetSmart has a wellness plan from Banfield, which costs $37.95 per month, and you get decent coverage for your dear Fido.
Then there are vaccines and ailments. Shots cost in the neighborhood of $15 to $25, but if you’re deworming your dog, then you can expect a $1,000 bill.
On average, emergency care tends to run upwards of $1,000.
Surgeries can also be expensive.
For example, if your dog has a broken leg, you can expect surgery and aftercare costs to go upwards of $3,500.
Similarly, tumor removals cost about $1,000. Moreover, there are additional treatments for postoperative care and their costs to consider.
So, as you can see, the costs of a vet visit will ultimately depend on the reason for your visit.
Do I Have To Take My Dog To The Vet?
In a nutshell, you should be taking your dog to the vet as often as necessary.
For routine visits, you should take your dog to the vet once every six months. If biannual visits are too costly for your budget, then you should aim for one yearly check-up.
However, it should be obvious that this is for routine visits to make sure your dog’s overall health and lifestyle are in order. In other words, routine visits are only preventative medicine.
If your dog falls ill, then you shouldn’t be waiting for your annual check-up and should be rushing to the vet immediately. Notice if there are any changes in your dog’s behavior.
If your dog’s appetite has changed drastically, energy levels seem to have fallen down, or there is any diarrhea, then you should be consulting with a doctor.
You also need to keep an eye out for skin conditions.
If your dog’s fur or skin does not seem like it should, then you should be going to see the vet immediately. Your dog won’t be developing a unique birthmark after half a lifetime, so be prudent and consult with your vet.
Dental disease is also something you need to be mindful of.
If your dog’s breath stinks or there is bleeding in the gums, then you need to reconsider your dog’s diet first.
If that doesn’t help then you need to speak to your vet to rule out any gum or tooth infection.
Do Vets Have A Payment Plan?
Yes, vets do have payment plans!
Just like any other business, vets need to cater to the demands of their customer base, a good chunk of which is people who can’t afford to repeatedly pay for check-ups or arrange a large amount of money for emergency surgery on short notice.
Therefore, you will find many veterinarians who offer an interest-free payment plan, where the installments would spread over a short period of time (normally 6 months).
Some might have some stringent conditions and require you to apply for external financing, for which they will have pre-existing channels with financing companies.
Regardless of the financing model, the vast majority of veterinarians will offer some form of financing. Even though it might be an awkward subject to discuss, the only way you can find out is if you actually discuss your options with your veterinarian.
Of course, you could also choose to pay with a credit card and convert that over to an installment plan. You’re also bound to find a financing company that will give you a short-term loan.
However, you should know that interest rates on such loans are on the higher side.
Vets also offer treatment plans, where you pay a monthly fee and you would be able to consult with a vet for routine matters and a specific list of ailments and procedures.
Even though major health issues would not be covered by such plans, it could go a long way in saving you money for routine check-ups.
Is It Worth Getting Pet Insurance For My Dog?
- Eligibility requirements for pet insurance aren’t too stringent. All legalized dog breeds are eligible for insurance so long as they are older than 8 weeks of age.
- Insurance is affordable. You can get the most basic coverage for your dog for as low as $20, with prices going up to $100. However, even the most basic pet insurance will offer you much-needed relief.
- A good insurance plan offers value for money. The most basic coverage will offer you 60% to 80% relief on your vet’s medical bills. If you opt for a more expensive insurance plan, you might even find 100% relief.
- Pet insurance will offer you peace of mind. Veterinary bills can skyrocket fast, and a financial pitfall will just add to your stress on top of the fact that your canine friend is ill.
- In some insurance plans, you will have to pay the money upfront and then will be reimbursed by your insurance provider later. Such plans do not do much for those who do not have large amounts of cash on hand, which would include most people.
- Also, any pre-existing conditions would not be covered. You also need to check that your insurance plan has “continuing coverage”, otherwise premiums can change mid-plan if your dog develops a chronic illness.
- Monthly premium payments tend to get more expensive as your dog ages. This reason has caused many people to consider alternative coverage options, like Eusoh, a cost-sharing platform for pets, where monthly payments are always fixed.
What Do You Do If You Can’t Afford A Vet?
One of the most common ways to raise money for vet care is through the internet. Pet owners have repeatedly depended on social media sites and Go Fund Me campaigns to raise money for things like routine procedures and even life-saving surgery.
If you have any old stuff that is in good condition and of no use to you, then have a yard sale and sell everything. A few hundred dollars can go a long way in covering vet costs for the entire year. You can turn the yard sale into an annual event, letting you make a regular fund for your dog’s vet.
Borrow From A Friend
If a payment plan and insurance, as mentioned above, are not an option, then you can consider borrowing money from a friend or family member.
Free Pet Clinics
Free pet clinics might not be the most glamorous practice that you’ll visit, but they will get the job done. You can’t just ignore your dog’s health and if caring for your pooch means you have to wait for a few hours in a small dingy room, then so be it.
While it does sound harsh, the reality is that owning a dog is not cheap. If you keep compromising when it comes to your dog’s needs and expenses, you will very soon be compromising your dog’s health. If owning a dog is beyond your means, then you should consider surrendering your dog to a shelter.
What Is The Most Expensive Dog Surgery?
Hip replacement is often the most expensive dog surgery. Vet bills for a single hip replacement are in the range of $4,000 to $5,000. Double hip replacement surgery can cost upwards of $8,000. This wouldn’t include after-surgery treatment and hospital stay, which would add another $1,000 to your bill.
How Much Does It Cost To Put Your Dog To Sleep?
The average cost of euthanization and cremation of a dog is around $300. Veterinarians will also come to your home and carry out the euthanization for about $150. If you do not wish to cremate your dog, you can lay your late friend to rest in the backyard.
How Can I Get My Dog Fixed For Free?
You can get your dog fixed for free by visiting a free spay/neuter program. There are databases on the internet that will allow you to find the nearest one to your location. After a somewhat lengthy wait for a vet consultation, you can get your dog fixed free of charge.