The decision to own a dog isn’t one to be taken lightly, and one important part of raising a pooch is quality veterinary care. However, lots of dog parents are misinformed when it comes to vet fees and prices, which is why we’ve put together this article to serve as a guide.
So, how much can you expect to pay in vet fees and charges during the course of your dog’s life? On average, prices for vet visits typically range between $50 to $400; However, due to the several medical conditions that dogs are prone to and the specialized care that is needed to treat these conditions, it isn’t uncommon to incur costs running into thousands of dollars on vet fees alone!
It is difficult to state with certainty how much you will end up spending during vet visits, and bills for emergency procedures mostly catch pet parents off-guard. To avoid being caught off-guard, it is important that you get familiar with the price ranges for standard vet procedures. And as a way of helping you get prepared for the next time you’ll be visiting your vet, let’s take a look at the average prices for vet procedures at clinics across the United States.
What Is The Average Vet Bill For A Dog?
The average vet bill for a dog varies and is largely influenced by the reason for the visit to the vet, as well as the severity of the medical condition if any. Usually, fees for regular vet visits range between $45 to $55, but visits requiring specialized care and emergency care can result in vet fees running into hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Below are some standard vet procedures in the United States and the average vet bill you can expect to pay for each procedure:
Regular Wellness Check-ups And Routine Care
Regular vet visits are needed to keep a pooch in good health and prevent the occurrence of certain medical conditions. The cost of a routine vet check-up typically ranges between $45 to $55, but this is only the base fee.
Additional costs may be incurred during the course of carrying out a routine check-up on your pooch, depending on what your vet discovers while examining the dog. And these extra fees can significantly increase the total amount spent on a regular wellness check.
That said, common routine and preventive care procedures for dogs and the price estimates for each procedure are listed below:
- Anal gland expression: $25 to $50
- Nail trimming: $10 to $20
- Fecal examination: $25 to $45
- Heartworm tests: $45 to $50
Dogs are prone to suffering from a number of dental issues, and as a result, dental-related issues are a particularly popular reason for vet visits in the United States. Tartar and plaque can easily build upon a dog’s teeth if not taken care of, and this can cause several problems, including gum disease for the pooch.
Dental cleaning is a common preventive care routine for dogs, and the average cost of this exercise typically ranges between $70 to $400. For dogs with diseased teeth or oral infections, treatment costs are significantly higher, and owners may have to pay fees ranging between $800 to $3,000, depending on the severity of the condition.
Ear infections, just like dental issues, are predominant among dogs and also constitute a high percentage of visits to the vet.
The exposed nature of dogs’ ears makes it considerably easy for pooches to develop issues with their ears. And although ear infections aren’t exactly life-threatening, they can be quite uncomfortable for a pooch to deal with.
That said, it will cost you upwards of $40 to treat your dog’s ear infection, depending on the part of the pooch’s ear that is infected and the severity of the condition.
Also featured on the list of medical conditions that are commonly observed among dogs, regardless of breed or size, are skin infections. That said, there are several types of skin infections that your dog may fall victim to, but some of the more common examples include bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasitic infestations, and more.
More often than not, skin infections require specialized care, and vets across the country typically prescribe both medicated pet shampoo and medication, costing between $100 to $200 to treat this condition.
Fleas make dogs, as well as their owners, miserable; Hence, to guarantee your pooch’s comfort, it is recommended that you set apart a budget for carrying out period flea testing exercises on your pooch.
Flea testing mostly involves the vet just carrying out a thorough visual examination of the pet, and as such, prices of this test are reasonably priced – You should expect to spend between $10 to $15 to carry out monthly flea testing on your pooch.
Vaccination is important to develop a pooch’s immune system from an early age and help build resistance against certain deadly diseases that typically affect and kill dogs.
Recommended vaccinations for dogs include shots against parvovirus, canine distemper, rabies, and hepatitis, just to mention a few. The average cost of vaccines for these diseases varies, but you can expect to pay between $15 to $30 per vaccine shot.
Subsequently, when you add up all the core vaccine shots that puppies are required to take, you’ll most likely end up paying between $60 to $120 in vaccination fees for the first year of a pooch’s life.
Spaying And Neutering
If you’re not interested in raising an army of puppies or breeding your pooch, then you should consider investing in a spaying/neutering procedure for your pooch.
Spaying/Neutering involves either a partial or complete removal of your pooch’s reproductive system. And apart from preventing unwanted pregnancies, spaying/neutering can also prevent the development of certain dog behavior such as urine spraying as well as medical conditions such as cancer of the testes and prostate issues.
Spaying/Neutering is a fairly common procedure in the United States, and vets across the country typically charge between $200 to $800 to get rid of your pooch’s reproductive system.
Yes, the variation in prices for spaying and neutering is considerably large, and this is largely influenced by the quality of the clinic at which the procedure is carried out. In addition, spaying (for female dogs) is typically more complex to carry out than neutering (for male dogs); hence you can expect prices for this procedure to fall on the higher side.
Dogs are allergic to a wide variety of substances, and exposure to any of these substances can greatly affect a pooch’s quality of life. That said, vets have the ability to detect the presence of allergies in dogs by running a series of blood or skin tests.
Prices for these allergy tests vary, but most vets in the United States will charge between $195 to $250 to carry out skin tests on your pooch, while blood tests, with prices ranging between $200 to $300, are slightly more expensive.
Factors That Influence The Average Vet Bills
Some of the factors that play a role in influencing average vet bills across the country include the dog’s size, temperament, the location of the veterinary practice, and the nature of your visit to the vet.
As inferred by the prices quoted for the vet procedures listed in subsequent sections, it is clear to see that prices for each of these procedures vary, and this can be attributed to several factors.
Without further ado, some of the factors that are responsible for the fluctuation in vet prices across the country, explained in detail, include:
Size And Temperament
Large dogs needing to undergo a surgical procedure will typically need more anesthesia, and this can significantly spike up vet fees.
Similarly, if you own an aggressive dog, you’ll most likely be charged more for vet visits and consultations, and the reason for this is straightforward – additional staff will be needed to restrain the pooch, and muzzles may also be required to keep the pooch from biting.
Another factor that can significantly influence vet fees and charges is the location of the veterinary clinic where your pooch receives treatment.
Generally, the higher the standard of living where a vet clinic is located, the higher you can expect to pay in vet fees and charges, and vice versa. Of course, this isn’t entirely the case, but regardless, it holds true for the majority of clinics across the United States.
Quality Of Service Provided
In addition, the amenities and facilities owned by a vet clinic also play a huge role in determining what your final bill will look like. Vet clinics with world-class facilities will typically charge a premium for services rendered, compared to those with basic facilities.
Nature Of The Visit
If the purpose of your visit to the vet is for a routine check-up, you can expect to pay a moderate amount in vet fees and charges. However, if your pooch is in extremely poor health, and requires emergency medical attention, vet fees can rise really high.
What To Do If You Can’t Afford Vet Fees?
If you can’t afford to outrightly pay your vet’s fees, you can either opt for an affordable pet insurance plan, discuss with your vet on a modified payment plan or ask friends and family for financial assistance.
Consider Alternatives To Pet Insurance
One way by which you can avoid paying a premium in vet fees is by opting for pet health plan alternatives through reputable companies such as Pawp, Petplan, Eunsoh, just to mention a few.
The monthly cost of a pet health plan is typically small, and you can raise your pooch backed by the knowledge that the company you have selected has your back.
However, before opting for just any pet health plan, you should thoroughly go over the terms and conditions of the plan to ensure that you’ll be getting the best deal.
Negotiate With Your Vet
If you’re running short on cash and can’t afford to pay vet fees in full, it wouldn’t hurt to discuss with your vet to reach some sort of payment agreement; This agreement could either be in the form of staggered payments over a specified period or deferred payment.
Understandably, this may be difficult to pull off, but your chances will be especially boosted if you have some sort of long-standing relationship with your vet or the clinic and if you’ve been known to previously pay your vet bills in full.
Consider Non-Profit Organizations
There are several organizations that will provide emergency medical care for your pet at little or no cost, and it may be worth giving some of them a try.
In addition, if you reside close to a university, you can also make inquiries to find out whether or not they offer low-cost vet services.
Ask For Help
It won’t hurt to ask friends and family for help in paying vet bills and getting quality care for your ailing pet. You can also take advantage of any of the popular crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe to raise funds for your pet’s treatment.
In addition, there are certain organizations that can provide assistance, and help offset vet bills, provided you meet requirements. Some of these animal relief organizations include the Canine Cancer Awareness, The Big Hearts Fund, Red Rover, and the American Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.