4 Tips To Save Money On Your Vet Bill

18 January 2014


Oftentimes, when people get dogs or cats for pets, they underestimate the total cost or the usual cost of a pet.  There can be some large unexpected expenses that can increase the cost of veterinarian bills to an extreme amount.  For example, my dog was chewing on a raw bone one day and broke his tooth.  He had to have this removed and had to be placed under general anaesthetic for the procedure.  The total bill cost well over $1000 to remove a fractured tooth.

Although you can't predict or prevent something random like this from happening, there are some ways to mitigate the cost of the vet bill and also some ways in which you can prevent more predictable health issues from happening.

Here are some tips on ways to save money on your next vet bill:

Shop Around

Veterinary practices (like medical practices) have high overhead costs (rent, staff, etc.).  Therefore it might be prudent to look around and comparison shop for a veterinarian who does not have high overhead costs to pay (such as high rent if it is in an area such as downtown).  When the costs are lower, the lower overhead costs are usually passed down to you, the pet owner.

Canadian Living stated that the fine balance is between quality and cost.  While you may want to save a buck or two, you don't want to do so at the expense of your pet who may not receive competent, quality care.  Canadian Living recommends that you call around with the details of your pet's condition and ask for general quotes on how much the veterinary services would cost.  I personally called around to two or three different veterinary practices on how much it would cost to extract a tooth that was fractured at the gum line.  The vet clinics were generally able to give me a ballpark range, which I found quite helpful and it also gave me peace of mind in knowing that my usual vet wasn't completely overcharging me.

Ask for a Written Quote

Before you whip your credit card out, ask for a written quote.  Sometimes veterinarians add unnecessary procedures or tests that may not be completely needed - these will show up on the written quote.  I recall one time a veterinarian practice wanted to catheterize my pet (to put a tube up into his bladder so he doesn't need to pee) except that there was no need for it as he was just receiving fluids through an intravenous line for a few hours.

Obtaining a quote that is written out can also help you with your comparison shopping.

Administer Medications Yourself

US News suggests that there are certain things that you can do yourself easily without having to pay an administration fee for it.  Although you may not be comfortable with giving vaccinations or injections to your pet, there are other actions that are often included in the veterinarian bill but can be done yourself, suggests US News.

For example, one time the veterinarian charged $20 for a urine sample/urine collection from my dog.  His veterinarian technician was assigned to duty to collect the urine sample, but I offered to do it myself to save some money.  They also offered me this option as well.

Prevention is Key

Like all things in life and with regards to health, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.  Ensuring that your pooch is within the normal weights for his or her breed is important because that gives you an idea of how fast or how slow he or she will be.

Overweight dogs, like in humans, are more prone to developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions.

Regular teeth brushing is also very helpful, as it has been shown to prevent gingivitis or other teeth complications over time.

The verdict? Since we have no way of knowing when the emergency funds for your pooch are needed, it is helpful to create a monthly savings budget, so that there are no surprises when it comes time for a vet visit.

Bargainmoosers, what do you think are some other ways to save money on vet bills for your pets?

(banner image credit: Caza_No_7)

1 comment

  • MissLexie
    A few more tips that can help as well: 1- ask vet about human prescription alternatives. Some drugs are available by prescription (via the vet) at your local drugstore. The savings are significant. 2- consider alternative treatments such as chiropractors, acupuncturists,etc. Yes, they exist for pets. We've seen improvement with our two dogs with chiropractic visits. It also allowed us to decrease traditional pain meds. 3- pet insurance: lots of competion in this market means better rates for us. Shop around.

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