You are already spending a significant portion of money on your dog’s food, accessories, and toys. Annual trips to the vet are additional expenses that many people would prefer not to think about. The truth is that owning a furry friend can be expensive because it includes many costs that first-time dog owners don’t initially consider. You can save money on certain items, but there are a few costs that you absolutely cannot skimp on.
Veterinary health checkups are crucial if you own a pet. Dogs require these for vaccinations, internal and external parasite prevention, and in case of injury and illness, so your pup inevitably needs to go to the vet from time to time. Setting aside money every month is one way to save for these trips. But how much should you be saving? This article will go into detail about the average costs of a vet visit so you can plan accordingly.
A basic vet visit might cost between $50 and $100. If your dog needs extra services like vaccinations or tests, you can expect to pay more.
The Importance of Regular Vet Visits
Don’t underestimate the importance of a dog’s annual wellness exam. Even if you don’t think there is anything wrong with your dog, skipping the trip to the vet could have some severe consequences in the future. Your four-legged friends need their wellness exams because the vets can check on your pet’s overall health and look for signs of diseases. More often than not, these wellness visits are vital for catching things like dental disease, heart problems, or even cancer while they are still in their early stages.
How Much Does the Average Vet Visit for a Dog Cost?
The price for your dog’s trip to the vet depends on the context in which they are visiting. For this article, let’s assume that you’re going to a wellness appointment without any serious health concerns or clinical signs in mind.
Not including vaccinations, most wellness visits take place once or twice every year; each visit can cost between $50 and $100 per visit.
Your vet will check your pup’s vital signs, including heart and respiratory auscultation, pulse quality, weight, and temperature, at these appointments. They also perform a full physical examination of your dog’s mouth, skin, coat, joints, abdomen, ears, legs, tail, and head.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Your annual or bi-annual wellness visit is the time to ensure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations and gets the appropriate medications for heartworm, lungworm, fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. Depending on the medicines you choose, those could cost an additional $70 to $200.
If the vet notices any problems with your pet’s health, there could be even more costs applied during checkout. Your vet may suggest additional tests, such as blood tests, radiographs, or an ultrasound scan.
If your pet requires professional dental cleaning, expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $800 based on the severity. Many veterinarian offices also send in fecal examinations and heartworm tests for dogs, which cost about $50 each. All of these things are required for catching parasites in advance and keeping your dog in good health.
Quick Tip: If you are unable to pay the costs of your vet bills, a pet crowdfunding site like Waggle can sometimes be a great place to find help.
How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?
The number of visits you take to the vet ultimately depends on your dog’s age and health. You should always follow your veterinarian’s advice on this matter.
Puppies: Birth to 1 Year
You will have to bring in your puppies for their vaccines approximately once per month until they are about 16 weeks old. This often includes shots for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and other diseases. They also start to receive flea, tick, and heartworm medications at this time.
Adults: 1 Year to 7 Years
The absolute minimum that you should be taking your dog to the vet during their adult years is once per year. However, some veterinarians recommend taking them in twice per year based on any problems they might have.
Seniors: 7+ Years
Most veterinarians suggest bringing your senior dogs into the vet’s office twice per year. They will receive more thorough exams and tests that give them an idea of what your pet’s kidney, liver, and hormone levels look like. You should also mention any changes in behavior or health because they could be a sign of something more serious.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Annual Vet Visits?
Always review several pet insurance companies and what types of coverage their plans offer before signing up with one. While some companies do cover wellness visits, there are usually contingencies put in place. Depending on the provider and plan you pay for, they may or may not cover things like:
How to Prepare for Your Dog’s Annual Vet Visit
Some dogs love the vet and others dread it. If you want to keep your wellness trips to a minimum, you need to keep your dog’s health in mind throughout the entire year. This often looks like feeding them a high-quality, complete, and balanced diet, brushing their teeth, administering heartworm and flea and tick medications, watching them for early signs of disease, knowing which common products in our lives are toxic to them, and giving them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. The more consistent you are with a healthy lifestyle, the less likely you are to have to make extra trips to the vet and dish out extra cash.
The cost of taking your pup to the vet is unavoidable when you’re a dog owner. Even if it is expensive at times, this needs to be something that you consider before even acquiring a new dog. Some people prefer to purchase pet insurance for a low monthly price because emergency visits can quickly add up over time.
Your dog is a part of the family. You wouldn’t allow your kids to miss doctor’s appointments, so dogs shouldn’t have to miss theirs either. Expensive toys and fancy dog beds can be overlooked; wellness visits should never be. Evaluate your financial situation from time to time, and try to set aside money so you always have cash set aside in case it’s needed. The joy your dog brings you when they are at their healthiest is well worth the cost of the yearly trip to the vet.
Featured Image Credit: Hryshchyshen Serhii, Shutterstock