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What Is the Average Cost of a Vet Visit for a Dog? (2023 Update)

close up of french bulldog dog being held by veterinarian doctor at vet clinic

You’re already spending a significant portion of money on your dog’s food, accessories, and toys. Adding on your annual trips to the vet is one additional price 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 certainly save money on some items, but there are a few costs that you absolutely cannot skimp on.

Routine health checkups are crucial if you own a pet.

Dogs require routine checkups for vaccinations, medications, injury, and illness, and your pup inevitably needs to go to the vet from time to time. Setting aside some 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 that 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.

divider-dog pawThe 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 cancer and parasites while they are still in their early stages.

vet hand's holding injection for dog
Image Credit: Photographee, Shutterstock

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 the purpose of this article, let’s assume that you’re going to a wellness appointment without any serious health concerns or symptoms 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 like pulse, weight, temperature, and respiration at these appointments. They also perform a physical examination of your dog’s coat, joints, 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, fleas, and ticks. 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.

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, then a pet crowdfunding site like Waggle can sometimes be a great place to find help.

veterinarian microchipping beagle dog with syringe
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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.

Puppies: Birth to 1 Year

You will have to bring in your puppies for their vaccines once per month until they are about 16 weeks old. This often includes shots for rabies, parvo, 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.

female veterinarian checking up a dog
Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

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 them. 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 such as:

  • Routine checkups
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Common illnesses
  • Serious illnesses
  • Diagnostics and testing

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, then you need to keep your dog’s health in mind throughout the entire year. This often looks like feeding them a diet made up of clean and healthy ingredients, brushing their teeth, administering heartworm pills, administering flea and tick medications, and giving them plenty of exercise. 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 purchasing 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 some money so that 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

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