Comparison shop, for services and prescriptions
As with human doctors, fees can vary from vet to vet. It’s worth taking the time to call a few veterinary offices to find out what their fees are.
After your vet has given their recommendation for the best course of action, ask if there are any other options. There may be alternate courses of action that are just as effective yet less expensive. It helps to let your vet know if you’re on a tight budget, as they might offer discounted services or a payment plan.
Most vets mark up any medications they sell themselves. If you ask for a written prescription, you can comparison shop, either at your local pharmacy or online (make sure you’re using a reputable website). It also never hurts to ask your vet if they have free samples available, especially when it’s a new medication for your pet.
Use a vet college or pop-up clinic
Vet colleges typically offer lower rates so that their students can gain real-world knowledge. Always verify that a licensed veterinarian supervises students.
Organizations like The Humane Society and ASPCA often offer clinics that provide discounted services to the community, so it’s worth checking with your local chapter to see what they have planned.
Take steps to keep your pet healthy
Healthy pets are less likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure, so watch their weight. Your vet will be able to tell you what a healthy weight is for your animal. Making sure your four-legged friend gets regular exercise is helpful, too.
Take time to research preventative care and helpful supplements for your pet. For instance, giving your pet a heartworm preventative is cheaper than treating a heartworm infection. There may be supplements that will help your pet stay healthy, but check with your vet before giving anything new to your animal.
Always schedule annual wellness exams, which may help your vet catch any issues before they become a bigger deal.
And if you’re an adventurous sort, trim your pet’s nails and brush their teeth yourself!
Consider pet insurance
Before you purchase insurance, research what it covers and what it excludes. Paying annually, having multiple pets on the policy, and tailoring the plan to fit your specific needs can help provide savings, too. It’s also helpful to make sure your vet takes pet insurance.
Medical credit cards
Medical credit cards offer financing options that regular credit cards don’t, to be used on health and wellness care expenses. There are multiple short-term payment plans available as well as longer-term financing periods. Be aware that they charge higher interest rates than average, so although it may save money in the short term, it could end up costing more in the long run.
A quick note about what not to do:
DON’T over-vaccinate. Some vaccines can be given less often, or are less expensive if given on an alternate vaccination schedule.
DON’T try do-it-yourself vaccines. There is always a risk of an adverse reaction, like anaphylactic shock, in which case your pet will need immediate medical attention.
DON’T give your pets human medication, as they can be toxic to animals or cause serious side effects.
DON’T skip or alter dosages of your pet’s prescription medication.