How Much Do Vet Services Cost for Dogs?
Any dog owner can tell you how much having a pet will change your world. Having this best friend around means unconditional love and endless opportunities for cuddles and cute videos.
Of course, it also means many extra responsibilities caring for your new pet, and you'll need to be prepared for the vet service costs.
According to CareCredit, routine vet services cost about $700 to $2,000 annually for a healthy dog. Individual costs will vary according to your location. Read on for a breakdown of these expenses.
Like humans, dogs need a medical check-up once a year — not just when you think something is wrong. Dogs can’t talk to you, so it's easy to miss early signs of illness. A vet check-up costs about $45 to $55.
However, for complete peace of mind, many owners prefer to get a complete blood screening. These tests cost more — between $90 and $110 — but are better at detecting certain diseases early on.
It’s vital to get your dog fully vaccinated to prevent them from contracting diseases such as rabies and parvovirus. If you adopt or buy an unvaccinated puppy, your vet can administer the necessary vaccines. Be warned: There are a lot!
Puppy vaccination costs usually add up to about $100 to $250. Initial vaccinations involve a series of shots administered once a month at 2, 3 and 4 months old, and then a yearly booster after that, or in some cases, a booster every 2 to 3 years. Vaccinations cost between $80 and $100 annually.
Typically, the cost of spaying and neutering runs between $35 and $400, depending on the type of clinic. Low-cost centers exist, but they can rarely offer the same level of individual care. Generally, neutering is cheaper than spaying, as spaying is a more complicated procedure.
Unless you specifically plan on breeding your dog, have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible. This prevents accidental pregnancies (which come with their own vet costs) and helps reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggressive behavior and unwanted roaming.
Preventative flea and tick care comes to about $40 to $200 a year, with the most effective treatments on the higher end. If you live in a region with a high tick population, investing in a tick collar or preventative medication is vital, as a bite can seriously harm your dog.
Preventative care is highly recommended for fleas because it is very difficult to rid your home of fleas once you have them. It involves a deep clean of all carpeting, furnishings and bedding that your dog has touched. Or, in a worst-case scenario, a specialist will need to fog your home.
Professional cleaning costs between $300 and $700. Regular brushing is encouraged at home, but your vet can get to those hard-to-reach spots and deep clean to prevent oral disease. This also gives your vet a chance to check for problems, just like your own dentist appointment.
Dog teeth cleaning is usually done under a general anesthetic. The procedure is cheaper without it, but professionals advise against this. It's considered painful and uncomfortable for your dog and much less effective at spotting or treating tooth decay.
Blood testing for heartworm disease ranges from $45 to $50 and is critical for your dog’s health. Heartworm is a serious disease, but with early detection, it can be effectively treated.
If your pup needs an X-ray, it will cost $150 to $250. X-rays are used to diagnose a range of issues other than broken bones. They help diagnose abdomen trouble, dental needs and problems in the heart, lungs, liver and other organs.
If your vet orders diagnostic blood work for your dog, it will likely cost between $80 and $200. A blood test can give your vet information on your dog’s hydration levels, blood clotting ability and immune system response. It’s an essential tool for diagnosing diabetes, anemia or infection.
This procedure is pricey, usually $300 to $600, as it requires sophisticated equipment. This imaging technology shows your vet detailed pictures of your dog’s internal systems, aiding in the diagnosis of problems in the heart, liver, kidneys and bladder.
Emergency vet costs shoot up in price with the addition of a hospital stay. The cost will be directly affected by the length of the visit, with a shorter stop (one or two days) averaging $1,150. Longer stays average about $2,500 but can be higher depending on the circumstances and length of stay.
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The extreme size differences between different dogs can lead to different pricing. It won’t, for example, take the same amount of time, or supplies, to operate on a 2-pound chihuahua and a 100-pound Great Dane. This means many procedures may be cheaper for smaller dogs.
There are also many health problems associated with purebred dogs. This means purebred dogs tend to accrue higher vet service bills, but pet insurers may have breed-specific plans to help with this extra cost.
Pet insurance is usually designed to cover larger, unexpected costs such as emergency surgery and hospitalization. It typically doesn’t cover routine care like vaccines, tick control and annual check-ups unless you opt for additional wellness coverage. This means some insured pet owners pay more in the long run but have peace of mind in knowing that they are covered for large vet services bills.
A general practice veterinarian is generally cheaper than a specialist, but a specialist practice can perform advanced checks and tests that a basic practice may not be able to. Rural practices are also often cheaper, as they may pay lower rent than a practice in a large city. In some scenarios, you can also consult with a vet online for a lower cost, but this is only appropriate when you have a question and not when your pet needs immediate care.
Always ask your vet about your payment options. They will most often be happy to talk you through what is happening and what your options are. Many offer payment plans, which can relieve financial burdens by spreading the cost out over time.
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