Reframing Veterinary Costs

Having a trusted vet for your dog is an invaluable asset.
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*ahem* I said, “vet for your dog”, not “dog for your vet”

While the care provided by vets is invaluable, their services certainly have a specific (and often costly) price tag. I think at one point or another we’ve all suffered from sticker-shock when settling our tab at the end of a vet visit.

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“Maybe I could get away with DIY vet-care,” we might muse…

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But the undeniable truth is this – proper, professional veterinary care is essential to ensuring your pet lives a healthy life. (Unfortunately, no amount of veterinary care will make your pets find your jokes funny)

That said, vet bills, especially when you have multiple pets, still sting. But over the years I’ve been able to reframe veterinary costs in my mind to appreciate what I’m paying for, as well as encourage me to keep Eko and Penny as healthy as possible.

Here’s what I mean-

First, I remember the familiar mantra, “pay now or pay later.” It’s easy to blow off the vet when your pup is healthy, but the longer you avoid the vet the higher the risk of your pet developing a serious, and unnoticed issue.

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Eko claims he’s allergic to the vet’s office, but that’s not one of the issues I’m talking about

Same goes for keeping vaccinations and monthly tablets up to date. I’ve seen dogs with parvo, distemper, heartworm and canine influenza. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I may grimace at the bill, but it’s a small price to pay for preventing these terrible illnesses.


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I distract Penny with treats to get her to the vet. That way I don’t have to deal with the constant distraction of worrying she might catch a preventable illness

So, to avoid going to the vet, I make sure I go to the vet. Trust me, it makes sense! Also, I’ve learned the best way to avoid taking care of a sick dog is to take care of a healthy dog. A well fed, exercised and groomed pup is your wallet’s best friend.

When he was younger, Eko used to get semi-regular ear infections. More than a few of which required a trip to the vet for prescription eardrops. I finally realized I should stop checking/cleaning his ears when they agitated him and start cleaning them regularly.

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Once I put Jacques Cousteau here on an ear-cleaning regime his infections (and vet visits) are down to zero

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Same goes for grooming. While trimming nails and brushing teeth I always spot-check the pups for any emerging issues. When I saw Eko developing some plaque I was able to beat it back and probably save myself thousands of dollars in expensive dental cleanings down the line

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Sure, all my poking and prodding can be met with grumbles and impatient looks, but the effort is well worth it

Because the more I take care of my healthy pups, the fewer times I need to visit (and pay!) the vet. And most importantly, the less time we spend at the vet…

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The more time we can spend doing what we love!

There’s no way around many of the veterinary expenses over the lifetime of your pet, but there are plenty of ways to both reduce costs and improve the overall health of your pet at the same time. A great win-win scenario!

I’m interested to hear from others about ways you’ve managed and budgeted veterinary care for your pets. I’d especially like to hear from those who use pet-insurance to subsidize their costs. I looked into a few programs years ago for Eko, but the numbers never seemed to work out in my favor. Let me know!

35 thoughts on “Reframing Veterinary Costs”

  1. We don’t have pet insurance, but we did apply for and get a Care Credit card. It has really come in handy, especially when one of our Labs had a ruptured disk and needed an MRI, and again when he developed a mast cell tumor and needed surgery, Xrays, ultrasounds, bloodwork, and chemotherapy. We used Care Credit to pay the bills, then had 6 months or a year (depending on the clinic) to pay the bill off at no interest. We use it for his older brother’s underwater treadmill rehab now. You can also use it for human hearing aids, eyeglasses, and the like. It’s worth looking into.

    Love your blog. Never a dull moment at your house!

  2. Hiya,

    Just curious. Do you have an actual Facebook page where you also post? Many of your topics I’d love to just click and share on my local community page… I still do however FB direct is a tad quicker a click:)

    Thanks for the consistently great (& fun) posts:)

    Yo! (Yes, that’s my real name:))

    Sent from my iPhone

    • I’m sure I’m not the first to say it, but you’re real name is awesome! I don’t maintain an independent Facebook page. I’m not very active on Twitter either, but I do have an account (@WillandEko) which auto-posts each blog. Not sure if that’s any easier for you to share, but thought I’d give you a heads up. Glad you enjoy the blog!

  3. I too keep a close eye on Sam and attempt to avoid extra trips to the vet for things I can get a handle on myself. Sam has to go to the vet every four months now because of his thyroid condition, but all the other little things – ears/eyes/teeth/nails are things we can keep up with at home. A good vet is worth the money though when you know that he or she cares as much as WE do about our pets. Don’t know anyone who has pet insurance but I’m sure for some it’s a must.



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