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. I do have pet insurance and it is great, mine is through Trupanion and their customer service is superb (but they do not cover pre-existing conditions). Cody was sick the year before last and I was reimbursed at approx 90%. I also have Care Credit…it can be used for Veterinary Care, human glasses, etc………..would be lost without it!

  2. Much like two legged kids, you have to keep their best health interests at heart. A vet once told me they can do anything for a dog just like for human’s, the only limitation being how much you can afford which is why insurance policies are perfect for taking care of the four-legged versions of kids. 😉

  3. I like the vet best when I am not sick. So besides saving money, it also saves doggie stress to go in for the regular checkups.

    Love and licks,

  4. Hiya!
    I just recently found Banfield Vet Health and wellness plans. They are part of PetSmart/PetCo. All the routine stuff (and more) is included. Emergency stuff is highly discounted. Meds are discounted too!

    This is NOT insurance…. That is crap 90% of the time. They so rarely pay-out and disqualify you for every “pre-existing” condition even when they are acute conditions and not chronic.

    I’m sporting two huskies (8 &10) and two adult cats.
    I love the DIY approach to pet Heath care, but eventually with your good care your dog gets older and big medical issues just happen.

    Just this past month a teeth cleaning and mass-removal was quoted at $3800 and Banfield Wellness plan (dog) saved me all but $80 for meds.

    Over all for the four animals I pay about $110 a month but I ALWAYS have access to vets ever during any emergencies.

    My eldest lab past away a couple years ago. Before that he was healthy as a horse and got bloat. $8500 in vet bills for the surgery at our regular local vet that I liked.

    Even with the healthiest of dogs the vet bills sneak up on you and get huge fast!
    Check them out here:

  5. I discovered pet insurance too late. Like most human health insurance, there’s a pre-existing conditions clause that won’t cover illnesses the dog already has. The monthly premiums for other coverage are too high. So no insurance coverage for Rusty. Like you, I budget for his expenses.

    I LOVE Eko’s and Penny’s pictures! They make me laugh every day. Their faces, your photography, perfect!


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