How To Save Money on Vet Bills: 9 Tips That Actually Work

pet's life without health problems

Like most pet owners, you want to do whatever you can to ensure your furry friend receives the best possible care. This can often be expensive, especially when it comes to veterinary bills.

However, there are many ways you can save money on vet bills without compromising your pet's health. This blog post will discuss how to save money on vet bills and tips that will help you keep your costs down!

How To Save Money on Vet Care

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), more than 70% of American households own a pet. Pets can bring joy and companionship to our lives, but they also bring financial responsibilities. Veterinary care is one of the biggest expenses associated with pet ownership, and it's essential to be prepared for unexpected vet bills. Here are a few ways to save money on vet care.

1. Veterinary School 

Vet schools are typically cheaper than animal hospitals and vet clinics. The students need training, so they offer basic services such as vaccinations, check-ups, and basic procedures at discounted rates. 

And don't worry, while unlicensed veterinary students perform the procedures, they are not left unsupervised. Professional instructors always oversee their services.

You just have to find a veterinary school that operates in your local area. So, if you were wondering where to find a cheap veterinarian near me, a vet school is an excellent place to start. 

2. Find Out What Treatment Options Are Available 

Depending on the severity of your pet's injury or illness, there are a couple of treatment options available. You must discuss with your vet the prognosis and treatment options. 

If your pet requires a particularly high-cost procedure, don't settle with the first quote you get. Charges vary vastly with facilities.

3. Organizations That Offer Financial Assistance 

There are several animal welfare associations and rescue groups in the United States that can help you out with general vet bills if you're in search of a cheap vet. Some breed-specific groups fund treatment for specific diseases. 

Help is offered through grants, loans, and low-cost care for spaying and neutering, vaccination, and other routine care. 

If you sincerely cannot afford your pet's medical expenses, look for an organization in your local area to help you. They will offer assistance after examining your pet's health status and your financial position. 

So, if your vet can't help when it comes to low-cost vet care, try the following organizations for medical services:

American Veterinary Medical Foundation

Through their Veterinary Care Charitable Fund (VCCF) program, the AVMF funds veterinarians to offer charitable veterinary services to people facing personal hardships, low-income seniors, and disabled veterans needing service dogs. 

The funds are also meant to support injured pets and those rescued from neglect and abuse. If you qualify, you can visit an enrolled vet clinic to enjoy low or no-cost services. 

First Coast No More Homeless Pets

FCNMHP provides people on a budget with an extensive and easy-to-access database of affordable vet care offices. Over the years, the organization has helped thousands of pet owners in America who are struggling financially to locate affordable vet care in their local area. 

The organization offers free, low-cost, and discounted vet services for neutering, spaying, microchipping, diagnostic testing, dental cleanings, flea and heartworm prevention and treatment, parasite controls, and other essential pet healthcare services at a fraction of the cost. 

Since 2009, the facility has provided medical aid to over 67,000 pets at 40 percent less than the cost of most local veterinary clinics. Regardless of your budget, your pet will still benefit from state-of-the-art medical care. To find out if they operate in your local area, visit their website. 

Spayusa

The mission of this organization is to end pet overpopulation. With a focus on helping low-income pet owners with inexpensive neutering services, this nationwide referral service will link you with cheap vet clinics, 1,500 sterilization programs, and doctors near your area. 

For two decades, SpayUSA has helped thousands of people obtain affordable and quality spay and neuter services for their dogs and cats. To be automatically connected to low-cost clinics and doctors, visit their website, enter your zip code, and select your budget. 

Shakespeare Animal Fund

You can try the Shakespeare Animal Fund if you can't afford to pay for your pet's vet care. The organization offers pet owners who earn less than $35k per year and those with a fixed income one-time grants. To learn more about the organization and eligibility requirements, check out their website. 

There's one catch, though. You must agree to allow the organization to post a picture of your cat or dog along with their biography as one of their success stories on their website.

Local Humane Society

If you have trouble affording your pet, the Humane Society provides a comprehensive list of national and state resources for pet parents in need. 

It would help if you kept in mind that every organization is independent and is run by its own set of rules and guidelines. It's your responsibility to scrutinize each organization independently and check whether or not you qualify for assistance. 

Paws

This organization has helped thousands of financially strapped people pay for vet care. Located in Lynnwood, Washington, the organization operates locally and regionally.

Besides low-income spay and neuter resources, PAWS offers various veterinary services like microchipping and vaccinations at ZERO costs. Through their re-homing service, PAWS accepts owned pets.

You must submit a dog or cat surrender form before PAWS can take custody of your pet. The staff will review the application and determine whether or not your pet is a good fit for the re-homing program.

Brown Dog Foundation

Founded back in 2006, the mission of this organization is to bridge the gap between the cost of medical care and saving the family pet. 

The Brown Dog Foundation receives over 4,000 requests for assistance every year. Due to the high volume of applications, pets with life-threatening conditions have a better chance of receiving resources. Besides cash, the organization also offers referrals to lower-cost alternatives and guidance. 

Actors and Others for Animals

If you live in southern California, here is a non-profit organization committed to promoting the humane treatment of animals. Actors and Others for Animals help pet parents living on a low or fixed income to take care of their cats or dogs. 

Like SpayUSA, Actors and Others for Animals' mission is to stop pet overpopulation. The community-based animal welfare organization does this by subsidizing spay and neuter surgeries.

Other services include pet-assisted therapy and emergency medical assistance. It serves the greater Los Angeles and surrounding counties. 

Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a registered non-profit organization committed to providing people struggling financially with veterinary care. The Pet Fund works ONLY on non-basic, non-urgent care. Typically, there are four categories of care: primary care, urgent care, emergency care, and non-basic, non-urgent care.

The last group includes medical needs such as heart disease, cancer treatment, endocrine diseases, chronic conditions, etc.

You can apply online by emailing them and joining a waiting list. If you're successful, you will receive a one-time grant. 

Carecredit

CareCredit helps Americans get the care they want for themselves and their families. With a network of over 200k health-focused providers and retail locations, you can use your credit card to get care for a beloved family pet.

Unlike traditional pet financing, the CareCredit credit card allows you to use your card for your pet's procedures repeatedly. Ask your vet if they accept medical-care-specific credit cards like CareCredit.

To keep your four-legged companion in top shape, you can use your card for routine veterinary rehab, dermatology, annual check-ups, teeth cleaning, care of chronic pet diseases and conditions, pet food and nutrition, microchipping, and vaccinations. 

Veterinary surgery and emergencies like surgical procedures, emergency services, hip dysplasia surgery, and spay and neutering are also covered. 

Applying is simple. Explain how you plan to use your credit card, complete your online application here, and get a credit decision instantly! 

The Mosby Foundation

This nationally recognized organization offers financial assistance and public education to deserving pet owners. It helps care for injured, sick, neglected and abused dogs. 

The program has limited funding and receives thousands of applications every year. They can, therefore, help one family, rescue, or individual once only. Your dog must be spayed/neutered so you can receive financial assistance. 

The organization doesn't have funds for general veterinary care (blood work, vaccinations, or dental cleanings), testing, diagnostics, x-rays, or CT scans.

Clinics

Before scouring the internet for online options, how about you check your local area for any pet clinics? If you live in a crowded neighborhood, there are probably some emergency pet services within your area that offer free veterinary care and other basic services. 

Most of the clinics have a website, but some may not have prices listed. When you work out your preferred vet services, visit the clinic, inquire about their rates, and select an affordable option. 

4. Shop Around

Vet prices can vary considerably from one vet to another. Clinics in high-rent areas tend to charge more. In pet ownership, comparison shopping can save you a lot of money. Call as many clinics as possible and ask about their fees for essential pet care services (or services you use regularly).

Making a comparison will help you do away with vets who are just exploiting your budget. A second opinion is always advised.

Charges often depend on the clinic's location and equipment costs. For instance, for the same dog and reason, you may be quoted anywhere from $400 to over $1,000 for an abdominal ultrasound. Or $70 to $400 for a dental cleaning. 

If you're looking for a new vet, try one in a less expensive area, as they tend to charge lower fees. You will be required to pay a consultation fee, but if you get this, another vet may propose an alternative and less expensive treatment option, which is good news for your wallet. So, check around.

5. Affordable Pet Prescriptions

Pet medication is usually pricey, and you're unlikely to come across many stores that offer discount cards to reduce the prices. But if you thoroughly research online and compare prices, you can find reliable, low-cost stores. 

If you buy prescription medication from your vet, you may be overpaying. The trick is to ask your vet for a hard copy of any prescription your cat or dog needs so you can search for the best deal.

After comparing prices online, you can ask your vet if they will match the best price you find. If they refuse, you can try the following stores that offer affordable pet prescriptions:

Petcarerx

PetCareRx is an online store committed to creating the leading tailored pet experience by providing expert advice, connections, and excellent products to local pet service providers. 

The store provides foods and vitamins, treats and toys, tick, heartworm, flea protection, and wide-ranging prescription and non-prescription medication. 

To order your prescription online, find the right product that matches your pet's prescription, add the item to the cart, answer questions about your pet and vet during checkout, and you're good to go!

Walmart

You can shop for your pet's medication from your favorite brands like Adams, Drontal, Trifexis, and Advantage from Walmart PetRx. You will enjoy benefits such as a fully licensed pharmacy, over 3,000 products in stock, and free 2-day shipping of over $35.

To order your prescription, find your cat's or dog's vet-prescribed medication, proceed to checkout and enter the required info, mail in your prescription, or let Walmart contact your vet for you, place your order, and wait!

Walmart accepts PayPal and all major credit cards, including Discover, American Express, MasterCard, and VISA.

Petco

For unbeatable prices on pet medication, check out Petco. With over five decades of service to pet owners, Petco is a reputable pet specialty retailer devoted to delivering a happy and healthy experience for pets and their guardians.

There are over 1,500 locations across the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Petco offers advice, products, and services to keep your pet mentally alert, physically fit, emotionally happy, and socially engaged. 

1-800-Petmeds

“America's Most Trusted Pet Pharmacy” has all major brand medications sold at your vet's office. As a licensed pharmacy, 1-800-PetMeds only dispenses EPA/FDA-approved drugs.

Their brand products are made with natural, third-party-tested ingredients. To choose the best products for your pet, check the store's ratings and comparison charts.

Download the 1-800-PetMeds App on the Apple Store or Google Play Store to find an affordable vet.

PRO TIP: While it can save you money, you should be careful not to get scammed when buying pet medications online. Some unscrupulous sites swindle unsuspecting pet owners. Only deal with the reputable sites mentioned above.

If you are suspicious about the quality of medications, the FDA has some guidelines to determine if you're dealing with a reputable pharmacy. You can check out the FDA's consumer updates on veterinary medicines. 

Chewy.com

At Chewy.com, they know your pet is family. That's why they offer convenient and cost-effective ways to keep your pet healthy and happy. Whether you're looking for heartworm preventative or flea and tick medication, they have a wide selection of prescriptions at competitive prices.

They also offer free shipping on orders over $49, so getting the medications your pet needs delivered right to your door is easy. Plus, the Pet Pharmacy team is available to answer any questions you may have about your pet's prescriptions.

6. Talk to Your Vet

Vets understand how much our pets mean to us. After visiting your veterinarian and hearing treatment options, negotiate a payment plan.

Discuss your financial situation if your pet needs expensive medical treatment and you can't afford to cover the cost of care. If you're a regular client in good standing, your vet can devise a weekly or monthly payment plan.

Your vet can also offer preventative plans like diagnostic tests, vaccines, office visits, and dental cleaning for a set monthly fee. If you visit a new vet for the first time, they may not agree to such a policy or discount.

7. Discount Days and Specials

Looking for specials is another way to get affordable vet care. Pet clinics offer discounts and specials at certain times of the year, just like human-centered businesses.

Ask your vet if they have deals on preventative care or routine pet care. You can save a great deal by grabbing low-cost coupons and discounts at the right time. 

8. Preventive Care

Prevention is always better (and cheaper) than a cure. Being proactive about your pet's health is the surest way to keep vet care bills low. 

Take precautions and steps to minimize your pet's chance of needing expensive medical care. Keep up with the vaccination schedule and ensure your pet gets annual wellness exams. 

Also, consider pet-proofing your home by avoiding bringing toxic plants into the house and keeping dangerous foods out of your pet's reach. 

Healthy Diet

Obese pets are at a higher risk for many medical issues like arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. To keep your pets safe and healthy, feed them a healthy diet your vet recommends.

Try to cut down on high-fat treats. You may be tempted to share your snack while watching a movie with your dog. While the intention is good, human food can cause toxic poisoning, obesity, and other problems. Stick with the recommended pet food. 

Regular Exercise

Just like you, your pet needs to stay active. That evening walk with your dog can help them stay fit, potentially reducing your medical costs. An active life will enhance your dog's cardiovascular system and ensure their bloodstreams remain cleaner. 

Dental Care

Besides yearly check-ups, your pet also needs periodic dental treatments. Start brushing your pet's teeth when they're still young so they get used to it.

Brushing is not your pet's favorite activity, so combine it with treats or cuddle time. There are special toothbrushes and toothpaste designed specifically for pets. They will make teeth brushing more pleasant. 

Love and Attention

Pets are those special, loyal friends that love us unconditionally. For all the love and loyalty they give, all they ask for in return is a little TLC. Whether it's just cuddling or playing with toys, make time and interact with your furry companion

9. Invest in Pet Insurance

It's no secret that pet ownership can be expensive. In addition to the initial cost of adoption or purchase, there are ongoing expenses such as food, toys, and routine vet care. However, one of the most significant potential costs of pet ownership is unexpected medical bills. Animal hospitalization, surgery, and emergency vet visits can quickly add up, leaving pet owners with a hefty bill.

That's where pet insurance comes in. By investing in pet insurance, you can help to offset the cost of unexpected expenses. Most pet insurance policies will cover a portion of the cost of vet care, making it easier to afford the care your pet needs. In addition, many policies offer coverage for routine care and preventive services. As a result, pet insurance can be a valuable investment for any pet owner.

Summary

Providing your furry friends with medical care is a vital part of being a responsible pet parent. While vet care can be costly, this article offers beneficial cost-saving tips. Have you used any special techniques to save money at the vet? If you have, please share in the comments below.