Looking to Save Money on Pet Care? Here are 16 Tips You Need to Know

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How often do you ask yourself, “Are there cheap vets near me?”

The majority of Americans consider their pets as part of the family. When your pet animals get sick or need routine checkups, there’s a good chance you are going to find the best care possible.

You already know how quickly your vet bills can add up. Because Fido and Mittens are members of your family, you’re going to give them the care they need. But your pet’s well-being doesn’t mean every trip to the vet needs to cost a fortune.

As you will see, cheap doesn’t always mean sacrificing quality when you visit the vet.

Where to Find Cheap Vets Near You

You might be surprised at how many options you have to find affordable animal care in your neighborhood. Whether it’s for routine visits or pet medication, you can definitely save money.

Attend Mobile Clinics

A few times a year, a mobile van probably passes through your town and offers free or discounted animal care. Taking advantage of these temporary clinics can save you cash while your pet gets the routine treatment it needs.

You might see flyers for these events at your local pet supply store, online, or on the radio.

Visit an Animal Shelter or a Non-Profit Organization

Although animal shelters and non-profits primarily cater to pet adoptions, they can offer routine vaccinations and treatments at a reduced price. If you want to adopt a pet, consider getting the recommended medical treatments through them before you bring your new family member home.

Going through one of these organizations to spay or neuter your pet can be very affordable too.

You will need to call your local facilities to verify they offer these services to non-homeless pets on a regular basis or only at certain times of the year. To find your local shelter or non-profit, visit one of these websites:

Visit a Veterinary School

Every experienced animal vet has to start somewhere before they can be a Mayo Clinic caliber veterinarian. For most, that first step is attending vet school where they learn the ins and outs of being a fully qualified animal vet.

If you want to help train the next generation of animal vets, visiting your local veterinary school lets your animal receive the same treatments at a lower cost.

The best way to find a local veterinary school is to simply google, “Veterinary schools near me.” You may also see if an accredited veterinary school is located nearby too.

Because student veterinarians will be performing most of the procedures, you may feel uneasy with your pet’s safety with an inexperienced veterinarian. Although the school staff oversees the veterinary students, it’s okay if you choose not to pursue this option.

Although veterinary schools are happy to treat almost any type of pet, they may turn away aggressive pets.

Google “Cheap Vets Near Me” to Compare Prices

If you prefer sticking with an experienced vet, you should compare prices between your local animal vets. Researching “cheap vets near me” will quickly list the websites and phone numbers of all the animal vets in your area.

You can even read Yelp reviews of local animal vets to discern the affordable from the rip-offs. Did you know there are online reviews for animal vets?

If you’re a member of the military, don’t forget your local base might have an animal vet. They can be more affordable than your local in-town vets too and can be worth the drive if you live off-base.

Ask Others Who Their Animal Vet Is

Word-of-mouth recommendation is another good way to seek sound advice. Asking your friends and co-workers who they use for pet care is an easy question to ask. Most everyone like talking about their children and pets so this probably won’t be considered an awkward question.

If you board your animal when you travel out of town, you might also consider asking them if they know of any cheap and trustworthy vets in the area. Because they communicate with pet owners on a daily basis, they might have more insight than most to hear which animal vets are the most well-liked and the most affordable.

Consider Alternative Treatments

You might also consider alternative treatments for your pet to save money too. This suggestion is sometimes called “natural healing” or “holistic pet care” as well.

There are different degrees to what alternative pet treatments consist of. Contrary to popular belief, alternative treatments can consist of basic home remedies you can perform yourself, with a veterinarian’s recommendation of course.

Instead of hospitalization and letting a vet care for your animal around the clock, you can take the pet home to perform basic treatments yourself and take the animal back to the vet at regular intervals. This alternative treatment can save you at least $1,000 because you don’t have to pay a hospital bill.

For chronic issues, you might consider chiropractic massages or acupressure for your animals. These alternatives treatments cost money, but they can still be cheaper than standard veterinary procedures.

If the current treatment regimen only seems to have marginal benefits, alternative treatments can be worth a try. Once again, only consider these treatments if you’re comfortable with them.

Your current vet might offer these services which can potentially be more affordable than their standard option. If they don’t offer alternative treatments, you can find another animal specialist in your area.

Practice Preventative Care

Maybe you can be your own vet for your animals most basic needs. Just like your personal doctor tells you to exercise regularly and eat healthy food so you can avoid the doctor, you can practice preventive care with your pets too.

As consumer expectations shift, it’s easier now to find a healthy pet food instead of getting “mystery meat” that’s unfit for human consumption. Using cheap pet food can cause health issues for your pet, just like junk food has a negative long-term effect on your health.

In addition to healthy behaviors, you should also be proactive in administering regular heartworm treatments, brushing your dog’s teeth, and other preventative activities beyond diet and exercise.

By following preventative practices, you can reduce your vet visits. This is especially true if you can educate yourself on basic care that you currently have the vet perform.

Some of the preventative procedures you should consider include:

  • Annual routine checkups
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Routine shots and vaccinations
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm medication

Additional Ways to Save Money at the Vet

Once you explore your community for a cheaper vet, don’t forget to use these other tips to save money on each vet trip too.

Tell Your Expectations to the Vet Upfront

If you have a good idea of what your pet is experiencing, tell the doctor what you’re target budget is and what treatments you are willing to allow. This communication and asking questions can help you and your vet get a better idea on how to properly treat your pet.

Your vet is the animal expert so there’s no guarantee his recommendation will remain within your budget, but it’s more likely. Having this conversation sooner than later can also prevent you from getting surprised by a large bill for treatments and medication you don’t recall discussing.

Vets and doctors sometimes exercise extreme caution and might recommend testing and treatments that aren’t necessary. While they might be nice for your peace of mind, every test comes with a price. Those small fees can quickly morph into a large bill.

Compare Treatments

When you’re visiting your vet for more than a routine checkup, there might be more than one option. With the example of having pet surgery, your pet might not have to stay in the animal hospital overnight. Although hospitalization is an option, it can be the most expensive option and exceeds your spending limit.

Your vet might give you some supplies so you can bring your pet home on the same day. It’s more work on your part, but this effort can save you thousands of dollars.

In many ways, think of your pet’s health like your own health. Your insurance company might pay for urgent care visits but won’t pay for emergency room visits for non-emergency situations. Because you probably pay all of your vet bills with cash, you don’t have a pet insurance plan to cover a portion of the costs.

Get a Second Opinion

If your pet has a non-emergency situation, you can always ask another vet for a second opinion. You can also take this opportunity to compare costs and treatment options too. Some vets are more cautious than others–just like family doctors–and might be recommending a more extensive procedure than necessary.

Ask your vet for a written estimate. This estimate makes it easy to compare quotes from multiple veterinarians and it guarantees your price in writing.

Schedule Appointments With Seasonal Specials

Your vet might send you a newsletter or email with seasonal specials. Vet clinics offer these specials to remind pet owners to schedule routine care for the furry friends. These specials can save you money and help your animals maintain a clean bill of health too.

Some of the specials can include discounts on routine shots and other preventative procedures that can be beneficial for the time of year.

If you schedule your appointments in regular intervals and don’t procrastinate, ask your vet to apply the discount or to be added to the mailing list if these specials aren’t automatically applied.

Apply for Veterinary Financial Assistance

There are a few organizations that offer veterinary financial assistance if you’re struggling to pay your bills. These organizations normally require you to be currently experiencing financial hardship or rescuing shelter animals.

Several non-profit organizations can provide aid if you meet their pet grant requirements:

Your local community or state might have aid programs too for emergency pet care. You can ask your vet if they know of any organizations, or you can research veterinary financial assistance online too.

It’s always a good idea to apply for these grants first as you don’t have to pay the money back. But, you might decide to make a donation once you get back on your feet to “pay it forward” for other animal owners in need.

Ask Your Vet for Extended Payments

Just like you can ask your doctor for a flexible payment plan if you have a large medical bill, your vet might offer in-house financial assistance. You will need to repay the entire bill amount with fixed payments, but it can be better than going into debt or having to forsake your pet’s health for a critical treatment.

In-house financing is almost always a better option for a few reasons:

  • You might not have to pay interest
  • The amount is too small for a personal loan
  • Your repayment terms are more flexible

Having healthy pets is very important, but it can be a tough decision to determine how much money you can spend without endangering your financial health. Talking with your vet who cares about animals can go a lot further than asking your bank who might be all too happy to lend you money with high interest rates or stiff repayment terms.

Order Pet Medicine Online

Why do you shop online? One major reason is that it’s cheaper than brick and mortar stores or your veterinarian. Both of these places usually charge more because they have a building to maintain and employees to pay.

In many cases, you can buy the exact same medication for less online at these websites:

You can save 30% or more by buying your pet medicine online, and you don’t have to sacrifice quality purchasing generic brands!

For prescription medication, ask your vet for a written prescription. You will need this information to order prescription-only medication online.

Don’t forget that making your purchase through Ebates can also help you earn extra cash back on your pet medication purchases.

Carry Pet Insurance

You might be able to save some money with pet insurance too. In recent years, pet insurance has skyrocketed in popularity. There are many pet insurance companies to choose from.

Pet insurance plans offer different coverage types, coverage amounts, and deductibles. The most basic plans only cover emergency situations, while other plans may cover routine checkups and even breed predispositions for ailments that specific breeds are prone to endure.

Set a Spending Limit on Vet Visits

Most pet owners don’t want to think about the inevitable, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to continue paying vet bills when your pet’s health isn’t improving. Only you can make this decision, but it’s worth spending a few minutes on your vet visit spending limits before you agree to expensive treatments.

Maybe your vet will tell you when they can provide no further treatment, but other vets might be happy to play your emotions during these difficult times.

If you have personal health issues or your children have health issues, you still need to have money each month to pay these bills too. Medical bills are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy and your pet’s veterinary bills can fall into this category too.

FAQ

Are Cheap Vets Near Me Safe?

It’s possible to find a more affordable vet nearby without having to sacrifice quality of service. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with a low-cost veterinarian, do not use them. Some animal vets charge less because they are inexperienced, especially for complex procedures and emergency visits.

Before trusting a new vet with a complex procedure, it’s a good idea to talk with them first to build a relationship. If you feel uneasy with their responses to your questions, maybe that’s a sign to keep looking for a different vet.

You should also choose a vet that’s licensed. This extra qualification also establishes a level of credibility.

Do Veterinary Schools Offer Better Treatment Than Veterinary Clinics?

This question largely depends on the clinic you visit. While a career animal vet might have more experience with routine checkups and surgeries than a veterinary school student, they don’t always have the newest equipment.

Medical equipment is expensive to replace and many vets cannot afford continually upgrading to the latest and greatest technology. In some cases, you’re trading experience for potentially less efficient equipment and procedures.

By visiting a veterinary school, your pet can be treated with cutting-edge equipment for quick and painless operations. Some schools might also offer experimental treatments that you may or may not agree to use.

Although veterinary schools may have relatively inexperienced students taking the lead, their highly experienced instructors are also participating to ensure your pet is safe at all times.

What Is The Easiest Way to Save Money at the Vet?

Asking your vet how much a routine checkup costs before you schedule an appointment is the easiest way. If you think the price is too high, you can easily call another animal clinic to compare prices.

Comparing prices is one way to save money, but it can also be just as easy to save money at the vet include:

  • Only getting checkups and shots that you need right now
  • Asking to perform as much care as possible yourself
  • Comparing different treatment options from the same vet

You might prefer these three suggestions if you have a vet you trust. Building trust with a new vet (they’re largely responsible for your pet’s well-being after all) takes time and can be a gamble. Paying a few extra dollars to use a well-trusted vet can be worth the peace of mind. That doesn’t mean you can’t save money on your future vet visits, however.

Summary

If you approach saving money on your pet medical bills like your own medical bills, you can easily save money. In some ways, it can be easier to save money at the vet’s office because you pay with cash and can avoid the red tape that comes with insurance companies. By taking a few minutes to compare all your options beforehand, you can save money on every trip to the vet.

 


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