4 Smart Ways to Save Money on Your Vet Bills
These tips come right from veterinarians.
In the past year, we have all become very aware of our health due to the pandemic. But while we're doing everything possible to keep ourselves healthy and protect others, we should remember our pets need proper care, too. Going to the vet can leave you with a pricey bill because pet insurance isn't nearly as common as medical insurance is for humans. However, you should never miss check-ups or emergency visits to save money; that will just harm your four-legged friend. Luckily, there are ways to save money on your next visit, and we have the best tips right from veterinarians themselves. Here are ways you can be budget-conscious while still giving your pet the care they deserve.
1. Keep Up with Check-Ups
"Just like regularly changing your car oil can prevent a costly trip to the mechanic, routinely taking your pet to the vet can catch a medical problem before it becomes advanced and costly to treat," says Ruth MacPete, D.V.M., a veterinarian in San Diego. Regular vet visits keep your pet on schedule for vaccinations that prevent deadly diseases such as rabies and distemper. Many vets recommend yearly check-ups; discuss the best schedule for your pet with your vet.
2. Ask About Discounts
Many clinics offer discounted wellness plans, senior and military discounts, or lower prices on a year's supply of flea and/or heartworm medication. Savings are often tied to events such as National Pet Dental Health Month in February and Heartworm Awareness Month in April. More vets are starting to offer telehealth visits for established patients when possible; those sessions may cost less than in-person appointments. And always feel confident about speaking up if the vet recommends a treatment or medication you can't afford; there may be less expensive alternatives.
3. Consider Insurance and Payment Plans
Pet insurance can help reduce the cost of health care, especially in the case of a chronic condition, but also ask if your vet accepts CareCredit, a credit card that lets you pay for veterinary care in monthly installments. Charges are interest-free if you make each payment by a set due date. Some vets may also offer individualized payment plans, especially for longstanding clients. "Most vets will be more than willing to work with you; they never want your pet's health to suffer because of financial issues," says Judy Korman, V.M.D., a veterinarian outside Asheville, North Carolina.
4. Tap into Community Services
Call to see if your local veterinary colleges, animal shelters, or spay and neuter clinics offer discounted services. Keep your eye on local news, too, as veterinarians in your area may band together to offer free or discounted vaccine clinics. If you go this route, get a record of any treatment and/or exam to share with your vet.