Our beloved Wiener Mix has been in and out of the vet’s office (2 different ones I might add!) ALL week as well as spending 2 nights in the hospital. I’m grateful to finally have her home and she’s feeling a lot better. Still working on trying to get her to eat though, but it’s coming along!
Given that she has racked up thousands (yes I said thousands) in medical bills in approximately the last 6 weeks or so, I thought it might be a good idea to write a bit on saving money on your veterinary bills, because they can add up fast!
In case you haven’t been to the vet lately you may not realize just how much costs have risen in the last few years. An exam and a few lab tests can quickly get you a $600+ bill. A night in the hospital can easily run $1,000. If your pet is on medication that can get pricey as well.
Here is how I save money at the vet’s office:
Pet health insurance – for the longest time my mom would say insurance is too expensive, why don’t you just put some money aside in savings to use to pay your vet bills? This is when surgery might cost a few hundred dollars. I pay $50 a month to insure my dog (and this is kind of on the high end – the 4 year old cat is only $15 per month) and she has run up thousands in medical bills in the last 2 mos. Setting aside $50 a month on my own won’t cut it. I would argue that veterinary bills now equal human medical bills in many cases. Her insurance doesn’t cover basic, yearly exams, and that’s fine, those usually run less than $100. But if you want to avoid spending your children’s college fund on the pet, get catastrophic-type insurance that will reimburse you thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands!).
I don’t want to recommend a specific company, but I think ConsumersAdvocate has a great comparison chart here. Please note some distinct differences in plans:
Some require a per condition, per year deductible. This can add up when you have an older pet who seems to keep coming down with one sort of illness or another.
Some plans limit participants who have breed-specific or hereditary conditions. For instance, not all plans cover issues relating to dachshunds and their long backs!
No plan covers pre-existing conditions.
Some plans limit the yearly/lifetime benefits and some don’t.
Read the fine print before committing to a plan!
Prescription Medication – My dog is now on 6 different medications! A great app to research the best price on medications is GoodRX.com. I use this a lot to compare prescription prices. Costco is a fantastic place to save money on your pet prescriptions. What I can’t ever figure out is why no one seems to know this! They have signs all over the place letting shoppers know they can fill their pet’s rx there. There are also numerous vet medicine websites that sell medications at discounted prices – google the name of your medication and a number of options will pop up!
Spaying and Neutering – As they say on the Price Is Right “please spay and neuter your pets!” The Mobile Meow (or Lulu) unit will come to your neighborhood (the schedule is on their website) and spay or neuter your cat for FREE, and your dog for $50 if you make less than $40,000 per year.
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