If you’re like me, pets are an invaluable part of your family. A family friend recently needed to find care for their dog who swallowed a sewing needle. Several hours and several hundred dollars later, they realized their furry friend didn’t swallow the needle. They found it buried deep in the carpet near his bed.
Thankfully it was an oversight, but one many of us would make. If you have a pet, you may have done an internet search for ‘cheap vet care near me’ knowing that veterinarian visits can add up.
It’s always essential to save money, but that’s difficult to balance when looking for affordable vet care alternatives for your four-legged friend.
According to Pet Care RX, going to the vet can range from $45-$55 for a regular visit; appointments for dental cleanings and other services span from $70-400. That can add up quickly!
Thankfully, with a little digging, there are ways to find cheap vet clinics nearby to provide quality care.
Table of Contents
Best Ways to Find Cheap Vet Care
Saving money on healthcare is essential for many people. That’s even more so the case when caring for our pets. They don’t understand what’s going on, but you want to balance that with safe care.
When you do an online search for ‘cheap vets near me’ you will see numerous possibilities. You want to use your due diligence as some options may carry risk. That’s not worth the savings.
Here are a few of the best ways to find low-cost vet care without skimping on safety.
1. Go To a Vet School
Choosing a veterinary school over an animal hospital can save you decent money. Veterinary students have a passion for pets and are dedicating their careers to care for animals.
All instructors are current or former veterinary professionals. These students are at vet schools to prove themselves and get ready to start their own practice.
You can do an internet search for ‘veterinary schools near me’ to find possible choices. If you do not find any you like, you can find potential solutions through the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) site.
The site lets you search for accredited vet schools you can go to in your area for inexpensive veterinary care.
2. Try a Wellness Plan
Wellness plans are a terrific way to receive reimbursements on various preventive and routine pet care procedures.
It’s typically an add-on option to a pet insurance plan. Lemonade is one of the many pet insurance options on the market.
The company is currently in 36 states and you can choose any licensed vet you wish to provide care for your pet.
Depending on which package you select, Lemonade’s preventative care plans have a variety of reimbursable expenses. Potential costs you can reimburse include:
- Wellness exams
- Vaccines and boosters
- Preventative teeth cleaning
- Spay or neuter surgeries
- Flea, tick, heartworm medications
Lemonade also offers a five percent discount if you pay your pet insurance premium annually, and if you have more than one pet they offer a five percent multi-pet discount.
Wellness plans typically are between $20-$50 on top of insurance rates.
3. Shop Around
Like most expenses, comparison shopping is a terrific idea when searching for a low-cost vet clinic. Don’t settle on the first listing that shows up in your internet search.
Call around and ask for prices on basic animal check-ups to save on services. This is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when trying to save on any service.
When you’re calling around, you may find a place that’s running a special. Do this before visiting so as not to waste your time.
Asking friends or family is a good place to start if you can’t find an affordable option. They may go to a cheaper vet clinic that you don’t know about.
If all else fails, ask friends on Facebook who they see for veterinary needs.
4. Ask Your Vet for Assistance
Asking your vet for assistance is another fantastic option to secure savings. Many doctors have access to free prescription samples, and vets can have this access as well.
Instead of paying full price for a product, trying a smaller quantity can be a better option. That way, pet parents can save money and avoid using a product their pet might not finish taking.
We’ve all had that prescription bottle we haven’t fully finished.
Also, before visiting a veterinarian, ask if they have any new patient specials. Another discount pet parents might not know about is multi-pet specials.
Not every veterinarian offers these discounts, but it won’t hurt to ask. The more pets you have, the bigger the discount you might receive.
Keep an open dialogue with your vet. You can let them know your financial situation, and they might be able to tell you about any financial assistance available to pet owners.
5. Look for Cheaper Prescriptions
Most vets are honest and will tell you if you can find prescriptions cheaper elsewhere if they can’t offer samples. Your vet may also know about affordable pet insurance companies that can save you money on pet care needs.
One alternative to pet insurance is the GoodRx prescription discount card. GoodRx has a website and app that you can use to look up the name of the prescription drug, its strength, and the quantity of medicine needed.
It’s free to use, so there’s no risk on your end.
Another thing you can do is gather a list of pharmacies and compare pricing for the medication you need or see if you can find a generic version.
The majority of the discounts are for prescriptions that are usable by both pets and humans. If the medicine is only for pets, GoodRx will still show you where you can find the greatest discount.
6. Look for New Patient Specials
Some affordable animal hospitals offer new patient specials to help attract new customers. You can take advantage of these offers if you’re looking for a cheap vet clinic.
Veterinary offices also mail out flyers to promote the offer, so don’t be too quick to toss out your mail.
I’ve received a few coupons in the mail making me aware of reduced rates from vets in my area. They make it easy to follow up with any questions since the phone number and website are right on the flyer.
Both sites have a section dedicated to pet services. Depending on your area, both searches may produce similar results.
You’ll often see results like 50 percent off an initial visit or a discount on medication for your pets. The easiest way to see results is by putting pet health in the search box.
If you don’t have any luck with those two platforms, there are other sites like Groupon where you may find cheap vet care offers.
If you’re struggling to find low-cost vet care or you’re having issues paying bills, consider animal welfare charities.
Numerous organizations are willing to step in and help pet parents with their veterinary care. Most will offer assistance for both cats and dogs.
These charities don’t discriminate against age, breed, or the diagnoses.
Paws 4 A Cure is one of those non-profit organizations that dedicate their time to help families in need. They will not help with routine care, but all other injuries and illnesses are eligible.
Families throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam are eligible for help. Your pet must already be in the care of a veterinarian, and the vet must have already placed you on a payment plan to qualify for assistance through Paws 4 A Cure.
According to another pet charity, Magic Bullet Fund, over 20,000 cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year.
This organization helps get treatment for pets, and have assisted over 700 families to get the money they need since 2005.
Getting this diagnosis can be nerve-wracking. So, knowing organizations like the Magic Bullet Fund are out there can help relieve those feelings.
Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy
Above all, it’s essential to keep your pet healthy and prevent major vet visits when possible. Do your best to help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
Doing this could minimize the chances of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Most pet food bags list how much your pet should eat per meal. Reference this nutrition info if you forget to ask your vet how much your animal should eat.
Regular annual check-ups can help make sure your pet is healthy and doing alright. You can’t put these off because it can end up costing you more in the end.
Pet parents should also ensure their pets get regular exercise. Walks around the neighborhood, playing fetch, hiking are effective ways to make sure this happens.
Another way is by regularly grooming your pet. Grooming is a perfect opportunity to not only get them clean but also check for bumps and lumps that you can bring up to your vet.
Taking your pet to the vet doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty of options to help mitigate costs. Pets are like family, and we want the best care possible for them.
These are ways to get cheap pet care without having to take a pet to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
How do you budget for animal care needs?
Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping others manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, and Barclaycard.