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An important part of responsible dog care is providing them with medical care — unfortunately, doing so can also be costly. But before you balk at the high price of a procedure or treatment, take a look at these cost-saving tips.

  1. Get pet insurance
    Understand what the coverage you are buying includes — and what it excludes. You can also get a discount for multiple pets. If insurance doesn’t seem like the right match for your pet’s medical needs because of exclusions or other reasons, create your own “insurance plan” by setting up a savings account dedicated to your pet’s medical costs and automatically depositing money monthly.
  2. Shop around
    If your dog requires a particularly high-cost treatment or procedure, don’t settle with the first quote you get. Different facilities may charge vastly different amounts. For example, you may be quoted anywhere from $450 to $1,350 for an abdominal ultrasound — for the exact same reason and the exact same dog. You can choose the facility for the procedure and then have the results forwarded on to your vet of choice.
  3. Stay on top of preventative care
    By taking your dog in regularly for wellness checks, you can catch an issue early — before it develops into a more dangerous (and more expensive) problem. For most dogs, an annual check-up is enough, but for those with ongoing health issues and seniors, every 6 months is recommended. Although it varies by breed, a dog is generally considered a senior at 7 years old. Also, having your dog spayed or neutered and keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations are both important parts of effective preventative care.
  4. Try a veterinary college
    The students need training, so they often offer basic services at a discount for those in financial need. Services may include check-ups, vaccinations, and basic procedures, such as spaying and neutering.
  5. Contact your local rescue group, ASPCA, or Humane Society
    They may offer discounted services as well, or they may be able to direct you to resources in your area.
  6. Reach out to animal welfare charities

    There are many organizations, particularly breed-specific groups, that may help pay for emergency veterinary treatments. There are also other organizations that assist with general vet bills, as well as fund treatment for specific diseases.

  7. Sign up for a plan with your vet
    Some veterinarians offer payment plans to help you cover high-cost procedures slowly over time. Others may offer preventative plans that include a number of services, such as office visits, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and even dental cleaning, for a set monthly fee, as well as discounts on all other procedures required. Also find out if your vet accepts a medical-care specific credit card, like CareCredit — which can be used for human medical bills as well. In many cases, your vet can process your application on the spot.
  8. Maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pup
    Dogs that are obese or overweight are at a higher risk for many medical issues. You can help prevent these by feeding your dog a healthy diet, avoiding high-fat treats, and providing regular exercise. At the ideal weight, you should be able to see your dog’s waistline from above, but not be able to see her ribs from the side. As a bonus, those regular walks can help you stay fit, potentially reducing your medical costs as well!

Tell us some of the ways you save money on dog care.

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