Self-insure. Establish an emergency savings account and put into it what you otherwise would pay in pet-insurance premiums. Given an otherwise healthy pet, there’s a good chance you’ll have enough to cover an emergency or two during your dog’s life span.
Ask your employer to include discounted pet insurance in its benefits program. Market leader VPI alone partners with more than 2,200 companies and associations.
Check into an HMO for pets, for which you’ll pay a monthly fee and in return receive discounted services from participating veterinarians. Pet HMO, launched in the Bay Area in January, is the first service of its kind in Northern California.
Be proactive. Avoid the cost of an office visit by getting routine vaccines and heartworm tests from a mobile vet such as VIP Petcare Services, which offers weekend wellness clinics at dozens of pet stores, feed stores and animal shelters in Northern California.
Comparison shop for heartworm meds and parasite treatments. Your vet may or may not offer pricing comparable with big-box discount stores or online suppliers.