The cost of owning a dog is significant, with vet visits alone costing pet owners an average $505 a year by some estimates. Here are ways to save on vet bills over the lifetime of your pet . . .
- 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.