As veterinary medicine has advanced, most vet hospitals have purchased expensive equipment in order to provide critical care for seriously ill pets.  These days, it’s not uncommon for dogs with cancer or other fatal diseases to receive chemotherapy, highly specialized surgeries, or other costly treatments.

In order to pay for expensive equipment, vet hospitals have raised their prices for even the most basic types of care – such as vaccinations and treatments for minor health issues.

Most of the vets in my area charge an arm and a leg for every service, and shortly after adopting my pug puppy, Herbie, I realized that I would need to get creative in order to find an affordable vet.  Here are 4 ways to find a reasonably priced vet.

Shop Around

Instead of simply going to the most conveniently located vet, ask friends, relatives, or coworkers for recommendations.  Tell them that you are trying to find an affordable vet and ask if they feel comfortable providing details about how much they have spent on previous vet visits.

Before going in for your pet’s vet appointment, call the vet and ask for a price estimate.  This way, you’ll have an idea of what you’re getting into and won’t walk out of the vet office in shock after you receive a $400 bill for basic vaccinations.

Small Towns

If you live in an urban area, odds are that the vets in the city are quite costly.  It may be worth driving a bit further to a rural area.  Vets in small towns often offer lower prices.  My husband is from a small town in Iowa, and we spent about $75 on our last vet visit there.

For comparison, a similar visit to most vets in the Minneapolis area would have been at least $200-$300.  Many of my friends have relatives who own cabins in northern Minnesota, and they bring their dogs with them on trips to the cabin.

They bring the dogs to the vets in those small towns, and the prices are much more reasonable than they are in the city.

Sliding-Scale Services

Some nonprofit groups offer discounted veterinary care to pets belonging to low-income families.  These groups often offer “sliding scale” fees, which means that the price you pay is determined by your income.

One such program is Kindest Cut – a part of the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota.  Kindest Cut offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, wellness services, and dental care to dogs, cats, and rabbits.

Search for Low-Cost Vets Online

A simple Google search can yield useful results.  I searched “cheap vets in the Twin Cities, MN” area and found my puppy’s vet.  The clinic offers basic vet services at a reasonable cost to pet owners of all income levels.

They are able to offer affordable prices because they only offer basic services – they do not offer highly advanced, specialized types of care.

A Final Note!

Veterinary care has become quite expensive.  Your pets are part of the family, and you don’t want your pet’s health to suffer because of the exorbitant costs of care.

Luckily, it is possible to find an affordable vet for your beloved pet.  Shop around, try driving to a small town (if you live in a city), check out non-profit groups if your income is low, and search for low-cost vets online.

How do you save costs on veterinary care?

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Personal Finance Resources:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness by Jason Vitug
It is Only Money and It Grows on Trees by Cara MacMillan