> How much do you spend on your dog's vet bills annually?
Our vet has a program where we pay $19.00 a month. It covers all office visits, two routine exams a year, and routine shots and tests (e.g. rabies shot, test for worms, etc.) But it doesn't cover flea treatments, worm medicine, or other medicine. (Our dog is a cocker spaniel and has frequent ear infections.)
I don't think he needs routine exams twice a year and they have rabies clinics where he can get his shots for $10 I think.
So, do you think $228 a year plus flea treatments, worm meds, and ear medicine/cleaner is worth it?
We spend maybe twice that on our Bernese Mountain dog's vet care, more if she gets sick or hurt. We didn't really shop around different practices, because our agreement with the breeder included setting that up before we brought her home, and we found one of the few in the area who had worked with the breed (he had one himself!). And I'm a sucker for pets -- so my answer is yes, I think it's worth it.
Does it cover illnesses or anything like insurance would? If you have to take him in when he is sick or something, does it cover bloodwork, x rays or anything?
If not, then that seems like a lot of money.
Office visits for us are only $40 and if you are vaccinating, the visit is free and you only pay for the shots.
I think if your dog doesn't get sick, you'll be pretty close to breaking even. The heartworm test itself is almost $100 and you have to have it annually. It seems like a coin toss. If your dog gets sick and you're spared the price of a couple of office visits, it could be worth it.
However, I don't bring my dogs in twice a year for exams. They usually get exams when we fly and they need a health certificate.
One dog I spend almost nothing. The other? I've spent about $3k in the last month.
First year for puppy:
Puppy shots x's 3 sets = $60
Rabies shot x's 1 = $12
Flea/Tick med. x's 4 months = $68
Worm med. = $9.00 (for a year supply given every 4-6 weeks can give to both dogs and cats)
Total = $149
Spay = $120-130 (depends on how much she weighs when the time comes)
Flea/Tick med. x's 4 months = $68
Booster on Rabies, distemper & parvo = $50
Worm med. = $9.00 (again year supply that I can use for the dog and the cats both)
Total = $247-257
Flea/Tick med. x's 4 months = $68
Worm med. $9.00 (see above)
Total = $77
I worm as a matter of course without testing for it because I know she will probably have them due to just being outside where we have feral cats and stray dogs running around.
So for the first 2 years things will cost a lot more because of the puppy shots then the spay after that it wont cost that much at all.
My vet charges $20 for a visit without anything else done and the rabies shot will be every 3 years after the booster at a year out from the first.
For me the cost of it wouldnt be worth it because I just dont/wont be spending that much over a years time.
I don't spend hardly anything, but that's because I don't follow my vet's recommendations at all. Also, the last puppy I had was my 14-year-old dog. The first year is much more expensive.
My dogs get a check-up once a year at best which is $40+the cost of any shots. They are kept up to date on rabies (every 3 years). Sometimes, I get a heartworm test, but not yearly. That's been my only medical expense for them for many years now. They aren't current on other vaccines. I don't give them heartworm medication. I do put Advantage on my flea-prone dog as necessary but I buy that online as it's cheaper.
I spend extra money feeding them raw, which I believe is what's kept my 10 and 14-year-old dogs, who should both be badly arthritic by now due to previous severe bone and joint injuries, freakishly healthy and nearly pain-free. Also, it cured my 14-year-old dog's long-standing ear infections - she had them for 9 years, and it cleared up the first 4 months
So really, I think it depends on what you are planning. I think $228 would be a bad idea, unless you're going to do the twice-yearly exams, yearly shots and tests that are covered, etc. And even if you do you might not break even every year.
I agree that it depends on how much of the plan you would actually use, and also on the vet costs in your area as that varies a LOT by region. Personally we only do the rabies vac every 3 years and not the other shots, we also don't worm routinely (we end up doing a stool test every few years and it's never been positive for worms yet) so it would not be worth it for me.
Re: ear infections - have you tried a different diet and the power blue ear treatment? My friend with a cocker swears by it.
Considering the limitations, and the rarity my dogs need to visit a vet and the fact that I do not vax I wouldn't go for that "deal".
I signed up for that deal only because I needed to get some vaxes to be legal with the county - they're pretty strict here - and for groomer's etc. It's the same deal you're talking about, maybe even at the same vet chain? Anyway I have to do that because I want to spay and they won't spay without all the shots etc. in place. And I had to bring her to the vet per my adoption agreement with the breeder. (Good thing too, there were some issues...) Anyway, I don't really plan on doing it after this year. We don't vax or do well-checks on our kids, so I probably will be doing my own preventative med routine without the vet in the future. But just for this year, I think it will be a good deal.
For an office visit and yearly exam with shots, it's about $80 here. I keep my dogs on heartworm and intestinal parasite preventative year round, and use flea preventative during the spring, summer, and fall. That's where most of my vet-related expense comes from. Because my dogs are on preventatives, they don't need yearly HW testing, fecal tests, etc. If your dog is young and relatively healthy, I don't think that plan would save you money.
Now if your dog were a senior with a chronic illness, and therefore needed biannual exams and frequent vet visits, that plan would be worth it.
How often do you go for his ears? And how expensive are office visits without the plan?
There was one year that my kelpie had an infection, then a spay, then complications from the spay. And my cat took off and came back 2 weeks later with an open oozing wound. And he needed to be neutered. And the same year a chinchilla got giardia and was almost dead before I realized it (they are very fluffy and hide illness like a cat). That year, I spent a ton on vet care.
But nothing since. I don't do routine checkups. I got a 9 year old dachshund 5 years ago and she's never been to my vet. My other dachshund I adopted a year ago, he's never been. If they need to go, I'll take them in a minute, but so far so good.
We also don't have heartworms here, so they don't need heartworm preventative.