Does DIY Reduce Dog Vet Costs? Yes!

Are your vet bills making your jaw drop? I know it can be a pricey adventure to take your dog to the vet. But there are simple ways to reduce dog vet costs with DIY home dog care. 

While you always err on the side of caution with your dog and pets, there are times you can reasonably do things yourself. 

However, if you are ever in doubt about any care for your dog, always check with your vet. 

a dog mom hugs her cute pup after learning how to reduce her dog vet costs at home
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Yes, dog ownership can be pricey. But when you do your own basic dog care, rather than asking your vet to do it, you can save a lot on your bill. Therefore, sometimes it’s very easy, such as removing a fur mat. The bottom line is any sort of DIY dog care you provide (within reason) will reduce your overall vet bill. That’s a major win-win for you, your dog, and your pet care costs.

What is DIY dog care?

It’s simply care you provide your dog yourself. However, you could ask your veterinary clinic to do these types of dog care. But when you do them yourself, you can dramatically decrease your vet bill.

Is there really DIY dog care can I provide my pup?

Of course, what you decide to tackle yourself will depend on you and your dog. However, some tasks you may want to consider are:

1. Trimming your dog’s nails

Your dog’s healthy paws are important. However, in most cases, you can save your vet clinic bill by doing it yourself.

I trim Henry’s nails at home with this easy-to-use nail grinder. 

2. Giving your dog medication 

Think your dog is too stubborn to give him/her medication at home? You may be surprised by what you can accomplish.

In this article, I walk you through how to get medicine down even the most stubborn dogs.

3. Removing fur mats

Not sure how to remove your dog’s mats or pine sap on your dog? It’s really not as difficult as you think.

In this article, I reveal the secrets I use for removing sap from Henry’s fur.

Removing sap and fur mats from Henry after a hike reduces my dog vet costs.
Henry on a hike looking for sap. 😀

4. Applying basic first care

A simple pet first aid kit will help you in an emergency. However, knowing how to respond is even better. Thus, you can acquire those skills with a pet first aid course

5. Removing a tick

Honestly, this may be a bit above most dog parent’s abilities. However, sometimes you have no choice but to act if you are hours away from a vet on a camping trip. While it can be a bit unnerving to remove a tick from your dog, it’s definitely in the doable category. 

Still overwhelmed by your vet bill? In this article, I share how a dog savings account can help with vet expenses.  

How do I learn about basic DIY dog medical care?

One of the best places to learn the basics for caring for your dog is with your vet and even the American Red Cross. 

For example, my vet facility is always willing to share their tricks and tips for easy dog care. In fact, I learned how to apply eye ointment to Henry without any issues thanks to their quick demonstration. 

Moreover, the American Red Cross offers a class on basic pet first aid for $25.

Want to know what free acts a vet says to do that will help extend your dog’s lifespan? In this article, I reveal what my vet shared.

Will pet insurance cover my vet care which I could provide?

Honestly, some pet insurance may. However, you’ll need to check with your insurance. Never assume anything at a vet visit. 

However, you should be able to use your Care Credit card to cover a veterinary bill with these types of medical care. 

But if you want to veterinary costs, home DIY may be a great solution.

How does dog DIY home dog care reduce my vet bills?

It can be easy during a vet visit to say, “Can you also trim his nails?” or “Would you remove the mat on his tail?” While your vet will certainly administer the treatment you request, it does increase your bill. With this in mind consider the following vet expenses:

Nail trimming $23
Medication giving$0-70 (cost in my area)
Removing mats$15
Basic first-aid care$50-250
Tick removal $200-300

Related articles:

Summary of DIY reduce dog vet costs

In conclusion, even if you’re not comfortable with all home DIY dog care, there are still a few things you can probably do to help with your vet bill. This could be giving your stubborn dog medication or even removing a fur mat. I know after Henry’s dog attack and eye surgery, I was nervous about hurting him by putting medication in his eye. Honestly, it was easier on my state of mind to take him to the vet to make sure he received his eye ointment with the least amount of pain. 

However, now I can apply eye ointment more easily. Thus, you may need to balance what you can handle and not. Therefore, I encourage you to know that balance and know that it’s okay to ask for help. You can balance those expenses out elsewhere, like with homemade rather than store-bought dog treats. Overall, reducing your vet bills with DIY dog care can be very beneficial. I’ve definitely saved a lot with Henry by trimming his nails, removing his mats, and applying basic first aid when necessary.

a beautiful husky sits pretty after her dog mom discovered how to reduce dog vet costs at home

Did you realize that home DIY dog care could actually reduce your vet costs? Will you try any DIY home dog care now? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

10 thoughts on “Does DIY Reduce Dog Vet Costs? Yes!”

  1. Yes, these are great tips you can DIY. I never had a dog however, my angel cat (niece) Sushi, who passed away, developed hair mats in her older age. My sister and I would work together to shave any areas that a comb couldn’t easily work through to keep her looking good and comfortable. My sister bought an at-home pet grooming kit, and that was way cheaper than going to the vet. I”‘m sure she saved hundreds of dollars in grooming care alone just by doing it at home. We always left it up to the vet for any checkups or serious matters. And Care Credit is awesome. It really helps when you’re in a pinch and have a budget.

    • Awe, yes grooming your pet and keeping mats away really are great ways to keep your vet bill more in check. I’m glad you like Care Credit. It can be very helpful, especially for those on a tight budget. Thank you for your kind words and sharing your experiences with sweet Sushi.

  2. Great tips and I do my best to reduce the vet bills where possible. I am also blessed to have a vet I can email with questions and only if she thinks I must bring Layla in she replies to my email so it cuts the costs. I brush her daily so there are very few matts and if there are I cut them off. She is too old for a groomer. Her nails my vet does for me when necessary only as Layla is a wiggle butt and there is no ways I can do them. Your blog always has such wonderful tips for those on a budget, thank you

    • Awe, thank you so much for your kind words. Oh gosh, I wouldn’t attempt to trim the nails on a wiggly butt pup. I’d be too nervous. I’m glad your vet is able to trim Layla’s nails. I’m not at all surprised you brush Layla daily to keep the mats away. You are a super dog mom!

  3. I try to do a few things myself if possible. I used to trim both my dogs’ nails, but my newer dog Jessie has jet black nails. I’m afraid to trim her nails because I can’t see the quick! I have my Vet do it, or the salon. I can apply ointments and other simple medical tasks myself. It is definitely worth learning to see what you’re comfortable doing yourself.

    • Oh yes, black nails can be tricky. I got a nail grinder for Henry’s nails. His nails are black as well. I’m still very careful with him. You are very correct that doing some care you may not consider can reduce your vet bill, as long you are comfortable with doing it. Super observation! Thanks so much for your continued support!

  4. Always such great info! I did actually DIY a lot…my vets were amazing and I learned so much from them, such as ear care, teeth care, eye care, hot spots, etc. I did, however, never aspire to do nails! Yup, I gave up! I bought all the equipment, and once I cut one a tad too close and had some bleeding, I quit! (I did have the powder stuff to stop it). After that, I left it up to the professional–my groomer did their nails when he came for their home visit spa day!

    As always, it’s amazing to see the budget breakdowns! Preventative measures not only are wonderful for the continued healthcare of our dogs, but it sure can help the pocketbook!

    With regards to insurance, I did not have it on my FiveSibes. Initially going in, and this was 15-18 years ago) there were so many “iffy” things in the policy writing that could change whether or not something would be paid for (example: developing epilepsy after the insurance, they could still deem it not covered as they said it was a hereditary trait). With five dogs, the cost of premiums versus how much I’d really need to use it, plus all the legalese that meant things might not be covered (such as the epilepsy), I opted not to do insurance. Later on in years, I had several emergencies that I sometimes wondered if I should have had it ($5000 per leg for CCL surgery times 4, with one dog having emergency surgery for blowing out both at same time! Poor girl. But we did the surgeries and they recuperated well! Would insurance have helped? Maybe, but again, some may say it’s genetic or predisposed and not cover it. Today, I’d probably go the route of insurance (if having only one or two dogs)…but our vet did give us a multi-dog discount (on top of teaching me lots of DIY), so asking if they have a multii-dog discount is always something to check into. It’s not much, but every bit helps.

    Always great info! Sharing with my readers for sure!

    PS – Henry looks adorable out on his hike!

    • Hi Dorothy!

      You know, I don’t have insurance for Henry. The reason is simply because when I adopted him, every single pet insurance company had so many exceptions and raised the deductible so high because he’s a “mix” breed. Kind of offensive. But it spurred me on to find other ways to save on his vet bills. Thus, I pour everything I learn into this blog.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t attempt to trim Henry’s nails or groom him if he was a wiggly butt or I felt very unsure about it. I always say know your limits. Kind of like “know when to call a plumber so the bill isn’t higher in the end.”

      Thank you so much for the kind words as always and for sharing your experiences. I really appreciate it!

  5. I just have to tell you how much I LOVE the option to download and read posts later!!!! This is wonderful! You really are all about your subscribers needs! Much appreciated~KN

    • Awe, thank you so much! I really do try to think of ways to help folks. Hopefully, the PDF of the articles is helping. I greatly appreciate your feedback. It truly helps me a lot! 🙂


Leave a Comment