8 Ways Dog Preventative Care Reduces Costs

Do you dread taking your dog to the vet? I know it can be stressful. Your dog is stressed. Then you never know exactly what your vet will say or find. Plus, there’s the cost of going to the veterinary clinic. Sometimes it seems like a good idea to put your head in the sand and not worry about a checkup visit. After all, why ask for trouble if everything seems to be going well, right? That could be a major problem. Today, let’s dig in and discover the top 8 ways dog preventative care reduces costs.

a dog is happy to learn that dog preventative care reduces cost and improves her dog's health
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Maintenance is always cheaper than an actual issue.  Or dealing with an issue head-on at the earliest start is better than when it’s got a good grip. This is the basic philosophy that holds true over many modalities, including caring for our dogs. Think of a wellness plan for your dog like a maintenace plan. Therefore, the cost of a preventive vet visit to keep up with maintenance issues or catch something early is a great idea! Otherwise, you may end up with a very sick dog and a very steep vet bill. It’s good for your dog’s health and your pockebook. In other words, it's great for your dog's health care routine and a major WIN-WIN!

What is preventative care for my dog? 

Basically, preventive dog care is a pet wellness plan or checkup. This is when your vet when gives your dog a good overall examination and provides care as needed. 

How often should my dog get a vet preventative care checkup?

It’s recommended that your dog see your vet for preventative care or for wellness exams at least twice a year. That’s what I do with my dog, Henry.

Does preventative care for dogs change by age group?

Yes! Puppies will need a series of immunization shots at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months. Then they can into a basic wellness plan or dog preventative care.

However, as a dog ages and becomes a senior pet, your vet will want to get a baseline of such organ activities as kidneys and heart. This is done with blood work and X-rays. Then your dog will receive a more in-depth (or senior) annual examination.

Since we don’t really know Henry’s exact age, his vet recommended a senior pet baseline a couple of years ago. He now gets one annual senior pet wellness exam in the Fall. Plus, he receives a more general preventative pet care or routine care checkup in the Spring.

During the Spring checkup, he gets his vaccines and an overall examination. However, in the Fall for his senior pet checkup, he gets blood drawn to make sure his organs and body are functioning properly. If anything is suspicious, then his vet orders an x-ray or further tests. 

NOTE: According to a recent survey 42% of pet parents would go into debt with a vet bill of $999 or more. Thus, even more, reason to be proactive with preventative vet care. 

How does lifestyle impact preventative care for dogs?

Dogs that are outside more or are exposed to higher-at-risk activities will need more preventative care. These activities could include:

How do you know if you need an alternative to your dog park? In this article, I share the 10 sign signs.

Do you know what passive smoke is or how thirdhand smoke can impact your dog and pets? In this article, I walk you through the surprising ways it affects your furry family. 

Does pet insurance pay for preventative vet care?

Yes! Your pet insurance should definitely cover the cost of preventative care. However, always check your pet’s health insurance policy to make sure. 

What if I don’t have pet insurance? How can I minimize the cost of vet preventative care?

There are a few ways to prepare for your dog’s preventive care to minimize cost. First, always budget for it. However, you can also use:

  • CareCredit
  • Pet savings
  • Ask your vet about in-house financing, buying into pet wellness plan program, or even a multiple pets discount

Why is preventative care important for my dog?

1. Vaccines

Any vaccination your dog needs will be given during a preventative care vet visit. This is critical as some vaccines will prevent serious or even fatal diseases. Without a wellness plan or preventative care your dog could contract a disease or fall behind on his/her vaccines.

As an example, during one of Henry’s preventative care appointments I mentioned to his vet that we had loose dogs in the neighborhood that had pooped on our property. Before I knew it, Henry sniffed the poop, which didn’t look healthy. This caused my vet to be alarmed and he immediately checked Henry for contagious diseases such as parvo. Although Henry was up to date on his vaccines, the sickly-looking poop was cause for concern. Thankfully, Henry was fine. I have no idea about the neighbor’s dogs though, unfortunately.

Do you need to cut the costs of your dog’s vaccines? In this article, I show you how to get vet-administered vaccines at a reduced rate.

2. Parasite control

Your vet will look for fleas, ticks, and do a test for heartworm prevention and other parasite prevention. Heartworms are very important to stay ahead of with tests and medication as they can be fatal. 

Henry’s been on heartworm prevention medication since I adopted him. The good news with fleas and ticks is that they’re seasonal and you don’t need to give medication year-round. 

Are you worried about the cost of your dog’s medications? In this article, I show you how to find vet-approved meds for cheap. 

3. Nutrition and weight review

It’s true even for your dogs they are what they eat and how much they eat. One of the first things they will do at the veterinary clinic is weighed your dog and then compare it to the last appointment weighing. While 2 pounds might not seem like much to us, it’s a lot when if your dog only weighs 13.4 pounds. 

For example, when I adopted Henry he weighed 17.5 pounds. However, he wasn’t eating properly, he needed to be groomed, and he wasn’t exercising. Over the year he dropped down to 14.3 pounds. That was over 3 pounds of his weight, which was nearly 20% of his overall weight. But he was healthier and his vet was happy with his weight. Since then he’s dropped one more pound and his vet now claims he’s “the perfect weight”. I wish I could make that claim about myself. But I digress.

Do you know that overfeeding your dog costs you money? In this article, I walk you through the cost savings of feeding the proper amount of dog food to your pup. 

4. Behavior counseling

Often a health issue will start with a behavior issue. Such as a licking issue. Or rubbing a bum across the ground. Those can be easily addressed and most likely solved during your preventative care visit. You may even want to address sleep issues, which could be the signs of onset dementia or breathing issues. Again, your vet will have solutions for you and your dog. 

For example, a friend’s dog suddenly started bumping into furniture and other items. On his preventative care visit, it was determined he had diabetes, which allowed his human parents to help him adjust to his new eyesight. Also, it helped his parents become aware of proper food for his condition so it didn’t get worse. 

Does your dog need to be trained, yet you don’t think you have the time or money? In this article, I show you how to train your dog on your time for free. 

5. Early detection of health issues

This is really a big one. Your vet will be able to detect issues in their early stages and take action before they are major issues. This could be a suspect tooth or even a weird-looking mole.

Moreover, dogs are notorious for hiding pain and health problems. They are as much like cats when it comes to pain. Unlike other animals, such as horses who will paw a hole in China to bang their heads in their stall until they are bleeding. Dogs can appear healthy but be in tremendous pain or have a hidden illness. Thus, a preventative care appointment can detect pain in your dog and hopefully prevent a major health issue. 

For example, a couple of years ago, I pointed out a very small lump almost the size of a dot made from a pen (yep, tiny). But my vet explored it and actually took a biopsy of it. Thankfully, it was determined to be just a mole. Henry’s vet warned me that it could grow but to not worry and he’d watch it as well. I’m very grateful for that warning as it has grown slightly. But it’s still just a mole.  

Henry (and I) are knowing his dog preventative care reduces costs and keeps him healthy
Henry is happy, healthy, and relaxed with his preventative care routine.

6. Improved quality of life

Your vet will ask if your dog is drinking, eating, sleeping well, or having any issues with movement. Additionally, your vet will examine your dog’s eyes, ears, joints, and teeth. If your dog has any issues with any of these, your vet will suggest ways to help your dog. 

For example, Henry showed some signs of arthritis a year or so ago. At that point, his vet suggested a supplement to aid in his moment. This has seemed to help. 

7. Ease of mind

Simply knowing your dog is in good health and your doing everything you can to aid your dog, is a huge relief. I know I always breathe easier knowing Henry’s had all his vaccines, had a thorough examination, nothing major was discovered, and he’s in pretty good health. The stress of not knowing wears on us as pet parents, which can eventually manifest physically. I think it’s best to know and then tackle whatever you’re given. 

Do you how to destress with your dog? In this article, I walk you through the process. 

8. Reduce overall vet bills

I bet you’re wondering how you can reduce your vet bills with preventative care. Well, with preventative care or a pet wellness plan your vet is able to catch issues before they become a major health issue. The cost of early detection is always much more affordable than treating a full-on health issue.

Think of how you do preventative breast examines or dental examinations. You don’t go to the dentist simply to have a tooth exacted. Instead, you go for a cleaning and X-rays which may detect other issues early before you need a root canal. I know I like to avoid those if I can. 

For example, if there’s the start of any issue like dental disease, your vet will show you how to prevent it from getting worse along with actionable dental care tasks for your dog. While having your vet clean your pet’s teeth might be pricey, it’s better than teeth exactions, which are very pricey. Plus, most pet health insurance policies pay for dental care cleaning. Although always check with your pet insurance company policy to make sure what’s included in your coverage. 

Worried about handling all your dog’s vet expenses? In this article, I explain why your dog needs a pet savings account. 

So, how does vet preventative care reduce my dog’s expenses?

This is the interesting part. Or the bonus part. Not only does preventative care keep your dog healthy, but it saves you money. If you were to forgo preventative care, consider the following possible treatment costs:

Parvoup to $8,000
Fleas or ticks$75-400
Heart disease$500-2,500+
Bladder stones$700-1,700
Thyroid disease$390-750+

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Summary of ways dog preventative care reduces costs

Are you surprised that a simple act like preventative care for your dog could be so impactful? It’s one of those foundational or essential pieces to dog ownership. Think for a moment what would happen if you bought a Bugatti La Voiture Noire and simply drove it. Okay, I confess. I’m not a car person. That’s actually, a very fancy richy rich car worth over $18.7 million.

So, what do you think would happen over time if you just drove this car around without changing the oil, rotating the tires, or doing any of the other basic maintenance? The car would break down sooner than it would otherwise. Now, that’s not to say your dog is a car. But to me, Henry is priceless. So, I will keep up with his maintenance and do all his preventative care. 

a dog mom is happy that her husky is healthy and she saves as she learned dog preventative care reduces costs

Do you take your dog to the vet for preventative care or routine care? Did you realize you’re actually saving money while keeping your dog healthy? 

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. 

6 thoughts on “8 Ways Dog Preventative Care Reduces Costs”

  1. Excellent post! Icy is a senior dog, so she goes in for exams twice a year. I like the Vet to do bloodwork twice a year during those visits. Bloodwork reveals so much. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. I totally believe that!

    • Exactly! A pound of prevention is always much more cost-effective than a pound of cure. I knew you’d be on top of Icy’s care. Such a cute pup! Thanks for the support. I greatly appreciate it!

  2. Our senior cats get twice yearly visits. YES it matters! Jack developed a cough and now has regular Meloxicam to help ease the irritation – somethings we might not have acted on for longer (and felt terrible about!).

    Weight. I am sure this is one of the top ways a vet monitors pet health! Losing a pound for them is a huge amount as you way!

    • You are absolutely correct! Even an ounce could be a lot for some pets. It’s definitely a critical part of preventative vet care. I’m glad Jack got the help he needed with your vet. Funny, how they can mask pain. Thank you for your continued support!

  3. I love when you break down the costs to show just how important – and cost-effective – things are when done pro-actively. Vet visits are so important. Peace of mind for me is a huge thing as I want to always know my dogs were in top health, as much as they should and could be at their varying ages. Also, to head off any issues…that is super important. I have a list of items that were picked up during visits that thankfully we could immediately deal with to keep them in good health. (I.e. – a small lump on exterior of one of my Huskies’ legs that when they went in to remove it during surgery, turned out to be…ready for this?…a tumor that looked like a baby’s foot complete with “toes.” My vet said in all his years he never saw anything like that. Now, if we did not have it checked – mind you, just a little bump…I dread what it would have turned out to be. I’m still stunned to this day when I look at photos (I did a blog post on it) that something that large was looming inside of his leg. Your post is excellet (as always) and I am sharing!

    • OMG!!! A baby’s foot!!! How on earth???? That one I’ll not forget. I’m going to have to read the full article. Poor baby!

      I have to admit, the cost break out is some of my favorite parts. I always hope it will bring home the point of the article, in this case, preventative vet care.

      Thank you for always being so supportive! I greatly appreciate it!


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