When you’re dealing with a vet’s office full of stressed-out dogs and hissing cats you probably wonder if there’s an easier way. While there is a multitude of reasons for visiting the vet’s office. Sometimes on an emergency basis, but most times for routine reasons such as a vaccine shot or check-up, the stress hits not only your dog but also you. Of course, you may have a great rapport with your veterinarian and staff. But the stress of a visit can become overwhelming. Today let’s explore the benefits of mobile vet services and whether it fits into your dog budget. You might be a bit surprised about this one.
*Updated: July 4, 2023
Budget tip: I know you’re thinking a mobile veterinary service seems very luxurious for your dog's vet care. Well, maybe not. If you break down the cost of your travel, time, stress, and convenience, you may actually be saving with a mobile vet. Here’s the best part about a mobile vet, you get super personalized attention. There’s no rush-rush in and out. The vet is completely focused on your dog. If the pros outweigh the cons for you and your dog, a mobile vet service may just save you on your dog budget. And that is a great budget tip!
What is a mobile vet?
A mobile veterinarian is a vet that will make a house call. Sometimes a mobile vet will have a brick-and-mortar office as well as a mobile vet service. Other times the vet strictly specializes in mobile services. Either way, the vet is a board-certified vet. You can check their certification with your state veterinarian board here.
What kind of pets will a mobile vet cover?
While a mobile vet is educated like all veterinarians, some will choose to specialize in certain animals like livestock, equine, or house pets. Others will not set limitations on the pets or animals they will offer medical services for with their business.
NOTE: For years, I had a mobile vet for my horses. While she generally only would “vet” large farm and livestock animals, she’d provide medical care for any domestic house pets of clients she visited. That certainly was a very nice service.
What kind of services can a mobile vet offer my dog?
The reason for calling a mobile vet will most likely vary. You will need to access your dog’s needs.
However, the services any mobile vet offers will vary depending on the vet. But, generally speaking, they can offer any service that a traditional vet can offer.
These services can include, but are not limited to:
- Dental care
- Second opinions
- Physical exams
- Lab work, including blood
- Surgical procedures
- Hospice care
NOTE: It’s often very comforting to dog parents to have a mobile vet come to their home for euthanasia services. While it’s a difficult time, it can be even more difficult to have to take your dog to the vet to administer this last act. If this is the one and only time you think you may use a mobile vet, contact your current vet. You may be shocked to learn he or she will make house calls for this painful act. My dog, Henry’s vet has been offering this mobile vet service for years.
What are the benefits of mobile vet services for my dog?
The benefits can be many, especially if your dog is highly stressed when visiting the vet or you live a long way from a physical veterinary clinic. A few benefits that you will want to think about include:
This means convenience for you and your dog. You don’t have to travel to the vet. The vet comes to you.
2. Reduced stress
You and your dog will have less stress since you don’t have to go to the vet.
3. Contagions controlled
You won’t be exposing your dog to other sick dogs in the waiting room, parking lot, or hallway. Additionally, if you chose not to get certain dog vaccines such as Bordetella, you won’t need to worry that you might expose your dog to this highly contagious disease.
You get to save on your time. There’s no travel for you, taking off of work, or rearranging of schedule to take your dog to the vet. Again, the vet comes to you.
5. Flexible appointments
Often mobile vet services offer off-hour appointments. This means more appointments available in the evening, early morning, and weekend hours.
5. Fewer distractions
When a mobile vet comes to you, he or she will be strictly focused on your dog. There will be no knocking on the door because “Mrs. Smith’s dog just vomited.”
6. More personalized attention
With less distractions comes more personalized attention. I always learned more about my animals from about my mobile vet than my traditional vets. My mobile vet often made a point of making me her last appointment of the day. So, my horses (or boys as she and I referred to them) got a lot of extra attention. I also knew more about her and she about me and my horses because we had time. And that’s a great benefit! She became a friend to my family.
7. You get to stay with your dog
Often when you take your dog into the vet’s office, they’ll take him or her away to do various exams or labs. That doesn’t happen with a mobile vet. Everything is done within your presence. I always have felt much more comfortable with this idea.
8. Specialized care
A mobile vet will often offer specialized care in such areas as diet, behavior, senior care, heck you name it. These vets can diversify their services more than even a traditional vet, thus what is offered can amaze you.
NOTE: I can tell you the right mobile vet will provide high-quality veterinary care. My best mobile vets have provided friendly and compassionate service for my animals. This is something that while it’s provided by my traditional vet, it’s much more abundant with the best mobile vets because they don’t have distractions and they have more time.
What can I expect from a mobile vet for my dog?
It will depend on the reason for the visit. For instance, if it’s for a second opinion or for a regular check-up, the mobile vet will do an initial exam. Then proceed to whatever your dog needs addressing.
Generally, if this is your first time with a mobile vet when you call to make the appointment the mobile vet service will give you a quote over the phone. This will give you a basic idea as to what to expect. Additionally, you will be provided with payment options at the time of service. However, most will accept payment in the same manner as traditional vets.
Will pet insurance cover mobile vet services?
Some mobile vets will be covered by pet insurance. Although since most mobile vets require payment at the time of service it makes it a bit tricky. Thus, it’s best if you can use your pet insurance in combination with another option like CareCredit or even a pet savings account. Also, even if your pet insurance will cover your mobile vet cost, it most likely will not cover the travel fee.
How do I find a mobile vet in my area?
1. Your vet
If you like your current vet, ask if he or she offers mobile vet services. Generally, these services aren’t widely promoted, but many traditional vets do offer mobile vet services. If not then ask for a referral for a mobile vet. They may ask why. Be honest. Tell your vet you want to spare your dog stress, lower your stress, reduce travel time, or whatever the answer is for you. Just be honest. It’s not a mark against your vet. Rather it’s information for your vet to grow.
2. Ask for a referral
3. Look online
Search online for a mobile vet in your area. There will probably be one that keeps popping up. Call that one or the ones that float to the top.
The main point is to make sure that whomever you select has great reviews and is board certified.
NOTE: Here’s one more point, if the mobile vet comes out and you butt heads, then fire the vet on the spot and find a new one. I did this with a few of my mobile vets. You are your dog’s advocate, so you must be picky with your vet.
What does a mobile vet cost?
Honestly, the price will vary depending on your location, dog, services you want to be performed, and the distance your vet needs to travel. Here’s the price of a few vet services in my area:
- Travel fee: $45-60
- Basic exam: $65
- Second opinion: $75
- Follow-up visit: $60
- Euthanasia: $250-500 (depending on pet size – horse, dog, cat, etc.)
NOTE: Most mobile veterinary services will offer a discount for multiple pets. So, if you have a dog and cat that need check-ups, schedule them at the same time for a savings. Overall, I can tell you it’s very nice to not have to take a stressed cat to a veterinary clinic.
This is something you will need to answer for you and your dog. Look over the benefits and costs. Then look at the traditional vet visit and what that vet offers. Get out a piece of paper and write out the pros and cons in different columns for you and your dog. Then the column that wins is your winner.
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Summary of the benefits of mobile vet services for my dog
You may have thought that a mobile vet was too pricey for your dog. But if you dig down through the cost of your travel, inconvenience, and stress on you and your dog, then it may very well be worth it. Plus, you also get a lot more personalized attention.
Moreover, if you live a long way from a traditional veterinary clinic, then a mobile vet might be well worth it for you. This is something you will need to answer for you and your dog. I like to know this option is available to Henry and me if we should need it. I know an amazing mobile vet and his current vet makes a few house calls and my mind is at ease.