How Much Should You Spend? Average Veterinary Costs for Pet Owners

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Most humans do not require a medical checkup more often than once a year, but it’s important to keep in mind the fact that dogs and cats are different. Pets, on average, age up to 7x faster than humans. This means that, by the time they are 2-years-old, most have already reached full adulthood. At the age of 4, many pets are heading into middle age (hopefully without a midlife crisis!). By the time they are 7-years-old, dogs and cats are seniors. When they reach 10 years, they are in the geriatric stage of life. Taking your dog or cat to the vet once a year is the same thing as seeing your own doctor just once every seven years!

You would not wait seven years to see your doctor or dentist, so why make your pet wait that long? Twice a year physical wellness exams are a salient aspect of your pet’s health. Pets, especially cats and certain breeds of dogs, are experts when it comes to hiding pain or illness until it’s almost too late.

These bi-annual visits play an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health, and every pet owner should set aside a certain amount for their pet. Here’s a break-down of the average cost of veterinary visits. Keep in mind that these costs do vary from practice to practice, but these are the average costs. Prices listed here come a variety of sources, as well as information I received when I worked at a veterinary hospital.


Once your dog or cat is an adult, there are basic services that every pet parent should expect to pay:

Office Call: This is the cost of the appointment and wellness exam, and can vary widely depending on location, veterinarian, and clinic. Even so, the average cost is $45 – $55.

Vaccine Boosters: These are shots given after the initial dose to keep the vaccine working effectively. Some vaccinations may require boosters, while others do not. However, most pets require 2-4 boosters each year. The average cost range is $18 – $25.

Fecal Test: Fecal tests are performed to find gastrointestinal parasites, and are important parts of annual check-ups. The average cost is anywhere from $25 to $45 dollars.

Heartworm Tests: These check for heartworm disease, which is an incredibly serous and potentially fatal disease caused by parasitic worms. Tests (blood tests) for this run $45 – $50.

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Depending on your pet’s health and age, you may need to shell out additional costs for extra services. Just because these are additional services, does not necessarily mean they are optional.

Spaying or Neutering: There are many health-related reasons to spay or neuter your pets, apart from the possibility of unwanted litters. The average cost of spaying and neutering at a low-cost clinic is $45 – $135, while some veterinary practices and hospitals cost $200 – $300, or more depending on weight and complications.

Geriatric Screening: Older pets (7+) require geriatric screening. This is a more comprehensive exam that may include complete blood work and chemistry, urinalysis, x-rays, and more. Typically, the cost is around $85 – $115.

Dental Cleaning:  If your pet can’t eat – or if it hurts – then your pet will get incredibly sick and become malnourished. Dental cleanings are very important and performed when your vet sees gingivitis in your pet’s mouth, or notices bleeding during brushing. Many pets have their teeth cleaned once a year during annual check-ups. This procedure generally runs $70-$400, but can cost drastically more.

Allergy Tests: Just like people, animals get allergies and will show symptoms such as: Itching, licking, chewing, and sneezing. If you think your pet may be dealing with allergies, your veterinarian may want to administer an allergy test. This is done either as an intradermal skin test, or via blood test. Skin testing costs an average of $195 – $300, and blood testing is $200 – $350.

X-Rays: These are important for finding breaks, fractures, or signs of internal issues. While they may be expensive, they can make a big difference in finding what is wrong with your pet. The average cost is $58 for the first shot, and $36 for each additional shot.

Surgery and Other Treatments: If your pet has to undergo surgery, or has other health-related issues that require intensive treatment, the cost can run into the high thousands, depending on your pet’s specific issues.

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Taking your pet to the veterinarian twice a year should not be treated as optional – It’s part of owning a pet. Make sure to budget for the visit, along with any additional costs that may come up.

Need help getting your dog into a carrier? Try these tips.

Treat your dog after the vet – You know how the techs took their temperature!

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Source: gratisography

Alexia (2)



    • Excellent comment. Thank you!

      It really bothered me when clients would come in, and decide for themselves which items on the estimate were optional. Most people would argue about doing a blood test. For someone reason, they thought they knew more.

      xo, Alexia


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