The Average Cost of a Dog’s Vet Care

by Irene Hislop

29 September 2019



When you are caught in the powerful gaze of puppy eyes, it is hard to stop and think rationally about the long-term costs of having a dog. But it is important because a dog is a long-term commitment. Too many dogs wind up in shelters because people got them without considering the impact on their lives. That impact includes your time, energy and money. Dogs are priceless, but before you take the plunge, make sure you are financially prepared for the average yearly vet bills for a dog.

The initial cost of getting a dog is higher than the annual cost of vet care. First, you will be paying for the dog itself. Whether you get a dog from a shelter or a responsible breeder, it can cost anything from €150 to €500. Many people balk at paying for a dog from a rescue. Remember, the rescue has spent money on vet bills and food. They have had the dog neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. In many cases they dealt with other medical issues from injuries to mange.

a beautiful pembroke welsh corgi waiting to be fed by connolly's red mills go native high quality dog food

You can get a dog for much less directly from the pound. That means you will pay for the neutering, microchipping and vaccines. In the end, it does not save money. The other advantage of getting your dog from a rescue or a breeder is that you will get some insight into its personality. They have been caring for the dog for weeks or longer. A rescue can help you find a dog that will match your lifestyle and fit into your household.

Dogs are often advertised in the small ads, but this is an extremely risky way to get a dog. It can be difficult and time consuming to confirm that the dog is not stolen or the product of a cruel puppy mill.

Average Yearly Vet Bills for a Dog

All dogs need routine care. At the absolute minimum, this involves an annual check up and vaccinations for diseases such as parvo and kennel cough. A thorough annual exam can also pick up any health problems before they advance far. That means less suffering for your dog and less expense for you in the long run.

The cost of a veterinary consultation and vaccinations varies quite a bit by area. To budget properly, it is best to contact a few of the vets nearest you and compare their prices. Annual vaccines for adult dogs can cost anywhere from €25 to €50 euro, and the kennel cough vaccination is usually another €25 to €40. Some vets might charge less for the vaccines themselves but also charge a consultation fee. Be sure to ask for the total price of the visit. Many clinics now offer plans where for a monthly fee, your annual check, vaccinations and some other visits are covered. These plans allow you to budget for the average yearly vet bills for a dog.

All dogs need to be protected from parasites, even the most pampered indoor pooch. This means regular treatment with products to prevent fleas and ticks as well as deworming. The cost of this can vary considerably. Larger dogs require a larger amount of the product. You can opt for supermarket brands or get the most advanced protection from your vet. Every dog owner needs to balance the cost against the risk for their specific situation. A dog who spends his time patrolling a farm or trail running is going to encounter more parasites than one who leaves his apartment twice a day for a walk – but no dog can avoid parasites completely, so protection is essential.

Injuries, Illness and Emergencies

It is impossible to predict the average yearly vet bills for a dog precisely  because any dog can suffer sickness or injury that results in a hefty vet bill. A dog can land wrong running or jumping and strain a muscle just as we can. Or he can get into the garbage or steal a snack that makes him ill. At the more extreme end, dogs can experience medical emergencies such as gastric torsion that require emergency surgery.

One dog might be unlucky and suffer several ailments over its life, while another might not need much beyond vaccines until old age. While it impossible to prevent all accidents and illnesses, you can take steps to minimize the risk. Keep your dog on a lead unless in a securely fenced area to minimize the risk of him being knocked down or fighting another dog. Know which foods are dangerous for dogs, never leave food unattended and secure your bin to protect your dog from poisoning. You can also avail of pet insurance so that if something goes wrong, you have some coverage. This is another area where every dog owner needs to do their research and balance the risks and expenses for their particular situation.

Other Costs of Dog Ownership

The average yearly vet bills for a dog are not the only expenses dog owners face. All dogs need a licence, which is currently €20 per year. While you won’t need to buy a collar, lead and harness every year, dogs do go through other supplies such as toys, food, treats, poop bags, shampoo and the like. Some breeds will require professional grooming, while others are easily maintained with regular brushing and nail trims at home. If you head off for a weekend or a holiday, you will need to board your dog or hire a dog sitter. A growing number of dog owners who work and commute are turning to professional dog walkers to make sure their best friends are getting enough exercise and company while they are gone.

If you are considering getting a dog, it is vital that you consider the costs and be prepared. But one thing is true of all dogs. Whether you spend more or less than the average yearly vet bills for a dog, your new friend will be priceless and give you more love and laughs than you can measure.

Irene Hislop

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