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The Nitty Gritty

Questions to Ask Your Vet about Pet Healthcare Expenses

We love our furry friends and would do almost anything to keep them healthy and happy, which is why pet owners schedule routine trips to the vet. Annually, those trips cost the average cat owner about $390 and the average dog owner a little more than $470. However, these routine-care bills are for healthy pets. If something goes wrong and your pet needs surgery, cancer treatment or other medical procedure, the bill could cause financial struggles.

Veterinary expenses are a tricky topic since the decision can be more emotional than financial. Pets are part of the family, and you don’t want to question issues around their care. In reality, asking the following questions before agreeing to veterinary care demonstrates good, responsible pet ownership.

Can you provide an estimate?

If your veterinarian recommends a barrage of tests and procedures, ask for a cost estimate for those services up front. A responsible vet will be able to easily generate an estimate that includes a line item breakout of the services and their costs.

Are all of these services necessary now?

Veterinarians are just as committed to your pet’s health as you are—and sometimes even more so. They may recommend a list of extensive services, not all of which is needed immediately. If you want to reduce your bill, ask if some of the recommended treatments can be postponed until your next visit so you can spread out the cost.

How will this improve my pet’s quality of life?

As a pet owner, you need to weigh the practical things like your budget with doing what’s best for your pet. If your pet is sick, it’s okay to ask how a procedure will improve their quality of life and how long they may live. Knowing the sometimes-hard facts about their prognosis can aid in your decision-making process.

What would you do if it was your pet?

Most vets are pet owners, too, which mean they have faced many of the same decisions you have. Asking this question will give you a unique perspective on the situation. You’ll get the medical facts that a veterinarian can provide, along with the compassionate response that a pet owner would offer. It can help you make better decisions about the expenses involved with treatment.

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