Getting a pet is one of the most joyous events in life. You walk into a pet store or an adoption shelter, and you see an adorable animal that looks at you with loving eyes. Right then and there, you realize that you're going to have a companion on your life's journey.
It's essential, though, to know how much you could reasonably expect to spend on veterinary bills before taking Fido or Fluffy home. You might have already researched the cost of food, litter, and so on, but vet bills can quickly dwarf those expenses, depending on what is wrong with your pet. So before you sign on the dotted line for that adoption, read this rundown of what you might expect to incur in vet bills.
Vets Can Cost A Lot Of Money
Unfortunately, there's no other way to put it. Vet services are quite expensive. They're not as expensive as human healthcare in the United States, but they are out of the reach of many average workers.
The routine visits are not that expensive. Most annual checkups cost $50 to $100 (some are more, some are less, depending on what is involved). Vaccinations add an extra $30-$50. Tests usually add another $50 or so.
Where vets begin to cost substantial amounts, monetarily, is when pets require significant treatments. For example, the cost to treat cancer in a dog is easily at least $5,000-$10,000. There's about $1,000-$2,000 for the diagnosis from a specialist. Then, if your dog needs chemotherapy, that can be another $5,000 or so. If your dog needs radiation, you would add $5,000 again.
Most Pets Require Some Substantial Treatments
It's easy to look at these figures and think to yourself, "yes, but I don't know that my cat or dog will have cancer, so maybe I'll never have these bills."
Most pets have some form of health problems that require money as they age. Whether it's cancer or renal failure or cataracts in the eyes, our pets' bodies break down as they age, unfortunately.
Therefore, while you can typically avoid having major vet bills when your pet is younger, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid having them once they age. When getting a new pet, you should consider that at some point in time in the future, your new furry friend will incur some significant health costs.
Be Aware, But Don't Let It Guide Your Decision
If you have your heart set on a pet that you've seen, don't refuse to adopt because you're worried about the vet bills. If necessary, consider getting pet health insurance. By paying into one of those plans, you can know that any significant care will be covered by one of the insurance companies as opposed to coming out of your pocket. Alternatively, upon adopting your pet, you can start a little emergency fund for them to pay for any medical bills that may arise in the future.
Of course, there's no guarantee that you'll be spending thousands on vet bills. However, when deciding to bring home your new pet, you should at least keep this possibility in mind!