Dogs are one of the most popular pets globally, with an estimated 600 million canines living as companions to humans. They come in all sizes and shapes, from small lapdogs to large working breeds. With so many different types of pups comes a wide range of vet bills that pet parents may face at some point in their dog's life. Pup owners need to know what the average vet costs for dogs are before they happen to plan accordingly. Let's take a look at the top 10 veterinary costs associated with caring for your dog.

A pug lies down on the floor.

The Top Ten Veterinary Costs for Dogs

Caring for your pup will average a total of $1,670 annually. This amount is a lot of money, but this average encompasses everything from vet visits to food, grooming tools, and even toys. Now that we have this number, it's easy to plan ahead so that you're not faced with any emergency vet visits. Here are the ten most common costs for veterinary care for dogs.

1. Treatment for Skin Conditions - average $390

Skin conditions are one of the most common reasons that owners will take their dogs to a veterinarian. Dogs can suffer from chronic and acute skin issues, and allergies or dietary changes can often cause them. Chronic treatments may include topical medications, antibiotics, allergy testing and medications, and anti-parasitic medication. Acute care is pricier, although if you have pet insurance for your pup, a significant portion of those costs will be covered.

2. Deworming Medication - average $8 - $55 monthly

Deworming medication is vital for your pup's health. There are many different types of intestinal worms that your dog can be exposed to, and medicated treatment ranges from $8-$55 per dose. Common worms that infect dogs include hookworms, tapeworms roundworms, and whipworms. Most deworming products are available in a pill or chewable tablet form.

For puppies, expect repeated rounds of deworming after the initial treatment. Your vet can provide a deworming schedule for your pup that changes as she grows from puppyhood to adulthood.

A vet tech carries a dog to the examination table.

3. Preventative Care for Dogs - average $200-$700

Preventative care is a significant expense when caring for your pup because it has to do with the necessities for maintaining your dog's health. The average price falls somewhere in the range of $200-$700 and includes an annual vet visit and screenings, vaccines, flea and tick control, fecal exam, heartworm test and prevention, and identification tags. Preventative care is crucial because it keeps your dog healthy by identifying potential health issues before they become costly problems.

4.Heartworm Treatment and Prevention - $150-$1000

Heartworm prevention is necessary for dogs, especially if your area has a high rate of heartworm infection; however, it is also important for regions that average just one or two cases a year. In those places, it comes down to whether you want to take the risk. Prevention starts with taking your dog to visit the vet for a heartworm test and prevention medication ($150 - $200). This procedure will determine what type of worms your dog has because different worms require different treatments.

If tests come back positive and medication isn't already being given at home, the costs begin to climb. Pup parents can pay upwards of $1000 to start heartworm treatment. This process usually involves giving a pill once every month while under continual supervision by the veterinarian to ensure your pup doesn't suffer from any side effects.

5. Illness Treatment (medications) - average $250-$15,000

Illness treatment is another of the average medical costs associated with dogs, and it can include any illnesses that crop up during the average life of your pup, such as cancer, joint disease, and eye disease. 

The cost for basic treatment ranges from $250 to $400 per visit; however, in emergencies, you may be charged up to $15,000 depending on the type and number of medications and procedures necessary to your dog's health. 

Puppy sleeps in his pup parent's arm.

6. Microchipping Procedure and Registration for Dogs - average $20 - $75

Microchipping your pup may seem like an investment upfront, but it can go a long way in terms of vet bills for the family. It's relatively easy to find microchips at your local veterinarian's office or local dog rescue, and they cost around $30.

Thanks to this identification chip, if your pup ever gets lost, she has a much better chance of being reunited with you. It's worth considering getting a microchip for your dog, especially if you have any plans to move.

7. Diagnostics Tests (CBC, biopsy, urinalysis) - average range between $125-400

Diagnostics tests for dogs typically runs between $125 and $400.

Veterinary care and lab tests average about $125 per visit and they may include a CBC (complete blood count), biopsy, or urinalysis.The cost is higher if a pup experiences chronic health problems like kidney failure.

These tests are used to detect serious diseases or disorders that need to be addressed as soon as possible, like cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney disease, and pancreatitis.

8. Dental Care for Dogs - average costs $180-$2500

Dogs have very different teeth than humans because they have a unique system where they grind food with their molars. This action can cause a dog's teeth to wear down and become sensitive. Oral care is important to avoid pain from tooth sensitivity or even cancerous lesions from untreated tooth decay. The average number of visits for dental care ranges from one visit every six months to once per year, and prices for the procedure vary widely depending on the severity of the issue.

Purchasing a pet insurance policy when your dog is young, before any oral disease begins, can save money, hundreds and even thousands of dollars in some cases. That's one way a dog insurance plan can help pup owners with vet care prices.

Pug sits with a cone of shame.

9 Spaying and Neutering for Dogs - between $45 - $600

Spaying or neutering your pup is one of the most common procedures associated with dogs.

Spaying a female dog means removing her uterus and ovaries to prevent pregnancy while castrating a male dog involves surgical removal of his testicles to prevent him from reproducing. Even though these procedures are considered routine by vets, there are still costs to consider before deciding what kind of procedure your dog should have. The average cost for spay or neuter surgery ranges from $400-$600 depending on whether it's performed at an emergency clinic or regular vet office.

The size of a dog can also impact the cost of surgery. Larger breeds will require more anesthetic and veterinary care than smaller ones, and the average length of recovery time also varies depending on your pup's size.

Although there are average costs associated with spaying or neutering your pup, you should consult your vet before making any final decisions about the surgery.

10. Boarding Your Pet at the Vet Clinic - average $500 - $4000

Boarding your pet is another of the average vet costs associated with dogs because veterinary boarding facilities provide necessary medical care for your pup. This average cost for boarding can vary depending on the size of the facility and the services they offer. Some vet costs for boarding can be up to $80 per day and veterinarians will let dog owners know how much they can expect to pay for your dog's daily or overnight care.

A dog receives laser treatment at the veterinary clinic.

Pet insurance can help with average vet costs for dogs.

It costs money to make sure our best dog friends live the happiest, healthiest life possible. When you look at the overall costs of owning a dog, it can seem daunting; however, a pet insurance policy can help cover many of these common vet visit cost for dogs. Many insurance companies offer wellness coverage plans, too, so your dog's annual veterinary care won't cost as much with dog health insurance. Also, when emergencies arise, that insurance plan will save money and ensure the your pup has access to the best veterinary care possible.

Pet Insurance Review can help pet owners find the best pet insurance policy for your pup. Get a free quote today and start preparing to save on your dog's tomorrows.

References

1. DVM360. (2016). The cost of skin problems in veterinary patients. Retrieved from https://www.dvm360.com/view/cost-skin-problems-veterinary-patients

2. The Pricer. (n.d.). Cost of Deworming a Dog. Retrieved from https://www.thepricer.org/cost-of-deworming-a-dog

3. Actijoy. (2019). The Cost of Regular Preventative Dog Health Care in the United States.Retrieved from https://www.actijoy.com/blogs/news/the-cost-of-regular-preventative-dog-health-care-in-the-united-states

4. Williams, B. (2021). Addressing the Cost of Heartworm in Dogs. Retrieved from https://cofundmypet.com/addressing-the-cost-of-heartworm-in-dogs

5. Rugg, P. (2019). A sick pet, and an unthinkable choice. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/7/16/20694851/pet-insurance-sick-dog-cat-pets-vet-cost

6. Downes, E. (2020). How Much Does It Cost to Microchip a Dog? Retrieved from https://www.paolivet.com/pet-microchipping/how-much-does-it-cost-to-microchip-a-dog/

7. Lichtenberg, D.  (2018). Everything You Need to Know About Blood Work from a Veterinarian. Retrieved from https://www.petful.com/pet-health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-blood-work-from-a-veterinarian/

8. Fritz, J. (2021). How Much Does a Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost? Average Cost for Dental Cleaning and Extraction. Retrieved from https://www.caninejournal.com/dog-teeth-cleaning-cost/

9. Vargas, S. (2021). How Much It Costs to Spay or Neuter Your Dog. Retrieved from https://insurify.com/blog/pet-insurance/dog-neutering-costs/

10. Bowen, A., Brooks, L. (2021). How much does a vet visit cost? Retrieved from https://betterpet.com/costs-of-veterinary-care/