An article recently published by Consumer Reports encourages pet owners to comparison shop for veterinary care. Take a look at the full article if you have the chance, but here are a few of the helpful tips mentioned by the magazine:
- The best time to comparison shop is when your pet needs a routine checkup, not when you’re stressed out by a sick or injured animal.
- Call at least two or three nearby vets and ask what their physical exam fee is. The exam fee forms the base of every vet bill, and vets often set their other fees as a percentage or multiple of that charge.
- It’s more difficult but sometimes still possible to shop in an emergency. Except in the most life-threatening of cases, vets usually stabilize an injured or ill animal with painkillers and other first aid and then schedule any necessary procedures for later. When possible, ask the emergency vet whether your pet can be treated the next day by its regular (probably less expensive) vet.
- If your pet faces a major health problem, ask your vet these questions before making any decisions: What are the treatment options? What are the immediate and long-term costs of each? What’s the prognosis for recovery? What will the pet’s post-treatment quality of life be like?
Of course, you never want to sacrifice the quality of veterinary services that your pet receives just to save a few dollars. If you are happy with your current veterinarian, but are still looking for ways to save money on your pet’s care, Consumer Reports has also recommended in the past to comparison shop for pet meds online.