Here's How Much the Average Vet Visit Costs

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  • The average cost of a vet visit can range from $50 to thousands of dollars, depending on the type of care your pet needs.
  • Out-of-pocket annual costs for a dog average $1,400 and for a cat, $1,150.
  • Pet insurance, which can help offset the cost of care, ranges from $10 to $55 a month, depending on the type of pet you have, the type of coverage you choose, and other factors.

Keeping your pet healthy is important to you and your family, but it can often come with a hefty price tag. One of the most significant expenses you might encounter as a pet owner is veterinary care. It's easy to put off taking your furry friend to the vet when you're not sure what the cost will be. However, neglecting your pet's health can lead to expensive veterinary bills down the road. Understanding how much an average vet visit costs may help you prepare for these expenses.

How much do vet visits cost?

The cost of a vet visit depends on where you live, the type of pet you have, and the reason for the visit. Out-of-pocket annual costs for a dog average $1,400 and for a cat, $1,150. According to recent surveys, the average cost of a routine vet visit for a dog or cat ranges from $45 to $55. If you want a more thorough exam for your dog, the cost can range anywhere from $100 to $300 -- plus the cost of tests. For cats, the cost can range from $90 to $200, not including any additional tests.

Diagnostic testing, such as blood work and x-rays, can cost $500 or more. Treatment for illnesses, injuries, or chronic conditions can also be costly. Surgery can easily cost $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the type of procedure and your location. Dental procedures, which are important for your pet's overall health, can range from $500 to $800 or more.

Research shows that 1 in 3 pets require emergency veterinary treatment every year, and every six seconds a pet owner is faced with a vet bill of more than $1,000. Pets are a part of the family, but 4 out of 5 pet owners would be unable to afford a $5,000 vet bill. This is where pet insurance comes in.

Pet insurance helps offset veterinary bills should your cat or dog become sick or injured. The premium costs are based on the breed of your pet, age, your location, and much more.

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance policies can vary widely in coverage and cost, so be sure to research different options before choosing a policy. Remember to read the fine print and understand what is and isn't covered.

There are two main types of insurance coverages that pet insurance companies offer: Accident & Illness (A&I) Coverage and Accident-Only (AO) Coverage. A&I policies, also known as "comprehensive policies," cover accidents plus minor and major illnesses such as cancer, infection, and digestive problems. AO policies only cover accidents, such as car accidents, foreign body ingestion, lacerations, poisoning, and ligament tears. Here are the average costs for each type of policy for cats and dogs:

2022 Average Premiums (U.S.)

2022 A&I: Accident & Illness AO: Accident Only
DOG Annual: $640.04/ Monthly: $53.34 Annual: $200.58/ Monthly: $16.70
CAT Annual: $387.01/ Monthly: $32.25 Annual: $122.19/ Monthly: $10.18
Data source:

You can lower the cost of veterinary care by being proactive about your pet's health. Regular preventive care, including annual check-ups and vaccinations, can catch issues early and help your pet avoid expensive treatments later on. Additionally, keeping up with your pet's dental health can prevent costly dental procedures down the road.

While veterinary care can be expensive, it's essential to keep your pet healthy and happy. By understanding the cost of an average vet visit, you can plan accordingly and avoid surprises. Pet insurance policies can also help offset major expenses should your pet need it. Regular preventive care and a proactive approach to your pet's health can help lower the cost of veterinary care over time. If you're concerned about the cost of veterinary care, talk to your vet about payment plans or financing options. With a little planning, you can keep your pet healthy without impacting your budget.

Our Research Expert

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