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Welcoming a new puppy into your home comes with a lot of responsibility. You must invest time and energy into different types of training, including house, crate, and obedience training, and continue to care for their health from puppyhood through adulthood. Therefore, determining the average cost of a vet visit for a dog is crucial to ensuring you can afford to care for your dog's basic needs.
But how much is a vet visit for a puppy? Ultimately, it can be difficult to determine how much vet visits will cost because they depend on where you live, your dog's breed, and what they need during each visit.
- The Importance Of Veterinary Care For Puppies
- How The Breed Of Your Puppy Can Impact Vet Costs
- What To Expect During Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
- Cost Breakdown For Puppy Vet Visits
- How Much Is A Vet Visit For A Puppy?: FAQs
- Final Notes
The Importance Of Veterinary Care For Puppies
All dogs need routine veterinary visits to ensure a long, healthy life. Annual wellness exams can help vets catch health problems before they become more serious and can help your dog live longer through early detection and intervention.1
In addition, regular vet care for puppies can help treat and manage diseases with medication and follow-up exams to ensure treatment is effective. During your dog's annual wellness exam, you can also get advice from the vet on how to care for your puppy at home.
Puppies have different health needs than adult and senior dogs. For example, puppies must go to the vet on a set vaccination schedule. Puppy vaccinations typically begin at around six to eight weeks and continue every three to four weeks until they're four months old.2
Additionally, vet care for puppies is crucial because they're more susceptible to illnesses and accidents. Young dogs have an immature immune system and are often full of energy without the best balance, making them more prone to accidents during play.
When you take your dog to the vet, your vet will give them a physical examination and review any existing health records to determine possible treatments. Depending on your puppy's current health and breed, they may also identify potential health concerns.
How The Breed Of Your Puppy Can Impact Vet Costs
How much is a vet visit for a dog? It depends on several factors, including your puppy's breed. Many health conditions are breed specific and can impact everything from energy levels to mobility. Your vet will work with you to see if you need anything for your puppy based on their breed, including getting optional vaccinations and keeping an eye on their joints and hips.
For example, brachycephalic dogs, like boxers, pugs, and Boston terriers, are prone to breathing problems, especially in hot, humid climates. Meanwhile, shih tzus are prone to wobbly kneecaps,3 and Cocker spaniels and other floppy-eared breeds are prone to ear infections. In many cases, your vet will keep an eye on potential conditions that may affect your dog's breed.
What To Expect During Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
Whether you adopt your puppy from a shelter or buy them from a breeder, you should take them to a local vet as soon as possible to ensure they're healthy. Breeders and shelters will provide you with medical records to include in your dog's file. During your puppy's first vet visit, they'll receive a physical examination, where the vet will:
- Weigh your puppy
- Use a stethoscope to listen to their heart and lungs
- Examine eyes, nose, ears, feet, genitalia, skin, and coat
- Look at the teeth and mouth
- Examine feces for worms4
Depending on your puppy's health, your vet may send you home with medications or treatments, so you should discuss how to administer them properly.
Cost Breakdown For Puppy Vet Visits
There are several types of vet visits you'll go to throughout puppyhood, including yearly physical exams, checkups, emergency vet visits, and vaccinations. Puppy vet visit costs will depend on the type of treatment your pet is receiving, which may include any of the following:
Puppies will have yearly wellness exams just like any other dog. However, depending on your puppy's health, your vet may recommend more frequent wellness exams. Routine wellness exam costs for a puppy typically range from $178 to $242 per year,5 but the total cost depends on where you live and how much your vet charges.
Of course, there are times when your puppy might go to the vet besides their wellness exam. Non-emergency medical visits like diagnosing and treating minor issues like skin conditions, diarrhea, or ear infections will require physical examinations along with diagnosis and treatment. These visits are more expensive than routine wellness exams because your vet may have to run more tests and give you medications to treat your puppy's ailments.
Vaccinations are a crucial recurring cost for puppies because they will receive them every few weeks until they're about four months old. Vaccinations are most frequent during your puppy's first year of life, but you'll need to keep them updated throughout their lives. The breeder or shelter may have already started some vaccinations, so you should bring any medical documents to your initial vet appointment to ensure your vet knows what types of vaccinations your pet has received.
Vaccinations are important for puppies because they don't have strong immune systems, and the immunity they get from their mother's milk will eventually wear off. Therefore, vaccinations can prevent serious diseases that can be expensive to treat and prevent your dog from infecting other pets in the household or at the dog park.6
Required vaccinations include rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHPP). The average cost of vaccinations is between $75 and $100, depending on the type and your location.7 Additionally, optional vaccines like the Bordetella vaccine and Leptospirosis are cheaper and usually cost less than $30 per shot.
Spay & Neuter
Spaying and neutering your pets can protect them from serious health issues later in life while helping to reduce the number of pets in shelters.8 This is a one-time cost that your adoption fees may cover if you get your puppy from a shelter, but in most cases, you'll need to pay for it out of pocket. The cost of spaying a dog ranges between $200 and $500.5
Routine preventative medication, such as heartworm and flea and tick control, can prevent your dog from getting a potentially deadly illness. You can prevent fleas, ticks, mange, heartworm, and several other types of intestinal worms from infecting your dog with prevention medication. Heartworm medication costs around $15 per month, but the costs usually depend on the size of your dog and the brand you purchase.9 Meanwhile, flea and tick medication can cause upwards of $80 or more, depending on the brand. However, if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it can be a necessary expense for preventing them from contracting deadly diseases.
Unfortunately, all dogs, especially puppies, are prone to accidents. Puppies can run out of your home, get hit by a car, or get hurt during play. They're also curious creatures that may accidentally eat something they shouldn't. Emergencies can happen anytime, including holidays, weekends, and the middle of the night.
You should always budget for emergency medical costs because you can't predict when they'll happen or how much they'll cost. A visit to your local emergency vet clinic can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially on nights and weekends. However, the total cost of your pet's emergency visits will depend on tests conducted by the vet and treatments given to you once your pet has been diagnosed. Ultimately, the more serious your pet's emergency, the more it will cost.
The best way to prepare for these visits is to set aside money for them and invest in pet insurance. Since you can't predict these costs, pet insurance will keep you covered in an emergency. Dutch's Annual + Insurance plan will help cover emergency expenses and give you peace of mind knowing you can care for your pet if there's an accident.
How Much Is A Vet Visit For A Puppy?: FAQs
How do you budget for a puppy?
You can budget for a puppy by understanding the basic costs of pet ownership, such as food and treats, toys, equipment like leashes and collars, microchipping, and medications. However, every puppy is different. Some pet parents spend less than $100 per month on their puppies, while others spend hundreds of dollars every month, buying only the best food, toys, and treats.
Budgeting for a puppy can be difficult, but you can start researching to determine how much basic monthly expenses will be. For example, you can find the cost of kibble, toys, and treats by visiting your local pet store or browsing websites online.
When should I take my new puppy to the vet?
You should take your new puppy to the vet as soon as possible. The breeder or rescue where you got your puppy should have already taken them to the vet to get their vaccinations started and ensure their overall health. However, puppies will need continuous care during the first year of life, so you'll need to keep them up to date on vaccinations.
In addition, it's always a good idea to take your new puppy to the vet immediately for peace of mind. The pet rescue or breeder should provide you with medical documentation, but you won't know if the information is accurate until you have your puppy examined by your own vet.
How do puppies get parvo?
Parvo is a highly contagious disease that spreads from dog to dog easily via direct contact with an infected dog or object contaminated by feces. Parvo can be fatal for dogs who aren't treated immediately, so puppies should receive their parvo vaccine on a set schedule around the ages of 6 to 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of age.10
Unfortunately, your puppy is susceptible to parvo until they receive their final vaccination, so you should try to keep them away from unknown dogs. However, since this is the age where socialization should begin, you can introduce your puppy to vaccinated adult dogs you know well.
How much does a puppy vet visit cost? Unfortunately, budgeting for puppy vet visits can be difficult because every dog is different. Your puppy might be completely healthy, so you'll only need to worry about paying for their vaccines. Meanwhile, other puppies may need deworming medications or have health conditions requiring multiple vet visits in a short time.
The average cost of a vet visit for a dog varies, but you can prepare yourself for additional costs by learning everything there is to know about puppy and dog expenses. In addition, you can invest in pet insurance to reduce your costs. Besides pet insurance, you can use Dutch telemedicine for pets to understand your regular vet costs. Dutch is a subscription online vet service starting at just $15 per month with unlimited appointments and follow-ups to ensure your dog's health. Try Dutch today.
"Why Are Regular Veterinary Visits Important?" AAHA, https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/why-are-regular-veterinary-visits-important/.
Bukowski, John A., and Susan Aiello. "Puppy Care - Dog Owners." Merck Veterinary Manual, 13 Dec. 2022, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/routine-care-and-breeding-of-dogs/puppy-care.
"Luxating Patella in Dogs (Knee Dislocation)." PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/musculoskeletal/c_multi_patellar_luxation.
Bovsun, Mara. "What to Expect at Your Puppy's First Vet Visit." American Kennel Club, 5 Aug. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppys-first-vet-visit/.
- Ciochia, Ana-Ioana. "Pet Spending Statistics (2022): How Much Do Americans Spend on Pets?"
"Vaccinations." American Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/vaccinations.
"Dog Vaccinations: Required Vaccines, Costs & How to Save Money." Affordable Dental, Vision & Pet Insurance Online at Direct Benefits, https://directbenefits.com/articles/pet-insurance/dog-vaccinations-required-vaccines-costs-how-to-save-money.
"Spaying and Neutering." American Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/spaying-and-neutering.
"Dog Ownership Calculator ‐ Find out If You Can Afford a Dog." My Pet Child, https://www.mypetchild.com/tool/dog-calculator/.
Burke, Anna. "What Every Puppy Owner Needs to Know about Parvo in Puppies." American Kennel Club, 24 Aug. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/what-every-puppy-owner-needs-to-know-about-parvo-in-puppies/.