Senior dachshund being examined by veterinarian

Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch

  • Prescriptions delivered free to you

  • Fast access to Licensed Vets over video

  • Unlimited video visits and follow-ups

How Much Is A Vet Visit?

Welcoming a new pet into the family is an unforgettable experience. From selecting the perfect toys and treats to furnishing your home with cozy beds and window perches, every moment is filled with joy and anticipation. However, amidst all the excitement, it's crucial to remember the financial responsibilities that come with being a pet parentincluding the cost of veterinary care. 

So, how much is a visit to the vet? Typically, a vet visit costs somewhere between $50 and $250, but this amount can vary significantly depending on factors like the nature of the visit, the urgency of the situation, your location, and more.1 

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at how these factors can affect the cost of veterinary care. Additionally, we'll discuss the vital role that regular vet visits play in maintaining your pet's overall health and well-being. Keep reading to learn more. 

A routine wellness exam for a dog or cat can cost anywhere between $50 and $250

The Importance of Regular Veterinary Care

No matter what stage of life your pet is in, regular veterinary care is essential to maintaining their health and well-being. By prioritizing routine visits to the vet, your pet can benefit from:

  • Preventive care: Regular vet visits can prevent health problems from arising in the first place. During these visits, your pet can receive vaccinations and booster shots to protect against preventable diseases, such as rabies, parvovirus, and distemper. Your veterinarian can also assess your pet's dental health and provide cleanings to reduce the risk of gum disease.
  • Early detection and treatment: Regular vet visits can also aid in the detection of potential health problems before they become more serious and costly. When a disease is detected early, the chances of a positive outcome are higher, and it can often be controlled with medication and minor lifestyle changes, rather than needing invasive procedures or surgery.
  • Management of chronic conditions: If your pet has a chronic condition like diabetes or arthritis, regular vet visits can help manage the condition and improve your pet's quality of life. During these visits, your vet can assess how your pet is doing and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan to ensure it is as effective as possible.
  • Nutrition and lifestyle guidance: Regular vet visits also provide an opportunity for you to address any questions or concerns you may have about your pet's health. Whether you're worried about your pet's weight or dealing with a pet that experiences anxiety, your vet can offer guidance and support. For instance, if your pet is overweight, your vet can help you determine the appropriate amount of food to feed them each day or even suggest a different type of food. If your pet suffers from anxiety, on the other hand, your vet can work with you to create coping strategies and, if necessary, prescribe medication to manage the condition.2

Overall, you can help your pet thrive and enjoy many happy years by your side by investing in routine veterinary care. By partnering with a skilled and compassionate vet early on, you can provide your pet with the best possible care and attention throughout their life.

What Influences The Cost of Vet Visits?

Now that we’ve covered the importance of regular vet visits, let's turn our attention back to the question of "how much is a vet visit?" 

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question, as the cost of a vet visit can vary depending on a range of factors. However, by breaking down these factors, we can provide you with a better understanding of how much a vet visit may cost for you.

  • Nature of the visit: The cost of your pet's vet visit is heavily influenced by the types of services they require. Are they going in for a routine checkup or a diagnostic test, such as a CT scan or biopsy? As a general rule of thumb, complex services that require specialized equipment or training will come with a higher cost. While a routine checkup is typically a few hundred dollars or less, a CT scan for pets can cost upwards of several thousand dollars.
  • Urgency of the visit: In addition to being emotionally taxing, emergency visits to the vet are often more expensive than routine checkups. Emergency visits tend to require extra resources in terms of attention, expertise, medication, and specialized equipment. In the event of an after-hours emergency, animal hospitals and clinics may even need to call in additional staff or pay overtime to accommodate the visit, which further adds to the cost. With that said, it's essential to prioritize your pet's health and seek prompt medical care  in emergency situations, even if it means incurring additional costs. Delaying treatment can lead to more serious health problems and ultimately result in more expensive and extensive treatments.
  • Geographical location: Geographical location is an important factor to consider when it comes to the cost of veterinary care as well. The cost of living in your area can impact the price of care, but so can the level of competition among veterinary practices. In areas with many practices, the price of vet visits tend to be lower. Conversely, in areas with only a few practices, prices may be much higher. It's worth researching and comparing prices between different hospitals and clinics in your area to ensure you're getting the best value for your pet's care.
  • Veterinarian’s credentials: Vets with more expertise, such as those who have extensive experience in the industry, have completed specialized training, or are board certified, may offer better care for your pet, but their services also tend to come at a steeper price. To find a vet who offers a balance of high-quality care and reasonable prices, it’s important to research and compare the prices, reviews, and credentials of different vets in your area. 
  • Time and date of appointment: In some cases, the time and date of your vet appointment may also impact its cost. Vet visits during regular business hours are always going to be the most affordable. Vet visits during holidays, on the other hand, may incur additional costs depending on the veterinary practice you choose. Additionally, if you schedule an appointment well in advance, you may receive a discounted price. If you schedule a last-minute appointment, however, the price may increase due to demand. Vet visits that have a longer duration, such as surgical procedures, are typically more expensive as well. 
  • Medication: Medication can add a significant amount to the overall cost of your vet visit, depending on the type, dosage, and duration required. Moreover, if your pet needs multiple medications, the cost can quickly add up. To help manage this cost, ask your vet to see if there are any generic versions of the medication they prescribed.

As you can see, the cost of a vet visit can be influenced by many factors, so it’s always a good idea to ask about pricing and payment options upfront. Not only can this help you budget, but if you have pet insurance, it can help you understand how to maximize your coverage. Regardless, your veterinary practice should always provide you with an itemized bill that clearly outlines all the costs associated with your pet's care. This can include the cost of your pet’s examination, diagnostic tests, medications, procedures, supplies, hospitalization, grooming, and any other relevant services. If you are confused about the price of your vet visit in any way, do not hesitate to ask. 

Cost of Typical Vet Visits 

Before exploring the cost in detail, let’s begin by examining what a typical vet visit involves. 

During a routine checkup, your vet will usually start out by taking a look at your pet’s medical history, which includes information such as their vaccination records, medical conditions, surgical history, and more. This helps them make informed decisions about your pet’s care and create a more personalized experience. 

Then, to get an even better understanding of your pet’s health and habits, your vet may ask you some questions. From your pet’s appetite and bathroom habits to their activity level and whether they’ve had any recent behavioral changes, these questions help your vet better identify any potential health issues. 

Finally, your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination, checking your pet’s vital signs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, fur, body condition and more. While this may just look like your vet feeling around on your pet’s body, they are in fact gleaning important information.  If your vet suspects an underlying health issue or needs to confirm a diagnosis, they may recommend diagnostic tests such as bloodwork, urinalysis, or imaging studies.

So, how much does a visit to the vet like this cost?

The cost of a vet visit generally falls within the range of $50 to $250, though this amount can vary significantly depending on your location.1 Compared to the Midwest, the cost of a vet visit in coastal cities can be significantly higher. For example, while a vet visit typically costs around $58 in Des Moines, Iowa, it can cost up to $94 in San Francisco, California and $75 in New York City.3

If you’ve ever wondered “how much is a vet visit for a cat” or “how much is a vet visit for a dog,” it may surprise you to learn that the cost is determined by the type of pet you have. Compared to cats, the cost of care for dogs can be much higher. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, while the average expenditure per year on vet visits is $253 for dogs, it is only $98 for cats.4 

Dog owners spend $253 per year on vet visit, while cat owners spend $98

Going to the vet can indeed be an expensive affair, particularly if you have multiple pets or an elderly pet that requires frequent care. In addition to the cost, trying to secure an appointment and waiting for long periods of time at the office can be extremely stressful for both you and your furry friend. 

Although annual checkups are important, you can maximize the value of your veterinary care budget by utilizing telemedicine for other questions or concerns you may have throughout the year. 

Online vet services like Dutch not only provide high-quality, affordable care but also allow you to get faster access to trusted vets and consult them from the comfort of your home. With vets available at your service even when your local vet is out of office, you can get peace of mind for your pet’s concerns, prescription medication delivered straight to your door,  and receive professional guidance on whether an in-person visit is necessary.

Cost of Emergency Vet Visits

The cost of an emergency vet visit can range from $800 to $1,500

Although the cost of a vet visit can be affected by a number of factors, such as the nature of the visit, your geographic location, and the vet's credentials, the most significant factor is often the urgency of the visit. So, how much is an emergency vet visit and how much is an emergency vet visit without insurance? 

First, let’s look at what qualifies as a veterinary emergency. Emergency vet visits are usually unscheduled appointments that are necessary to treat sudden and serious medical conditions in your pet. Some examples of situations that may require an emergency vet visit include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures
  • Suspected poisoning
  • Trauma from a car accident or fall
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Choking or difficulty swallowing

If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention. The sooner your pet receives care, the better their chances of recovery. In the event of an emergency, telemedicine cannot replace the need for in-person care. However, having pet insurance that covers accidents can provide an added layer of financial security and help your furry friend get the help they deserve. 

Emergency vet visits can burn a hole in your pocket, with an average cost ranging from $800 to $1,500, and even higher depending on the level of care your pet requires.5 To safeguard your pet’s health, increase their treatment options, and help you save money, pet insurance can be a wise investment in case of unforeseen events. Dutch’s insurance plan provides $10,000 a year for emergency vet visits until it is depleted. 

How Often Should My Pet See A Vet?

Annual wellness exams are essential for your pet’s health

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for every pet's overall health and well-being. Even if your cat or dog hates the vet, don't hesitate to schedule regular check-ups to ensure they receive the care they need.

While it's recommended to take your pet in for a wellness exam at least once a year, if your furry friend is aging or has a chronic health condition, it's essential to meet with a vet more frequently.

Incorporating veterinary telehealth into your pet's healthcare routine can ensure that they receive top-notch care year-round, even in between their regular annual exams. Dutch helps pet parents offset the cost of in-person vet visits by providing them with a convenient and affordable way to get their pet's health questions answered and conditions diagnosed. In addition to providing diagnosis and treatment, Dutch is an especially valuable resource for pet owners seeking a second opinion, behavioral consultations, and post-operative guidance.

With a Dutch membership plan, you can video chat with a licensed veterinarian from the comfort of your own home, receive unlimited care and follow-ups, and have your pet's prescriptions delivered straight to your door at no extra cost. You can access a wide range of pet health products through our online pharmacy, including allergy and anxiety medication, probiotic powders, and dental chews. 


Why is seeing a vet so expensive? 

The cost of veterinary care is influenced by several factors, including the high overhead costs associated with running a veterinary practice, the extensive education and specialized training required to become a veterinary professional, and the consistently rising prices of medications and supplies. However, in recent years, one of the most significant factors driving up the cost of veterinary care is inflation.

The United States is currently experiencing its worst bout of inflation in four decades, with veterinary care prices rising by 10 percent over the past year.6 The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in animals receiving medical treatment, but operational efficiency has decreased, and wages have had to be raised to retain staff in veterinary practices. Additionally, the cost of surgical supplies, medicines, and lab tests continues to rise.

What is the average number of vet visits per year, per pet?

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that there are over 76 million dogs and 58 million cats in the United States, and pet owners typically schedule an average of 2.4 veterinary visits per year for dogs and 1.3 veterinary visits per year for cats.4

How much should I budget for a puppy?

Budgeting for a new puppy can be challenging, as it involves accounting for not only the initial adoption costs and one-time expenses like spaying or neutering, but also the recurring costs of food, veterinary care, training and behavioral classes, grooming, and more. 

It's important to carefully consider all of these expenses when bringing a new pet into your home, as they will be an ongoing financial responsibility. By planning and budgeting accordingly, you can ensure that you are able to provide your furry friend with the care and attention they need to thrive. Save time and effort with our Pet Costs Calculator. Let us do all the heavy lifting for you. 

How can I save on vet costs?

There are several ways to save on vet costs while still providing the best possible care for your pet. One option is to consider purchasing pet insurance to help handle the cost of unexpected accidents or injuries.

Another way to save is by utilizing Dutch’s online vet care, which offers unlimited follow-ups to answer your pet's health questions. While Dutch doesn't eliminate the need for annual check-ups and emergency care, it can help you address issues that arise  in a timely manner and even provide access to prescription medicine online. 

Additionally, practicing preventive care measures like regular wellness exams and consistent use of flea medication can help identify and treat health issues before they become more severe and expensive to treat. By combining these strategies, you can save on vet costs without compromising your pet's health and well-being.

Cat sitting on pet parent’s laptop during an online vet consultation

Meet, Dutch, An Online Vet Platform Made By & For Pet Parents

The cost of a vet visit can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the nature of the visit, the urgency of the visit, your geographic location, and more. However, pet parents should always prioritize their pet's health and well-being by seeking appropriate veterinary care when needed, regardless of the cost. 

In addition to annual wellness exams at your local veterinary practice, supplementing your pet's healthcare routine with veterinary telemedicine can be a great idea. Telemedicine for pets provides pet parents with access to prompt, convenient, and cost-effective veterinary care. 

It can also offer pet parents access to veterinary expertise that may not be available in their area, potentially improving the health outcomes for pets. While it's important to note that telemedicine is not a substitute for in-person veterinary care, particularly in emergency situations or when a more thorough examination is required, its benefits far outweigh any potential drawbacks. 

Dutch's online vet service offers treatment for a wide variety of pet health issues, including anxiety, arthritis, skin problems, urinary health, and more. Our licensed veterinarians take the time to get to know your pet, diagnose their symptoms, and create a custom treatment plan to address their specific needs. 

Now, you can combine veterinary telehealth and pet insurance with our Annual + Insurance plan. This plan includes unlimited care for everyday issues, as well as $10,000 per year in emergency insurance coverage for those scary moments. Experience the difference of online vet care and see how Dutch compares to traditional vet clinics.



  1. Plotts, Edwin. "How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? Here's Everything You Need To Know." Pawlicy Advisor.

  2. "Why are Regular Veterinary Visits Important?"American Animal Hospital Association.

  3. Kowalski, Elizabeth. "How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost?" Market Watch.

  4. "U.S. pet ownership statistics." American Veterinary Medical Association.

  5. Agostini Ferrer, Andrea. "How Much is An Emergency Vet Visit?" 22 July, 2022.

  6. Rugaber, Christopher. "What spiking US veterinary prices reveal about inflation." AP News. 12 Oct, 2022.

Memberships to keep your pet healthier

billed $132 yearly
20% off of all memberships
billed monthly

All memberships include:

  • Fast access to licensed vets
  • Virtual care for up to 5 pets
  • Customized Rx treatment plans
  • Unlimited video calls & follow-ups
  • Guaranteed low prices on medication
  • Free shipping on every order

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $11/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.