Our dog Twila was very sick for the past few months. She has been on a myriad of medications for her pain and a kidney infection. Looking at our vet bill and the amount spent on prescriptions had me thinking about all the ways we try to save on dog medicine.
Have Your Dog Medicine Called Out
Vet mark ups on prescriptions are 100-160% plus the dispensing fee of $5 or so. The convenience is not worth the extra money you will spend buying your pet prescriptions at the vet. Instead, you can have your pet medications called into a local pharmacy like Costco, Walgreens, or Rite Aid.
Even more in line with the 21st century, try an online pharmacy. There are a number of online pharmacies specifically for pets like 1-800-Pet-Meds and Chewy Phramacy. Your vet just needs to call in the prescription and they will arrive at your door. Make sure the online pharmacy is verified by Vet-VIPPS.
Compare Prices on Dog Medicine
It literally pays to do your research and shop around for dog medicine. When shopping around, it helps to have the written prescription in hand. Ask the vet for a written script, this way you can get it filled at the most affordable location and do not have ask the vet to call it out.
Ask the Vet if there is a Human Equivalent
Many pet medications have an equivalent human version of the medication that can be much less expensive. This would certainly need to be called out to another pharmacy.
Ask the Vet for the Generic Brand Dog Medicine
Whether you are getting the pet medication in the ‘pet’ version or the ‘human’ version, ask about the generic brand. Better yet, have the generic brand written into the script to be filled elsewhere.
Ask the Vet for an On-Going Prescription at the Pharmacy
If your pet has a chronic condition that requires regular medication, ask the vet if they can call out a prescription with refills. Going into the vet and paying for an appointment every time you need pet meds is not ideal.
Most vets only require a yearly check up with bloodwork for chronic conditions. If you keep up on this and keep your vet informed, there should be no problem with filling the prescription without an appointment.
Sign Up for Prescription Cards
Sign up for prescription discount cards or free prescription cards at your local pharmacy. Do not forget to also sign up for the rewards programs at the store and use this card when you fill the prescription. Fred Meyers offers 50 fuel points for every prescription filled in pharmacy, which eventually leads to a nice discount on your gas.
Know the Difference between Prescription and Over the Counter Medications
Many vets have dog medicine and treatments sold in-house that can also be bought over the counter. Flea medication is a good example of this. This is not a prescription and can be bought at competitive prices outside of the vet. Another example is supplements for your pets like glucosamine. Ask if these in house supplements require a prescription and what brand would be best to buy online instead.
Try the Farm Store
As a caveat before doing this, you must ask your vet for specific dosages and information. That said, your local farm store sells vaccinations, de-wormer, flea treatments, and many other medications and treatments for pets. If money is especially tight, and you have a good relationship with your vet they will inform you of what you can buy at the farm store to care for your pet’s health. I do not believe in their vaccinations as I have seen them not work, but most other items there work just fine.
Caring for a pet that is unwell is expensive. This post is not about taking short cuts, but about making it affordable to give your pet the best care possible. For tips on saving money at the vet go here.