Critter Culture
How Much Does a Visit to the Vet Cost for Dogs?

How Much Does a Visit to the Vet Cost for Dogs?

Critter Culture Staff



Dogs give their owners companionship, lots of encouragement to go out and exercise, and many laughs along the way. Because dogs improve our lives, it only makes sense that we should pay them back by looking after their health.

Surprise vet visits may seem expensive when there isn't time to prepare, but realistically, they're much cheaper than what most people pay at the doctor. So, on average, how much should you expect to pay at the vet?


Exam fees

Happy family taking their dog to the vet and it getting a treat from the receptionist andresr/ Getty Images

The exam fee for your dog is essentially the cost of a basic checkup and should be considered the benchmark for the most straightforward vet appointment. A basic vet exam will involve auditory and visual tests to check a dog's ability to hear and see, plus a general checkup to search for abnormalities in their tummy, heartbeat, and breathing.

Exam fees can sit between $50 and $100, covering your dog's most basic veterinary services.



Veterinarian taking blood sample in surgery, other medical person standing in background zoranm/ Getty Images

Getting a dog's bloodwork studied is extremely helpful as it provides valuable information about the function of a dog's organs. A dog's blood analysis can identify health issues, including parasites, diabetes, liver disease, and more.

The cheapest complete blood count can be as little as $100, while a more comprehensive test can cost approximately $200. In remote areas or for emergency testing, bloodwork expenses can reach up to $300.



Ill german shephers lying on medical table while vet commenting its x-ray image to owner shironosov/ Getty Images

Imaging can include x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs, and other image-scanning techniques that give a veterinarian a detailed picture of your dog's internal structures. Imaging can be excellent for locating specific ailments and problems inside a dog after symptoms or bloodwork indicate something is wrong. Different imaging techniques come with very different prices due to equipment costs, the amount of training required, and the amount of time the imaging takes.

X-rays can cost between $150 and $250, while ultrasounds can cost from $300 to $500. MRIs, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $1,500.


Spaying and neutering

11 month old cockapoo puppy sits on a couch on top of a blanket with a cone around his neck to prevent him from licking his stitches and recovering from his surgery michellegibson/ Getty Images

Owners who spay or neuter their dogs make an excellent choice for improving the quality of life for their pets and other animals. Spaying or neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies and reduces the stray dog population, along with diseases among those strays that can infect all dogs.

Neutering a male dog usually is cheaper than spaying a female because spaying is a little more complicated. Depending on location, prices can range from $50 to $250 for neutering and as much as $400 for spaying.


Allergy testing

young veterinarian bending over desk while examining sick brown dachshund in animal hospital SeventyFour/ Getty Images

Food, environmental factors, and medications can all play a part in a dog's health when they have allergies. Because allergy testing is a specialized request, owners may need to travel to find a veterinary practice that offers this service.

Basic allergy skin tests average approximately $200, involving exposure to potential allergens via the skin to check for reactions. Blood tests, also called RAST (Radioallergosorbent), can average between $200 and $300 but can cost as much as $1000 depending on the location and access to other testing clinics.


General surgery

Veterinarian touching cast on dog's leg, side view LWA/ Getty Images

A surgical procedure is one of the major veterinary costs for dog owners and usually only occurs when it's essential for preserving a dog's quality of life or solving health issues before they become uncontrollable.

Costs can vary between major and minor surgical procedures and may rise when the hospital includes scans, overnight stays, and medication.


Dental cleaning

Veterinarian doctor examines dog oral cavity in clinic. megaflopp/ Getty Images

Dental cleaning should be a part of every dog's vet routine as it helps maintain their physical and emotional health. Dental cleaning for dogs prevents painful infections and ensures that a dog can keep chewing without experiencing severe pain.

Like regular checkups, dogs need their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. The average cost sits between $50 and $300, depending on the dog's size and age and if anesthesia is required. Cleaning costs may rise over the $500 mark if your dog has periodontal disease.


Urgent care and wound treatment

A Veterinary Surgeon administering anaesthetic to a dog prior to surgery in a Veterinary Hospital urbancow/ Getty Images

Dogs live in the moment, which can have consequences. Sometimes they get into fights or injure themselves while running around. No matter how it happens, if an injury is severe enough, your dog will need immediate, urgent care and wound treatment.

Depending on the size of the wound, without infection or internal damage, wound treatment can cost between $75 to $250. If a dog needs emergency surgery, then prices can skyrocket.


Heartworm test and treatment

Young Caucasian nurse of vet clinics examining ears of labrador patient while bending over him in front of African-American surgeon SeventyFour/ Getty Images

Heartworms are dangerous parasites that travel through mosquito bites. If left untreated, an infected dog will eventually experience lung disease, organ damage, and even heart failure.

The average price for a heartworm test for dogs is approximately $50, and treatment costs sit between $600 and $1,200 depending on location and the dog's weight.



Close up of a vet having a check up on a dog Marko Geber/ Getty Images

Before puppies roam the beaches and streets, they need vaccines to protect them from diseases. While essential for puppies, all dogs will need continual shots each year, depending on their vet's specific vaccine plan.

For a dog's first year of life, expect to spend between $115 and $230 to give them the protection they need from Lyme disease, rabies, bordetella, canine influenza, and more.

After the dog's first year, owners can expect to pay $100 or less each year for their dog's shots, depending on the specific vaccination requirements of the area.


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