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What's the Average Vet Bill Cost for Large Dogs?

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By Tim Falk

Published: 10/07/2021, edited: 10/07/2021

Save on pet insurance for your pet

You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.

Published: 10/7/2021

How much does it cost to raise a dog? This is a question every prospective pet parent asks at one point or another. And along with the upfront costs of buying or adopting a dog and preparing your home for their arrival, there are also a number of ongoing expenses to consider.

One essential cost you’ll need to cover is routine and preventive veterinary care — but did you know that annual vet care costs can vary depending on the size of your dog? As a general rule, the larger your dog is, the more you can expect to pay.

So if you’re the proud pet parent of a large-breed dog, you can expect to pay an average of $632 a year on preventive treatments. (Source: Dr. Linda Simon, member of Wag!'s licensed veterinary team.)

The figure is even higher for giant breeds, so let’s take a closer look at where your money goes and how you can save money on vet care for large dogs.


What routine care does your dog need?

Some vet bills you can’t predict, like when your pup eats something they shouldn’t or suffers an unexpected illness. If you want cover for those unexpected costs, you may want to consider taking out pet insurance.

But there are some other costs that every pet parent knows will come around regularly. We’re talking about those essential expenses that help keep your dog healthy, such as:

  • Parasite prevention. Fleas, worms, ticks, and heartworm can cause a variety of health issues for your pet, and those problems can range from mild discomfort right through to potentially life-threatening conditions. Of course, they can all be easily prevented with the right protective products. 

  • Vaccinations. Vaccinating your pet is a simple and effective way to protect them against a number of deadly diseases, including rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. Depending on your pet’s risk of exposure, your vet may also recommend vaccinating them against other illnesses, such as parainfluenza or Lyme disease. We estimate annual vaccine costs at $120 in the figures below, but please note that puppies require additional boosters (and therefore additional costs) in their first year.

  • Annual check-ups. Wellness exams, also known as annual check-ups, are an important part of ensuring that your dog stays in good health. During a wellness exam, the vet will give your dog a physical, confirm that they’re maintaining a healthy weight, and ensure that any developing health issues are detected early.


The cost of annual preventive care for large and giant dogs

So how much do all of these important preventive treatments set you back each year? Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown for large and giant breeds.

Large breeds (55–85 pounds)

Annual vaccines: $120 

Heartworm prevention (yearly): $204

Flea and tick prevention: $240

Wormer: $68

Total: $632 per year

Giant breeds (85+ pounds)

Annual vaccines: $120

Heartworm prevention (yearly): $216

Flea and tick prevention: $301

Wormer: $68

Total: $705 per year

In other words, if you’re the pet parent of a Labrador or a Collie, expect to pay $630+ each year on essential vet bills, while pet parents of giant breeds like the Bullmastiff and Newfoundland will pay in excess of $700 annually.

Compare that to the cost of annual routine care for medium, small, and toy breeds, and you’ll see that preventive treatments for bigger dog breeds cost significantly more. 

  • Medium breeds (30–55 pounds): $538 per year

  • Small breeds (10–30 pounds): $430 per year 

  • Toy breeds (less than 10 pounds): $342 per year 

Average annual routine veterinary costs for giant breeds are more than double those for toy breeds, but why the difference? Why is size so important? Essentially, larger dogs require larger doses of medication, which of course costs more. So while we know you love your big fur-baby and you wouldn't trade them for the world, the fact is that bigger dog breeds are more expensive to raise.


How to reduce your vet care costs

Want to save some money on the cost of routine pet care? There are a few simple steps you can take to keep more money in your pocket, without compromising on the level of care your pup receives. These include:

  • Shopping online. You can save money on parasite preventatives by shopping around online. It’s quick and easy to compare prices between online pet pharmacies, and you might be surprised at the discounts available compared to buying in-store. However, keep in mind that you may need a prescription from your veterinarian before you can buy some products. 

  • Choosing your clinic carefully. Prices for routine and preventive treatment won’t necessarily be the same at every vet clinic. If you’re willing to spend some time on the phone finding out average prices, or if you’d just like to try out a new vet, you might be able to find a significant discount. Discounts may also be available if you bundle multiple treatments/products together in one transaction. 

  • Taking out a wellness plan. Finally, you can also receive cover for the cost of routine veterinary care by taking out a wellness plan from a pet insurer. Available as a standalone policy or an extra-cost option for regular pet insurance, these plans offer cover for things like vaccinations, annual check-ups, parasite prevention, and more.

As the numbers above show, the cost of routine vet care can quickly add up. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from expected and unexpected vet costs.


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