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What's the Average Vet Bill Cost for Medium-Size Dogs?


By Tim Falk

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

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Published: 10/7/2021

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, you might be wondering whether or not you can afford a furry family member. Not only are there upfront costs to think about, but you’ll also need to manage all the annual expenses required to keep your dog fed, sheltered, healthy, and happy.

One of the biggest costs you’ll need to contend with each year is vet care for your dog. Some vet bills will be unexpected, but other routine costs (like vaccinations, parasite prevention, and annual check-ups) are easier to predict.

As a general guide, the average cost of preventive vet care for a medium-sized dog is approximately $538 per year. (Source: Dr. Linda Simon, member of Wag!'s licensed veterinary team.)

Keep reading to find out what makes up this annual expense, why the size of your dog affects the cost of annual vet care, and how you can cut the cost of routine care for your dog.

What routine care does your dog need?

While dogs come in all shapes and sizes, there are some essential treatments every pooch needs to stay in tip-top shape. These include: 

  • Wellness exams. It’s recommended that you take your dog to the vet for a wellness exam at least once a year, but perhaps even more frequently for older dogs or those with particular health issues. This gives the vet a chance to assess your dog’s overall wellbeing and detect any developing health issues early. 

  • Vaccinations. Vaccinations for most dogs include protection against parvovirus, rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and leptospirosis. However, depending on factors such as where you live and your dog’s exposure risk, your vet may also recommend vaccinating against other illnesses — for example, Lyme disease.

  • Parasite prevention. It’s also an important responsibility for every pet parent to protect their pet against parasites. That means worms, fleas, ticks, and the potentially deadly heartworm. However, costs vary depending on the size of your dog and the method of prevention you use.

The cost of annual preventive care for medium dogs

How much will all of the above cost you for a medium dog? Let’s take a closer look.

Medium breeds (30–55 pounds) 

Annual vaccines: $120 (Estimated cost — please note that you’ll pay more for vaccines in a puppy’s first year.)

Heartworm prevention (yearly): $168

Flea and tick prevention: $190

Wormer: $60 

Total: $538 per year  

That’s right, if you’re the proud pet parent of a medium breed like a Border Collie or a Bulldog, you can expect to pay an average of over $530 a year on preventive veterinary costs.

That’s cheaper than if your pup was a large (55–85 pounds) or giant (85+ pounds) breed, which have annual vet bills of $632 and $705 respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, pet parents of small breeds (10–30 pounds) can expect an average annual cost of $430, while toy breeds (less than 10 pounds) are the cheapest of the lot at $342.

Why are annual veterinary costs higher for larger breeds? It all comes down to the simple fact that the larger the dog, the higher the dose of medication they require.

How to reduce the cost of preventive care

We all want our dogs to receive the best possible care all year round. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can save on the cost of these essential routine treatments for your fur-baby. Here are a few simple tips to minimize the impact on your bank balance of vet care for your medium dog. 

  • Compare clinics. The cost of preventive care can vary quite substantially between vet clinics. So if you’re on a tight budget or you just want to save money whenever possible, it’s worth shopping around to get a few price estimates first.

  • Package deals. Some clinics will offer discounts when you bundle a range of services together. So if you can combine a wellness exam, vaccines, and parasite prevention products into one transaction, there may be savings available.

  • Buy online. Stocking up on parasite prevention products for your dog? You might be surprised just how much you can save if you buy online. It’s easy to compare prices too, but just remember that you may need a prescription from your vet before you can buy certain products.

  • Take out pet insurance. Pet insurance is best known for the cover it provides for unexpected vet bills. But when you include a wellness plan add-on with your policy, or take out wellness cover as a standalone plan, you can also enjoy cover for the cost of preventive treatments like vaccinations, wellness exams, and parasite prevention. As the numbers above show, paying for routine pet care out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies offer wellness plans to help take the sting out of regular vet bills. Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet.

If you’re willing to shop around, the annual cost of routine veterinary care for a medium dog could end up being less than you think. But remember, while raising a dog may not always be cheap, it’s definitely worth every penny.

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