Having a dog is expensive! The cost of healthcare definitely adds up, and even more so when you’re living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
But living in New York doesn’t have to be a deal breaker when it comes to owning a healthy dog. There are lots of ways to ensure your wallet doesn’t suffer too badly.
We’ll show you how to get your pet the care they need without hurting your bank account. Here are the best ways to save on vet care in NYC.
Low-cost veterinary care in New York City
You can get quality vet care at an affordable price with just a bit of patience.
The Humane Society of New York animal clinic (306 E. 59th St) is open seven days a week. You’ll have to call, make an appointment, and pay in advance, but their care is top notch. They offer everything from wellness visits to advanced surgical procedures. Plus, they have the cheapest dentals in the city.
The Low Cost Vet Mobile is an affordable, full-service mobile veterinary clinic serving all five boroughs. They offer full examinations for only $25, plus a range of services, from chemotherapy to major surgery. They also have their own online pharmacy where medications are available for purchase at reduced cost. They’re currently working on opening a 24-hour animal hospital and adoption center.
The ASPCA Animal Hospital provides urgent care for animals whose owners’ annual household income totals $75,000 or less. They even offer financial assistance to certain cases. Call ahead to make an appointment.
Vaccination packages in NYC
Always ask a clinic if they offer packages, to see if costs are reduced if you’re getting multiple procedures at a time.
Vetco clinics, by Petco, offer vaccination packages for cats and dogs at reduced cost, as does VIP Pet Care, found in stores across the city, including The Bark Shoppe in Harlem, NY, and Tom’s Pet Supply, in Queens. Other locations include Ridgewood and parts of Brooklyn.
Spay/Neuter clinics in NYC
The ASPCA offers a spay and neuter mobile clinic that travels throughout New York City to spay and neuter pets. Their low-cost, high-quality service is definitely worth it for anyone looking to spay or neuter their pet!
The fee is only $5 for people on public assistance, or $125 for those that are not. Microchips are offered for an additional $20 per animal.
Pro tip: If you’re a low-income NYC resident, you can get everything for FREE in either Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island. All you have to do is print out and bring a voucher, a government issued photo ID showing a New York City address, and proof of benefits. Contact ASPCA for the updated voucher.
Be warned: only a certain number of animals (usually 20-25) are seen per day. Here are tips to make sure you’re one of them:
- Show up early and be prepared to wait. The mobile clinic arrives promptly at 7:00am, but we advise showing up between 5:00 – 6:00am to ensure you make it on the list.
- Double check the mobile clinic’s location on the website, and then call to confirm.
- Bring photo ID, proof of public assistance (if applicable), and cash to pay.
- Be prepared to leave your dog or cat until pick up at approximately 4PM.
- They will provide a e-collar and instructions on recovery and where to call if there’s an emergency.
CareCredit is a special credit card that can be used for veterinary financing. It can be used to cover procedures big or small, and is great for emergencies or unexpected situations that cost a lot of money. They have financing options for up to 60 months, with reduced APR and fixed monthly payments.
Don’t forget, this operates similar to conventional credit cards, so if you don’t pay your bill in full within a designated period, you could start to accrue significant interest. Be careful people!
Having pet insurance means you’ll never have to decide between your wallet and your pet. It’s a great resource to have in case of emergencies or large vet bills.
Pet insurance works differently than human health insurance. There are usually no co-pays or stipulations on which veterinarians you can see.
The way it generally works is that you pay your vet bill directly, then submit an itemized receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement. There are many available companies on the market, with different plans you can choose from. Plans can be paid either monthly or yearly.
I’m a fan of Embrace Pet Insurance. It’s the only US pet insurance that will cover your pet internationally.
Pet medicine can be expensive! If your pet needs medication, you can save money by buying generic alternatives instead of name brands.
Generics have the same active ingredients and safety standards at a fraction of the price. These affordable alternatives can save you lots of money, especially if your pet needs to take meds for an extended period of time.
Get a second opinion
This is great advice whether you’ve got two legs or four. Get a second opinion! If your vet is advising big procedures or surgeries, or if your dog is sick, it always helps to get a second opinion.
This won’t only help you choose what’s best for your dog, but it will give you a sense of pricing.
Also, I must remind New Yorkers of this: location, location, location. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, which means our vets are some of the most expensive in the world too.
Here’s a story: our upstairs neighbor had a rescue chihuahua who was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer. He had to go through treatment, and then get a leg amputated.
They sourced prices in New York City, and then from local vets in their hometown in New Jersey. Their Jersey vet charged 1/4 of the price for the amputation, so they packed a bag and headed home for a few days to get the procedure done there.
Do all New Yorkers have hometowns so close by? Certainly not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t speak to vets who are a car ride away. Long Island, New Jersey, and even Pennsylvania are all options.
Speak to people you know and trust, read reviews, do a bit of research. It might save you thousands, just as it did my neighbors.
What other vet tips do you have for fellow New Yorkers? Let us know in the comments.
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