When a veterinarian submits a "prospective bill" before doing the work, look it over and see what you can cross out.
1. Are you being double billed? It happens. 2. Has the vet or vet tech tacked on procedures that you do not want, such as teeth cleaning? It happens. Teeth cleaning in dogs is almost never medically necessary. Dog teeth and human teeth are not the same for one simple reason: a dog is dead at age 15, not at age 80. 3. Has the vet tacked on a bunch of expensive pre-anesthesia tests? If your dog is not old, is in fine health (other than perhaps a wound), and has done well with anesthesia before, consider skipping it.
4. Is this vet trying to test for heartworm in a dog that is under 9 months of age? That's a scam or a mistake -- cross it out and consider changing vets. 5. Is the vet anxious to sell you Rimadyl for pain? Cross it out and say you'll give the dog buffered children's aspirin in the proper dose instead. 6. Is the vet trying to sell you year-round heartworm medication even though you have a real winter in your area? That's a scam -- cross it out.
7. Is you veterinarian pushing annual vaccinations and "boosters?" Forget it; all vaccines after the first year are good for the life of the dog. Your vet knows this, or should. A rabies vaccine is the only one that needs to be renewed (for legal reasons) and then only every three years, and you do not need to get it done at the vet. The cheapest rabies tag in your community can be gotten from the local animal shelter.
8. Has your new puppy been spayed or neutered? Ask to take it home that day. Some veterinarians are big on keeping pets overnight, but this is medically unnecessary and just another "tack on charge." In many cases, your dog will spend the night at the vets without an overnight attendant even being on duty. Why would you pay to leave your dog in a cage far from home with no one to even check up on it?
9. Ask the vet for a prescription for a generic and get the prescription filled at WalMart or Costco for a few dollars. You can do this with a large number of pet medications, including antibiotics, and you can even get antibiotics without a prescription. If WalMart or Costco don't have the drug you are looking for, and you will need it for the life of the dog or cat, see if it can be ordered mail order. And yes, you can ask for a double-dose and split the pill for your dog, same as is done for humans.
10. Are you kenneling your dog at the vets while on a short vacation? Just say NO to the "guilt" charges they will suggest adding -- nail trimming, baths, "vaccine boosters," and those "extra walks" that will either not be done or will be just a "once around" a 12-foot yard. A kennel is not a spa, and a short trip out of town is no reason for you to allow yourself to be gouged. Remember: the dog will be walked so the crate does not have to be cleaned and the dog washed (for free!).