When it comes to saving money on your pet’s vet care, finding ways to get their medication cheaper can be a big savings. Especially when they have to be on a medication long term.
The cost can be a real budget buster.
I’ve been there.
There are a variety of reasons that can affect medication costs.
Some of those reasons include:
- The type of pet you have– Medication for dogs and cats is readily available, but when you get to other species there aren’t usually meds made just for them. This means you usually have to have it compounded by a special pharmacy. And medications that might be commonly given for a certain condition in some species could be dangerous in other species.
- The size of your pet– For many medications, the bigger the pet, the bigger the dose of medication needed. That can mean a higher strength of medication or that more medication needs to be given to make sure they are on the right therapeutic dose for their health condition.
- Other health conditions– Having multiple health issues may limit the medication options a pet has. For example, some heart medications can affect the kidneys so some of the more common(cheaper) medications won’t be the best choice for your pet leaving more expensive meds.
Knowing your pet needs to be on medication and knowing it will strain your budget is a huge stress.
But we would do anything for our critters so making sure they get their meds is a priority.
Luckily there are some ways you can bring the cost of your pet’s medication down.
I will say if my vet prescribes one time meds like antibiotics, I just get them right from their office. I like the convenience.
But when it comes to chronic health conditions that needs to have daily medication, I looked for ways to save. After all, when your pet has to be on medication long term, those savings add up!
Top tips for Saving Money on Pet Medication
Take a look at the following tips for making your pet’s meds more affordable.
Important Note: Never use your own medication or another pet’s medication for your pet. And don’t make any changes in how you give medication(ex. cutting pills, opening capsules) without talking to your vet.
Ask if Generic Medication is an option for Your Pet
Generic drugs have to have the same active ingredients and pass quality standards in order to be sold.
But not all drugs have generic versions, especially newer drugs on the market. The reason is the brand drug’s patent has to expire and that can take 20 years!
But it never hurts to ask, especially to save some money.
Price Shop to Find the Best Price on Your Pet’s Medication
We check around on prices when we want to make a purchase in other areas of our lives, why not do the same for pet medication?
Many vets will provide a prescription so you can get your pet’s medication elsewhere. So call your local neighborhood pharmacies and big box pharmacies and also check online pet and people pharmacies to find the best price.
Ask About a Different Size or Form of Your Pet’s Medication
When a vet prescribes medication the dosage depends on a pet’s weight and they usually use a certain size pill for that dosage. For some medications your vet may be able to make some changes in the prescription that will save a little money.
Ask if a different size pill could be prescribed that can be divided for your pet’s dosage(Important. Don’t make any changes to your pet’s medication without talking to your vet.)
My dog, Mellie. had congestive heart failure and was on about 5 different medications. With one of her more expensive medications, my vet prescribed a larger tablet and she got half a tablet which was the same milligrams as the 1 tablet she needed for her size.
You can also ask if there is a different form that might be cheaper such as getting a pill instead of liquid medication.
Price Match Your Pet’s Medication
We’ve heard about price matching at stores, but did you know some vets will let you match with another pharmacy’s price? If you find a better price somewhere else ask your vet if they will. One thing to keep in mind, they most likely will include any shipping in the price they match with.
Check for Discount Programs to use for Your Pet’s Medication
You’ve probably seen some of these discount programs around. Did you know that they often can be used with pet prescriptions?
Take a look at these discount programs that include pet medication.
- Walmart has a $4 and $10 medication list. I was able to find 2 of Mellie’s heart meds on the list.
- Walgreen’s has a Prescription Savings Club you can join for an annual fee.
- If your county is a member of the National Association of Counties , you can get a no-cost prescription discount card that can be used to get a discount on your pet’s medication. Go see if your county participates!
- Contact your local 211 or search their website to see if there are other prescription programs available in your area. 211 is a national network that provides those in need with contact information for programs and agencies to help them.
Use a Prescription Coupon program for Your Pet’s Medication
One of Mellie’s medications was pretty pricey. Even the pharmacy technician was a little shocked so she told me about GoodRx.
GoodRx tracks prices at pharmacies and offers coupons. They have a mobile app that makes it easy to do.
You can use GoodRx when your pet is prescribed a human medication and they also have GoodRx for Pets for medications that are pet specific.
One thing to keep in mind is that some of the coupons can’t be used when the medication is for pets. This ended up being the case for Mellie’s medicine. I didn’t get any savings, but I did learn about a great way to save for future use.
Buy a Larger Quantity of Your Pet’s Medication
When your pet has to be on medication long term, it can save to buy more than a month at a time. There is often a processing fee that is included in the cost each time you get a refill so you’d be paying that 1 time instead of 3, 4 or more times.
Some pharmacies also offer a discount when you order a larger quantity of pills.
You can also ask your vet if you can get a large quantity of medication from them. My dog, Malarky, was on daily thyroid medication. I would get a whole bottle from them that would last about 9 months.
Sign up to have Your Pet’s Medication Autoshipped
If you use an online pharmacy, see if they have an autoship option where you don’t have to call each time you need a refill. Instead the prescription is automatically shipped when it’s time for your refill.
Not only is this convenient but you often get a discount when you have your pet’s medication autoshipped.
Ask if There is a Cheaper Medication Option for Your Pet
There may be several medication options that can be prescribed for a health condition. Talk to your vet to see if there is a cheaper medication that can give be used for your pet.
Have Pet Insurance for Your Pet
Many pet insurances include medication coverage when it’s prescribed for a condition they cover. The biggest thing is that you need to have the pet insurance before your pet has the condition.
Don’t be Afraid to Talk to Your Vet
It’s not easy to talk about our money issues with other people, but talk to your vet and let them know you are having some difficulties. They may be able to offer some other solutions beyond what the ones I shared.