5 ways to save on pet medications

October 29, 2015

Pets with chronic conditions can need hundreds of dollars worth of prescription medication each year. Even general pet medication can be pricey, but you can use your veterinarian's prescription to look for a lower price elsewhere. Cutting these prescription costs can leave extra money in your budget for more treats and toys.

5 ways to save on pet medications

1. Ask for a prescription

Veterinarians often use their medication fees as a way to supplement their overall practice. For this reason, many pet clinics are reluctant to give you a prescription for your pet's medication. However, professional ethics dictate that your veterinarian must provide a prescription if requested.

Of course, sometimes your pet will need to immediately start a medication and you may not have time to fill the prescription yourself. In these cases, ask for a 14- day supply and a prescription for the balance of the medication.

2. Look for human drug equivalents

Many medications that treat animal illnesses were first developed for use in humans. Therefore, there are plenty of generic, human medications used to treat pets.

If the price of your pet's medication seems expensive, ask if there's an equivalent medication available for humans.

The veterinarian may be able to write you a prescription for the human equivalent that you can fill at your local pharmacy.

3. Price check at different pharmacies

Pharmacy prices vary widely, so it's worth doing some research before filling any prescription.

Start with a search of online pharmacies that offer pet medications. Once you've found the lowest price for the medication at a reputable website, call a few local pharmacies. If your local pharmacy's quoted price exceeds the online pharmacy's price, ask for a price match.

4. Don't overlook medical supply savings

The supplies necessary to administer certain drugs are often more expensive than the medication itself.

So if you need to administer insulin to your cat or IV medications to your dog, make sure that you're getting the best price possible for your syringes, needles, disinfectants and other supplies. In most cases, there's nothing that distinguishes between pet and human medical supplies.

Also, don't be afraid to buy in bulk to save on supplies. A case of 500 insulin syringes may seem excessive, but it's less than a year's supply for a cat with diabetes.

5. Consider pet insurance

For pets with a high risk of chronic medical conditions that must be controlled through medication, a pet insurance policy can offer significant savings.

Keep in mind that pet insurance policies are less expensive when the pet is young and healthy, so it's important to investigate these options before your pet enters middle age.

You can also look for discount prescription drug programs, which usually help you to save on animal, as well as human, medications.

Remember these five tips when you need to find prescription medication for your pet to help bring the medication's cost down.

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