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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Why Prevention is More Cost Effective than Treatment When it Comes to Your Pet


Dogs and cats don’t understand the concept of money or a budget, but boy, do humans! We know you’ve probably scratched your head a few times after ordering your pet’s food or even cringed as you waited for your total after your pet’s annual vaccines or a dental cleaning.

No pet owners want to pay more to keep their pet healthy, but without adequate preventative medicine and care, this is often the case. If you’re on a budget, you may have wondered how much money those monthly medicines and your annual checkup really save you in the long run. 

While we could never put a price on the joy and happiness our pets bring us, we will let you in on a secret: preventing your pet from needing urgent, risky surgery, or long term care is a better choice.


Heartworm disease can be fatal for dogs even if detected in time for treatment. Fortunately, treatment is usually successful. But when compared to prevention, there’s no comparison which is better for your pet. Prevention can not only save your dog’s life but save them from the painful procedure to kill heartworms and save you from the costly bill that comes along with it.

Heartworm treatment: $400-$1,000+

Heartworm prevention: as low as $5-$15/month

Over the lifetime of the dog American Animal Hospital Association estimates that treatment will end up costing about $180.67 annually and $84.89 for prevention. And these numbers don’t even account for any other complication your dog may experience later on.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for cats if they become infected with heartworms.

Fleas and Ticks

While it may seem that a few flea bites are harmless, fleas can significantly hurt your cat or dog and lead to greater financial loss. Only 5% of fleas are on your pet, the other 94% are spread throughout your home as eggs which leads to a cycle of infestation for many pet parents.

When your pet takes an oral flea and tick preventative medicine, the medicine enters your pet’s bloodstream. When a flea or tick bites your pet, the pest consumes poison that results in their death and sterilization. 

This is important because the medicine kills ticks before they fill with blood. Untreated dogs and cats risk contracting of Lyme Disease if the tick feeds long enough to fill with blood and have some of the infected blood re-enter the pet’s blood. This also prevents flea infestations of your home. 

Using prescribed flea and tick medicine can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars by preventing necessary treatment for Lyme Disease, anemia, internal parasites, and related complications.

To rid your home of fleas, a flea exterminator will cost about $270. If you attempt to rid your home of fleas on your own, bombs can poison pets and take hours and additional products like flea baths.

Flea and tick prevention: $20 per month

Flea Treatment: extermination, shampoo, and comb = $310

Other areas that will save you money over the lifetime of your pet include regular dental care, annual checkups, and providing a healthy diet. Let’s not forget having your pet spayed or neutered (that turns your bill into a multiplication problem). Annual visits keep your pet in good shape and keep you from incurring the unexpected expense of progressed illness. 

While your pet’s love is priceless, we recommend you prevent additional spending by providing your pup, cat, or other pet with preventative care. 

Image Credit: chendongshan / iStock / Getty Images