Husky dog with a vet

Very few practices offer walk-in appointments.

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How do I find cheap vets near me?

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

If you want to save some money for your pet's appointments, do your research to find out about the practices near you. Just don't forget being a vet is an expensive business.

When researching which vet practice to register your pet with, the cost of veterinary fees may be on your list to consider. You can phone around practices to ask how much they charge for routine appointments, such as an annual booster and a health check-up.

Keep in mind that veterinary practices incur a lot of costs in order to run a high standard of service for you and your pet. They will have plenty of expensive diagnostic and surgical equipment to maintain, for example. Although veterinary treatment can sometimes seem costly, you will be receiving high-quality and valuable care.

How can I find out vet practice prices?

You can phone practices directly to ask how much their routine appointment fees are. If a vet recommends a treatment for your pet, you can ask for an estimate of how much this is likely to cost.

Do any vets do payment plans?

Some vet practices do offer payment plans, but be aware that they are under no obligation to do so. As such, it's something that you should ask the vet about be don't be surprised if it's not available from them. 

Can you pay monthly for vet bills?

This will depend on whether your practice offers payment plans, and whether these have a weekly or monthly schedule. Some practices also offer pet healthcare plans. This might involve a monthly payment that usually covers routine veterinary costs, such as annual health check, boosters, and flea and worm treatment.

Can you get free vet care if you're on benefits?

If you are receiving benefits, you may be able to access reduced-price veterinary care. Usually this will be through a charity-funded clinic, and these vary depending on your local area. Your nearest practice will be able to offer you advice on who to contact.

What if I can't afford to take my dog to the vet?

If you are unable to afford veterinary treatment but your pet is suffering or in pain, you must seek veterinary care. Failure to do so can be deemed neglect and may be cause for prosecution. Contact a practice near you and be clear about any financial constraints as well your health concerns about your dog. You may be eligible for charity-funded veterinary care, and the practice will be able to advise you what options are available.

Are animal hospitals cheaper than vets?

A veterinary hospital will usually be a referral centre. These only treat animals that are referred by a first opinion GP vet that require specialist care, diagnostics or surgery. This means that they will cost more than a GP vet practice.

Some veterinary practices have extra facilities and are therefore known as a veterinary hospital even though they also provide GP vet services. You can contact these practices to enquire about their fees for routine appointments. These are likely to cost more (rather than be cheaper) than practices that do not have these facilities.

How do I find a vet in the UK that is open now for walk-ins?

You can use the ‘Find a Vet’ feature on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) website and search by postcode to find one nearby. You can also use these search features to find out whether the practice treats dogs, cats and other pets, or whether they treat horses or farm animals. You should be able to find the practice opening hours on their website or by phoning to ask. However, very few practices offer walk-in appointments and you will have to book. In an emergency you should contact your usual practice to arrange to be seen as early as possible.

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