How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost for Dogs?

Three Minutes
Jul 12, 2023

Adopting a new dog into your home is exciting. But the costs — like leashes, toys, crates, food, and veterinarian visits — can add up quickly.

That first vet visit is critical when bringing a new pet home, no matter how old they are. The cost of the first visit to the vet, which often includes a complete physical and vaccinations, can vary from about $340 – $510, depending on where you live, your dog’s age, and the services needed.1 If it’s not your first visit, the price can vary widely depending on the reason for your dog’s visit.

Without pet insurance, you’re expected to foot vet bills out of pocket. Read on to find out how much you could end up spending on vet visits and how pet insurance could save you money.

What To Expect at the Vet

If this isn’t your first pet, you’ve hopefully already found a veterinarian in your area who you like and trust with your family member. New pet parents may have to shop around first, so try asking your friends and family which practice they use and what services they provide.

Vet prices depend on where you live, the vet’s specialties, and the size of the practice. If you live in a small town or city, your options may be limited — but the good news is pet insurance doesn’t limit where you can go the way human medical insurance does.

Routine care costs

At your first visit, the veterinarian will conduct a wellness check. These types of visits will occur frequently throughout your pet’s life, in the same way humans receive annual physicals.

The costs of some of these wellness and routine care services can be:

Many parts of routine care — like routine wellness exams — can also be covered by pet insurance. Take Hal, a dog from Kentucky, for example. Hal needed a full blood panel that cost $275. A MetLife Pet Insurance policy helped reimburse Hal’s owners for the entirety of their dog’s blood work cost.3 Learn more about how pet insurance works.

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Pet Insurance Can Help

Preventive medicine costs

It’s important to stay on top of your pet’s preventive care, particularly when it comes to common problems like fleas and ticks. Flea, tick, and heartworm medication can be expensive, and costs can vary based on your dog’s weight and how many doses you purchase. But this still may be preferable to the cost of an infestation in your home or your dog becoming sick.

Here are some common annual costs associated with flea, tick, and heartworm prevention for dogs:

  • Flea and tick prevention medication cost: $55 – $2151
  • Heartworm prevention medication cost: $40 – $70 or more2
  • Heartworm test cost: $35 – $754

MetLife Pet has an optional wellness plan that can help cover parasite prevention costs. Jack, a dog from Illinois, went to the vet for his routine heartworm test that cost over $370. Luckily, Jack’s owners had our optional wellness plan as part of their coverage and were able to get the entire cost of the test reimbursed.3

Dog vaccinations costs

Adoption fees will likely cover the cost of vaccinations, so you may not have to pay for these during the first visit. However, the following vaccinations are required regularly by most counties in the U.S.:

  • Rabies vaccine cost: $22 – $30 (every 3 years)2
  • DAPP (distemper, adenovirus-1, parainfluenza, parvovirus) vaccine cost: $40 – $100

Other non-core vaccinations may also be recommended, so talk to your veterinarian about what your pup needs and the best vaccination schedule for them.

Chandler, a Pennsylvania dog, needed routine vaccinations at his yearly vet visit. The vet bill for his vaccinations cost over $630. However, his family had a MetLife Pet dog insurance policy that helped reimburse them over $570.3

Additional costs

You and your vet may decide there are other additional services your dog needs. The list is endless — and runs the gamut — but a few everyday miscellaneous costs can include services like:

It’s important to know that most pet insurance policies may not cover elective procedures unless your pet’s health is at risk. You can check out our coverage and exclusions page for more details.

Unexpected Vet Visit Costs

Whether you went to the vet for a simple check-up or a specific illness or injury, there are times when your dog may have to stay overnight for observation, recovery, or further testing. These overnight vet stays can be especially costly.

Depending on where the clinic is located, a dog’s overnight stay at the vet can cost around $80 – $300.5 Any testing, medications, or services needed will impact this cost and raise it into the thousands.

Does Pet Insurance Cover the Cost of Vet Visits?

The answer is it depends! A dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance could potentially offset many of these costs — like wellness exams and important vaccinations — while providing you with peace of mind. Get a free quote for your personalized rate and see if pet insurance is worth it for you.

We Can Help Cover Vet Bills While You Focus on Your Dog’s Care


Dr. Hunter Finn is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. America’s favorite veterinarian owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends.

** As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “The Cost of Dog Parenthood 2023,” Rover

2 “How Much Does A Vet Visit Cost? List Of Common Expenses,” CanineJournal

3 All claims paid amounts are based on MetLife internal claims data from October 2022. Story altered for illustrative purposes.

4 “How Much Does Heartworm Treatment Cost for Dogs,” PetMD

5 “What Is the Average Cost of an Overnight Vet Stay? 2023 Price Update,” PetKeen

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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