1. Pet Store Clinics
Many pet stores have vet clinics onsite. For example, many PetSmart locations have a Banfield Pet Hospital located right in the store.
The Good: These clinics are staffed by trained veterinarians, offer convenient hours, and — since you don't need a full vet appointment for routine vaccinations—may offer significant savings over a standard vet visit.
The Bad: Prices vary based on your pet's age, lifestyle, and weight, and you may have trouble finding out the cost ahead of time. Also, be wary of signing up for “pet care plans”—many consumer forums report it’s hard to cancel if you are unhappy with the service. Go with individually-priced services instead. Also, you may not be able to find a clinic nearby if you don't live in a heavily-populated area.
2. Luv My Pet
Luv My Pet is a nationwide company that provides discount packages on vaccinations for puppies as well as adult dogs. Luv My Pet holds vaccination clinics in a variety of settings, but they usually work through pet stores.
The Good: Luv My Pet offers significant discounts without any qualification requirements. In major cities, vaccination services are available almost every weekend.
The Bad: In smaller towns, clinics are held once or twice a month. That means their services might not be available when it’s convenient for you. You'll need to plan ahead if you need a time-sensitive vaccination.
3. Feed and Hardware Stores
If you live in (or within driving distance of) ranching or farming country, you can probably find a hardware or feed store that carries vaccinations for dogs and cats (as well as larger animals such as horses).
The Good: Feed stores and rural hardware stores offer highly affordable vaccines with no prescription or vet visit required.
The Bad: This is not an option for squeamish individuals, since you have to administer the shots yourself. If you go this route, make sure you read the instructions and know what you're doing.
Per federal law, you can't get rabies vaccines without a vet visit. Also, proceed with caution if you are going to need to board your pet — some boarding kennels won’t accept a receipt from feed store as proof-of-vaccination.
4. Vet Schools
Veterinary students need practice administering vaccines, so some vet schools offer them (as well as other vet services) at low cost. Some vet schools even have non-profit clinics devoted to providing services for the local community.
The Good: You can usually get your pet's vaccines at lower cost. Vet students work supervised by trained veterinarians.
The Bad: Vet schools tend to be located in or near major cities, which means they may not be available in all areas. If you want to use a non-profit vet-school clinic, you usually have to live in the same county or province as the vet school.
5. Humane Society Resource List
A final resource you might check out is the Humane Society’s resource list. Their site provides a list of resources for people having trouble paying for vet care.
The Good: This list has a large variety of resources. In addition to vaccinations, you can also find spay/neuter help as well as assistance for regular and emergency care.
The Bad: Because there are so many organizations listed, you may need to wade through a lot of information to find what you need. The organizations listed vary in their qualification requirements — some only accept pets belonging to elderly or disabled individuals, and some require potential clients to be on public assistance or be below a certain income.
Tip: To find vaccination help, scroll down to the State list, click your state, then press CNTL-F and type in “vaccination.”
This is a guest post by Melanie from Greeley, CO
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!