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Save on Dog Medication with 4 Money Saving Tips

Many people like to say that having a dog is priceless. But the reality is that dogs are expensive.  In addition to high quality dog food, training and gear there are also medications your dog may need throughout their life. Would you like to learn how to save on dog medication? Just think of all the fun dog-friendly advneutres you could take with the money you save!

Over the lifetime of your dog, you might save thousands of dollars using my tips. Managing my own dog’s epilepsy for the past 2 years, I’ve learned how to save hundreds of dollars each month on his anti-seizure medications. The tips and ticks I’ve learned over the years are also incredibly easy, so there’s no reason your pet meds should break the bank!

Dog Mom Tips to Save Money on Your Dog’s Medication

I’ve discovered several easy ways to save on dog medication. In this post, I explain my dog mom tips so you can save money on your own dog’s medications. I’ll explain the following:

  • Save Money By Taking your Dog’s Prescription to a Regular Pharmacy
  • Ask Your Vet or Pharmacist if There’s a Better Price
  • Use Good RX to Find Coupons for Pet Medications
  • For Longterm Pet Medications, Fill in Bulk

Dog Medication at regular pharmacy

How a Rescue Dog with Epilepsy Taught me to Save on Pet Meds

I was never overly concerned about saving money on my dog medications until I adopted Burt. Prior to Burt, my dogs took the standard flea, tick and heartworm preventative and the occasional antibiotic. I considered those to be pretty basic requirements of having a dog and never thought about the cost.

But then came Burt and his many bottles of anti-seizure medication. I knew Burt had special needs, the shelter was very upfront about that on his profile. But it wasn’t until I was approved to adopt him, we passed the meet and greet with Lucy and I was walking out the door with my new dog that I realized how many bottles of pills he came with!

The wonderfully helpful and kind shelter staff instructed me, “He takes 4 of the red ones twice a day. And 1 and a half of the white ones twice a day.”

If you’re doing the math in your head, Burt was taking 11 pills a day!

A Rescue Dog Love Story

Burt had been a long-term resident at Action for Animals (he was there for over a year!). And since he was the only dog there who needed anti-seizure medication, they generously gave me his remaining stash of pills.

When I ran out of that supply a month later and went to get refills I realized just how expensive my dog’s medications were!

Burt was taking 2 different medications to control his seizures. Zonisamide (aka the red ones) and Phenobarbital (the white ones).

The list price for Burt’s Zonisamide was as much as $553 per month!

His Phenobarbital was as much as $98 per month!

Obviously, it’s not possible to pay $651 a month, every month for my dog’s medications! So what did I do? I got curious and creative! Two years later, I’ve found four ways to save money on my dog’s medications. In this blog post I’ll tell you all about my money saving tricks and the secret to how I got Burt’s medication bill from $651 down to about $60 per month!

>> These are the methods I’ve used and work for me. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear about them! Please share your advice in the comments at the end of this post.

Save Money By Taking your Dog’s Prescription to a Regular Pharmacy

One of the easiest ways to save money on your pet’s medications is to ask your veterinarian to write out the prescription for you, then take it to your pharmacy of choice. A lot of people assume you need to get all of your pet’s meds from the veterinarian’s office. But you pay for the convenience and the vet has the right to charge you whatever they want which may include service fees for filling the script.

If it’s a one-time prescription for an antibiotic like Clavamox, I usually just get it from the vet. But for a recurring prescription like Phenobarbital, Gabapentin or Tramadol, I will go to the extra trouble of filling the script at another pharmacy.

You can get many of your pet’s medications at Costco, Walmart, CVS, RiteAid and many online pharmacies. Filling your pet’s prescriptions at a regular pharmacy will save you a lot of money!

Dog Medication at regular pharmacy

Ask Your Vet or Pharmacist if There’s a Better Price

In the United States, we don’t usually negotiate in stores or at appointments. But you need to get over that when it comes to your pet’s meds! When a vet prescribes a medication or course of action  for my pet, I always ask them what it will cost. They often have to leave the room to go look it up.

I think it’s important to do this because it makes your vet aware that you’re an informed customer. If you can’t afford treatment, it’s not sustainable and may not be the best choice for your pet. There’s no shame in asking your vet if there’s a more affordable, yet equally effective, option. 

In many cases, there is an equivalent generic version of your dog’s prescription medications.

In addition to asking questions at my vet’s office, I’ve also asked my pharmacist if there was anything they could do to help me out with the cost of my dog’s epilepsy medications. When I first started filling Burt’s prescriptions, I was shocked by how expensive they were!

Your pharmacist may be able to offer options for lower prices on your prescriptions when you’re paying in cash (which is most often the case with pet meds). In fact, a bill passed in 2018, known as the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, that gives pharmacists the right to offer customers the lowest price available.

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Use Good RX to Find Coupons for Dog Medications

My favorite dog mom hack to save money on your pet’s medication is to use the GoodRX website or app to search for coupons and find the best price in your area. When I talked about this for my interview with The Wall Street Journal, the journalist was so shocked that you could use GoodRX for pet meds!

Many pet medications like antibiotics, anti-seizure pills and antidepressants overlap with the human equivalent. All anti-seizure meds for dogs (as far as I know) are the same as the human version. That means you can search on GoodRX for Gabapentin, Phenobarbital or Zonisamide.

Take a look at how much I was able to save on my dog Burt’s Phenobarbital and Zonisamide prescriptions using GoodRX. When you search, be sure to input the correct dosage and pill quantity. You might be surprised to find that a pharmacy across the street from where you’ve been going offers your pet’s medications for less than half the price!

dog epilepsy medications

GoodRX for pet meds

If your pet is on the same medication for years, I would recommend doing a new search on GoodRX at least once a year. I recently switched Burt’s meds to a different pharmacy where I was able to save $30 per month. According to GoodRX, coupon prices can change over time.

For Longterm Dog Medications, Fill in Bulk

Recently, I filled Burt’s prescription for Phenobarbital for a 2 month supply rather than a 1 month supply. Since he takes 3 pills per day, I was able to get a 2 month supply using my GoodRX coupons for about $30 per month. If I’d only filled the script for 1 month, it would cost about $35 per month.

While that doesn’t seem like a huge savings, it adds up to $60 per year! In my household, $60 would buy whole extra bag of dog food. I think every little bit counts when it comes to saving money on our pet’s expenses.

Speaking of dog food, I also have a great blog post with tips to save money on premium dog food.

Save Money on Dog Medication

Will Pet Insurance Cover my Dog’s Medication?

While I don’t currently have insurance for my dogs, Lucy and Burt, it might be a good option for you. In all of my research, it seems pet insurance plans do not cover dogs with neurological disorders such as epilepsy. That’s the main reason why it’s not a good fit for us.

If your dog does quality for coverage, I’ve heard great things about pet insurance plans from Nationwide and Embrace. They should cover most medically required prescriptions and medications.

But if you’re like us and your pet does not quality, I recommend checking out Wagmo. It’s a wellness plan I have for both Burt and Lucy. They will accept you no matter your dog’s pre-existing conditions or neurological disorders! Our Wagmo plan reimburses me for all of the dog’s heartworm and flea/tick preventatives. However, they do not cover any other prescriptions.

>> I interviewed the Christie Horvath, the founder of Wagmo, on episode #32 of my podcast. Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • How pet insurance saved Christie thousands of dollars
  • Tori opens up about Burt’s epilepsy
  • What is the difference between Wagmo and pet insurance plans
  • Where to find lower vaccine costs for your pets

Click here to listen to my interview with the founder of Wagmo!

Take the BEST Photo of Your Dog

Great photos last a lifetime and remind you of every sweet moment with your pup! My free e-book teaches you how to take professional style photos using just your phone.


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Did you enjoy this post? Check out these links:
5 Dog Mom Hacks to Save Money on Premium Dog Food
I shared dog finance advice with The Wall Street Journal!
Choosing The Best Food for My Dog
Podcast: Using Food Therapy To Help Your Dog Live a Healthier Life

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4 Comments

  1. Nita

    I’d like to add a hack to your great list, Burt (and Lucy too!) probably qualify for accidental pet insurance (just not illness). Accidental coverage covers things like ingesting a foreign object, being hit by a car, snake bite, car accident, dog bite…a lot of people don’t realize you can carve out that piece. I have an accident + wellness plan for my 12 year old lab for $37 a month.

    Reply
    • Tori

      Thank you for adding this! I didn’t know about accidental coverage, that’s such a great tip!

      Reply
  2. TB Thompson

    Good advice, Tori! I’m a vet and want to share another tip… Ask your vet if they will price match an online pharmacy that often sells products for less. Many clinics do and it only takes a second to look up your dog’s medication. Then you have the convenience of picking it up from your vet, support your vet and get a great deal on products!

    Reply
    • Tori

      Excellent tip! Thank you for sharing and helping more people afford to treat their dogs the best they can!

      Reply

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