I do this because I believe the quality of care is far better. Mo-Dog is not a pet – she’s a member of our family and I’ve gone to more than a few vets that treat her like an animal… The vet we currently take her to treats her like people!
But in the back of my frugal mind, I can’t help but wonder if I’m getting a little raked over the coals when it comes to paying for certain pet medications. Here’s a little background: We live at the crossroads of Mosquito Land and Tick Central, so it is imperative that our dog be protected against heartworm and Lyme’s disease. We also don’t want the cute little fur ball dragging any ticks into the house.
So each year, we take Mo-Dog to the vet to get tested for heartworm and Lyme’s disease. She gets the Lyme’s vaccine and then the vet sells us Frontline Plus and Iverhart Max to ward off fleas and ticks and prevent heartworm, respectively. Fortunately my dog only weighs 18 pounds, so she has the smallest doses of these meds. It still totals $120 for a six-month supply!
At this year’s visit, the vet told me that I could give Molly the Iverhart Max year-round (instead of just during prime mosquito season), and then she wouldn’t have to have the heartworm test for two years (instead of every year). They also said that the Iverhart Max has the bonus effect of acting as a de–wormer.
When I did the math, it is slightly cheaper to just have the dog get the test every year than to buy a year’s supply of Iverhart ($58 versus $53). But if you factor in the cost of gas and the inconvenience of dragging the dog to the vet, the whole thing is a wash.
I also was not happy with the $91 tab for Frontline Plus (to prevent fleas and ticks). The vet did give me an extra dose for free, but it’s still pricey.
The whole thing got me wondering if I couldn’t find an online resource with better prices.
Here’s what I found when I looked at some of the most common pet supply websites. (My findings are based on a 6-month supply for a dog weighing under 22 pounds):
1800PetMeds had Frontline Plus for $81.99 and free shipping. I could save $9.21. Iverhart Max was $21.99… a savings of $7.11. The 1800PetMeds website says it will price match its competitors and still give you free shipping on orders over $39. There’s also a coupon code (AM46) that I saw in the April 27 Smartsource, that could save an additional $5 on my order.
Doctors Foster & Smith is having a sale through May 12… only $68.99 and free shipping. This is a savings of $22.21!! Iverhart Max was also a good deal here… only $13.14 versus the $29.10 the vet charged me.
PetCo had Frontline Plus for $88.99… for a meager savings of $2.21. PetCo has free shipping on orders over $50. They did not carry Iverhart Max.
PetSmart doesn’t carry either of these medications.
PetCareRx had Frontline Plus for $77.99 for a savings of 13.21. Iverhart Max was $9.11 cheaper than my vet. PetCareRx apparently has a rewards program called Pet Points that offers you a $5 discount for every $100 you spend with them. The offer free shipping and $5 back on orders over $35 if you use the code GOOGLE CLICK at check-out.
Based on the above findings, Doctors Foster & Smith were the clear winners. If I had ordered my pet meds through them instead of through my vet, I would have saved more than $35! It would also be cheaper to buy a year’s supply of the Iverhart Max from here than to take Mo-Dog for the annual test! It just shows me that I should have done my homework before I took the dog to the vet!
I did discover one catch to the online ordering. The Iverhart Max is a prescription medication, so you have to get your vet to fill out some paperwork for you before you can order it online. The Frontline Plus can be ordered without a prescription. Many of the above websites’ deals are ending within the next week, so if you’re in the market for these products be sure to order soon.
I plan on calling my vet this week to see if they’ll price match. If they will, I’d rather give the local people my business. If not, I’ll still have time to do the paperwork and reap the savings before the online sales end.