I may or may not have a problem with puppies.
We live in St. Louis, and spend much of our time in the rural areas in southern Illinois and Missouri, where there happen to be an abundance of free puppies. Usually, The Big Guy is really, really good about not telling me when there are puppies up for adoption, especially the really cute ones, but I freely admit that since we’ve been married 3 of them have gone home with me because I just. Can’t. Help. Myself.
They’re a tiny little pile of wiggly butts and tales, and they’re so darn happy to see anyone who comes into their kennel! Who could say no to that?
Obviously, I have a puppy problem, but since we’ve been working to stay within a strict budget for most of our marriage, I’ve also gotten pretty good at reducing puppy costs. All puppy costs really, but the one trick I want to share with you today is all about saving money on puppy shots.
For our first dog, and just like most people do, we took our dog to the vet, paid $65 for the check-up and initial shots, and then washed, rinsed, and repeated every 3 weeks for the next 16 weeks……that totals $325 just for check-ups and puppy shot visits in the first 4 months of having a new wiggly little puppy – and that doesn’t even include the cost of spay/neuter, initial costs like leashes, collars, a kennel, bed, toys, food, etc.
But back to the puppy shots….
I’ve found a time-tested way to save up to 80% on the cost of puppy shots: DIY
Did you know that you can DIY your puppy shots? I don’t mean mixing them up yourself, and toying with your pup’s health, I mean purchasing them yourself
At A Farm Store
Yes, if you live in a big city (like I do in STL), you will probably have to find a farm store in your nearest rural area, but maybe not. We actually have one in Florissant, MO, a suburb of St. Louis that is about 10 minutes from our house.
At most farm stores, they sell puppy shots for anywhere form $7 – $12 per dose, given every 3 weeks. Our store even has a hand schedule of which shots are to be given when, and each shot comes with a needle and is refrigerated until it’s time to give it to your pup.
You can’t purchase these at a vet. The vet’s puppy shots are regulated by the FDA, which means that you have to be a doctor to purchase them, but farm stores have been doling out puppy shots for years, and we’ve successfully used them on 3 different dogs with no adverse effects – and saved ourselves a ton of money in the process!
Now, if you’re afraid of needles this could definitely be a problem – but who doesn’t have a friend that they can invite over for dinner and have them administer the shot for you? It’s super simple – seriously, anyone can do it, and takes less than a minute!
The Rabies Shot
Now, puppies get shots every 3 weeks from 6 weeks until 18 weeks, but around week 12 they will need to get their rabies vaccination, and be registered. This you unfortunately cannot do on your own – it needs to be done at a vet.
Really, this is a good thing, because at some point it is a really good ideas to have your puppy checked out, weighed, and of course, given a rabies shot, tag, and registered. Your vet will probably ask about where your puppy got their shots, so make sure to keep a record of what shots were given and when, so that they know you’re not being a negligent pet parent.
You vet will have seen pets before whose owners choose to give puppy shots themselves to save money, so don’t be nervous about doing this – it’s perfectly legal, healthy, and safe!
Are They Safe?
Whenever I tell people about how to save money on puppy shots, I always get the same question: “But are they safe/as effective as the shots you get at the vet?”
The quick answer is yes. We actually patronize a very high-end veterinarian in St. Louis, simply because they cash prices for pets without pet insurance are absurdly low, and this high-end vet actually congratulated us for being smart consumers when it came to puppy shots.
He told us that most people don’t realize that DIY puppy shots are just as effective and much less expensive than getting them at a vet – but that he certainly wasn’t going to start telling his customers that – and I really can’t blame him :-)
Puppy Shot Schedule
It’s super simple – see?
Here’s where the rubber meets the road:
5 visits at $65 each = $325
5 puppy shots at $10 each (average) = $50
Just by DIY-ing your puppy shots, you’re saving $275, or 85%!
Have you ever DIY-ed your puppy shots?
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