Dog Health

7 Surefire Ways to Find Low Cost Dog Vaccinations (And Sometimes Free Shots!)

Written by Richard Jeng

When you bring home that new puppy, you become responsible for the puppy’s well-being and health for the rest of its life. This means you provide the puppy with the basics of proper nutrition, housing and medical attention – such as the necessary first-year puppy vaccines and future dog vaccinations.

The problem is that these shots are required throughout a dog’s life for a chance at consistent healthy living. The cost of these shots can definitely add up to take a sizable chunk out of your wallet. Not everyone can afford to pay for these vaccinations. And, there can be a lot of shots your dog may need. 

If you are in this situation, not to worry. Here are some tips on how you can find low-cost vaccinations for dogs. In some cases, you may even be able to find free puppy shots using this guide.

1. Shop Vet Clinics for Better Prices

Getting low cost dog shots is as easy as shopping around clinics.

Not all private clinics and animal hospitals charge the same rate for dog shots. Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to shave some dollars off your vaccination cost is to simply call around. Use Yelp or Google search to look for vets around your local area. It literally takes a few minutes to call all the vets around you and ask for a quote.

Affluent neighborhoods tend to charge a higher price for dog shots, while lower class neighborhoods tend to be cheaper. This is not by any stretch a surprise, but should give you a good idea on which local neighborhoods to look into.

Don’t expect to save a significant amount, as most private clinics will be price competitive within a reasonable radius. Some states, like Colorado, require private clinics to be competitive in pricing with their local competitors. Nonetheless, you will be able to save some money.

2. Check the Animal Shelter

Getting low cost dog shots is as easy as shopping around clinics.

Sometimes, animal shelters will offer low cost or free vaccinations for your dog. It’s only a matter of getting their contact info and reaching out. How do you find these animal organizations?

  1. Yelp – A simple search for “animal shelter” will automatically pull up the organizations within your area. All it takes is to give them a call and ask.
  2. Google – A google search, such as: “animal shelters near me,” will automatically give you registered businesses near you.

3. Get Your Puppy Vaccines from a Veterinary School

Veterinary schools can be a great option in getting cheap puppy shots.

Did you know that most Vet schools allow you to come in for vaccinations? The downside is that they will be administered by vet students, however, there will always be a professor (licensed veterinarian) supervising the inoculations. Seems like a win-win situation: students get their practice and you get discounted vaccinations for your dog.

This is not a viable option for everyone, though. There are only less than 50 veterinary schools in the USA, so there may not be one close to your location. However, it doesn’t hurt to try. And if there is, then you may have just lucked out!

Check the AVMA website to see if there are any accredited Veterinary school of medicine near you.

4. Find a Charity to Sponsor

Charities will sometimes pay for your dog's vaccinations.

This may seem like a long shot, but it’s not as difficult as you think. There are tons of charities all over the country that offer pet financial aid to dog owners in need. The Humane Society has compiled a convenient list of these organizations that offer financial assistance for helping dogs all over the country.

Most of the time they will help subsidize the cost of your vaccinations, but in some cases they may even provide FREE vaccinations. It varies case by case. Some organizations are state-specific, while others cover the whole country. Make sure you check before reaching out to them.

Click here to visit the Humane Society resource page.

5. Negotiate with Your Vet

Negotiate with your local vet will often leader to cheaper vaccination prices.

This may not seem like something most people are willing to do, but it can be effective. Veterinarians are people too, and they most likely became vets because they actually care about animals. If you are honestly having trouble paying for your puppy’s vaccinations, you can should be honest with your vet. There is a chance they will lower the vaccination cost.

If you plan to do this, do not go to an animal hospital. Try a local private clinic instead, where the head veterinarian is usually the owner. They have more leeway in negotiating because they set their own prices.

6. Administer the Vaccine Yourself

You can save some money if you administer the dog vaccines yourself.

There are ways to buy the necessary vaccines for your dog and administer the shots at home. By doing so, you save some money on the labor of the veterinarian, which can be a lot in some cases. This is not a recommended option for everyone.

Only those with experience administering shots should consider this option. In other words, if you are a nurse, vet technician, doctor, researcher or another profession with the required experience.

If you are interested in this option, you can purchase the vaccines from supply stores such as Tractor Supply Co. Always consult with your veterinarian before administering the vaccines yourself.

7. Look for Animal Organizations in Your Local Area

You can get FREE dog vaccinations from animal welfare organizations.

These organizations include animal welfare organizations and rescue groups. Most of the time they will offer discounted vaccines. I have heard of some people getting free dog vaccines from these local groups, but it really depends on the organization.

To find these organizations, use PetFinder’s search tool to find nearby animal organizations. Reach out to them with your situation and they will surely respond.

Further reading:

About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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