Our family has a fair amount of pets. We have been diligent about making sure they get their annual checkups throughout their lives. But quite frankly, this becomes very expensive over time. I think I would have been smarter to take a minimalist approach, especially for the dogs when they were young. I think the minimum that they would need would be their annual rabies shots which are required by law, protection from heart worm, and protection from fleas and ticks. There are several options for low cost animal clinics in the area that I live. They provide an inexpensive option for keeping the rabies shots up to date. Of course, the other items I mentioned can be purchased from any pet store or online. Anything beyond these items should have been covered only as problems occurred.
We take a similar approach to ourselves. When we are younger, it is not necessary to get an annual physical. In fact many people have taken the approach of carrying catastrophic coverage instead of having Health Insurance. This makes a lot of sense because insurance should cover losses that you cannot or cannot easily absorb.
I should add that I do believe that as pet owners, we have taken on the responsibility for the animals that we have adopted. But I don’t want to be misunderstood in thinking that the health of our pets should be ignored. I’m only talking about keeping expenses down when there are no problems with the animals. We have had very good veterinary care over the years when our animals have had problems. In fact we’ve become friends with one of them and value the care she has taken of our dog Oscar, when he was alive.