The Smallest Pets Actually Have the Highest Vet Bills

Posted by Paige Cerulli

While it may appear that smaller pets are more affordable, a new survey reveals that they may actually drum up higher vet bills than larger pets.

Think that by getting a small pet, like a gerbil or hamster, you'll be saving yourself money? Not necessarily -- at least not if you factor in potential vet bills. According to a survey by Ask.Vet, owners of smaller animals repeatedly shelled out more money at the vet than owners of larger animals, like cats and dogs.

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The most expensive pet, in terms of vet bills: Gerbils. Mice came in as the second most expensive pet. Stunningly, 80% of gerbil owners reported spending over $500 per year at the vet. While rodents may only cost a few dollars to purchase, they tend to hide their illnesses until they're really sick, meaning they require more extensive -- and expensive -- treatment.

According to the survey, the 10 most expensive pets in terms of vet bills are as follows:

  1. Gerbils
  2. Mice
  3. Alpacas
  4. Goats
  5. Chinchillas
  6. Sheep
  7. Hedgehogs
  8. Guinea pigs
  9. Pot-bellied pigs
  10. Frogs

Lack of owner knowledge about how to properly care for these pets may also contribute to their significant vet bills. Whereas many people are familiar with how to care for cats and dogs, people tend to know less about how to care for more unusual pets, like alpacas and pot-bellied pigs.

In fact, getting an unusual pet as an impulse can land you in a tough spot. Alpacas, for instance, are susceptible to heat stroke, but many people in hotter climates unknowingly purchase these animals as pets. Goats are adorable, but they're also incredible escape artists, and they may eat just about anything when unsupervised. This can result in serious digestive issues.

If you're planning to get a new pet, make sure that you take the time to really research what is involved in properly caring for the pet. And remember, the cost of pet ownership goes beyond just basic care -- make sure that you can pay for what costly emergency vet bills may arise.

Have you ever faced a hefty vet bill? How did you cover it? Tell us in the comments below.

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The Smallest Pets Actually Have the Highest Vet Bills