According to Consumer Reports, pet food and vet care costs have risen 4 percent since 2008. This means pet care expenses are increasing at a much faster rate than the rate of inflation.
The report, Tame your pet costs, published by the consumer group, recommends pet owners comparison shop for both veterinary care and pet medications/pest preventives.
"It's difficult for consumers to gauge what constitutes a fair price for any of the hundreds of services their pet might require. The best time to comparison shop is when your pet needs a routine checkup, not when you're stressed out by a sick or injured animal."
The report recommends pet owners prepare ahead of time by getting prices from three or four local veterinarians for routine exams and procedures as well as urgent and emergency care services.
When it comes to filling prescriptions, research shows two-thirds of pet owners get medications from their vets. According to available data, mark-ups on pet meds from veterinary clinics can exceed 1,000 percent.