According to a 2009 survey by the American Pet Products Association, U.S. pet owner’s spent an estimated $45 billion a year on their animals. So how can you keep your costs down despite an estimated increase in spending this year?
Preventing Expenses is Key to Keeping Costs Down
Keep up with preventative care. Treating illnesses and diseases once they take hold are more expensive then preventing them in the first place. Wellness Programs are more popular in vets offices in the last couple years. They can help you save money on routine vet visits, pet supplies and even additional services.
Don’t be afraid to ask your vet if they offer discount programs. They may not have a formal wellness program but they may consider a multiple pet deal.
Keep pets contained in your yard or on a leash when away from home. Pets under control are less likely to find trouble and get injured. Spend the time to teach your dog basic obedience commands – sit, stay, come and lie down. You will quickly see the value of these command tools when your pet is heading to cross a busy street and potentially get hit!
If your dog needs regular grooming, your groomer can help with this but if they don’t, make it a habit to look your pet over once a day. Cuts and scrapes can easily get infected and turn into a costly vet visit. Missed ticks can also lead to disease, pain and expensive treatments.
Some medications used on pets are part of the $4 prescription programs. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet to have your script filled at your pharmacy instead of paying full price in their clinic. Online pet sources for flea, tick and heartworm medications can offer additional savings. You can also give your vet the option of price matching as some of these products will require your vets prescription authorization.
Feeding your pet quality food whether it is a top quality kibble or a raw diet will support their immune system and keep them healthy. Equally important is finding the right amount to feed your pet to avoid overfeeding. Not only obesity unhealthy (for us too!), it can also be costly if it leads to diabetes. Plus, you are throwing money away in the excess food you are feeding.
If you are uncertain if your pet is a healthy weight, ask your vet. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to feel their ribs without having to “dig” for them but they should not be protruding.
There are several pet insurance options available. First check to see if your vet accepts any of them before choosing one. These programs are designed to help offset the costs of unexpected expensive surgeries. Now you have to weigh out whether they are right for you but I have spoken to several people who said it really saved their wallets when their dogs were injured. Some programs even offer canine chiropractic care coverage!