According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), approximately 44% of all US households have a dog; 34% are purchased from breeders, while 23% are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society.
Medical care for pets is fast becoming as expensive as human medical care. With current economic conditions, the vet is one of the many places loving pet owners are looking to save. Here are five ways to keep your vet bills down without sacrificing the quality of care your pet receives.
1. Stay on top of preventive care. A monthly dose of heartworm, flea and tick prevention costs less than $10, whereas any of the illnesses your dog could contract from these parasites will cost at minimum a visit to the vet, and potentially hundreds of dollars.
2. Shop around. Veterinarians charge a wide range of prices depending on where you live and whether they specialize in a certain type of medicine. For example, if your dog needs a simple eye procedure, your regular vet may be able to do the surgery, saving you the cost of a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
3. Watch what your dog eats. Certain foods can be toxic to pets, including grapes, walnuts and chocolate. And, fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which is expensive to treat and can be fatal. Stick to feeding your pets food that was designed for them, or ask your vet which lean meats and vegetables he recommends as treats.
4. Exercise. Regular exercise – good for you and your dog – will help to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Many of the health problems that affect dogs (diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis) are caused from being overweight or even obese. Make sure your pet gets plenty of daily exercise.
5. Work on dental care at home. It is not easy to brush your dog’s teeth, but it is far less painful for you and your pet than extractions and other dental issues that affect not only your pet’s oral health, but also his overall well-being. If you cannot brush your pet’s teeth, look for special dental chews and treats to help keep them clean.
- Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives, by Ernest Ward, D.V.M.
- Vet Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to Protecting Your Pet’s Health, by Louise Murray D.V.M.
- Pet First Aid Tips for Pet Owners – American Veterinary Medical: www.avma.org