You are a pet parent who wants what is best for their pet. How do I know this? Because bad pet parents don’t read veterinary and pet health blog posts on the internet in their free time! You always want to do the right thing when it comes to your pet’s health.
However, sometimes caring for your pet can be extremely costly. You may find yourself wondering- do you need to buy the most expensive dog food on the shelf? Are all of those vaccinations really necessary? What will happen if you don’t follow your veterinarian’s recommendation on this one?
Unfortunately, I know as well as anybody that the demands of your bank account can put some limits on what you are able to do for your pet. However, there are ways to save a few dollars here and there- while still doing right by your fur baby.
Here are three tips to help you in your journey to become the best pet parent that you can be!
Most Expensive Does Not Always Equal “The Best.”
It seems like common sense to think that the more expensive dog food would be the best dog food on the market. Surprisingly, that is not the case! A recent trend in the pet food marketing industry puts emphasis on “pure” ingredients and catchy commercials over nutritional value. Big pet food companies have been pouring obscene amounts of money into advertising their boutique, grain-free, or exotic pet foods. We are now finding out that those ‘premium’ pet foods are actually causing harm to our pets!
The old adage that “you get what you pay for” does apply here a little bit as well. I don’t want you to feed dollar-store food, either. I recommend a compromise- you should feed a good quality, moderately priced food that you can get at a pet store or grocery store. My preferred brands are Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan/Purina One, but ask your veterinarian for a specific recommendation tailored to your pet’s individual needs.
Food isn’t the only facet of the pet care industry where overpriced services may not be the best- the same is true for grooming services, toys, and other products. My take away here is- do some research or ask your vet what will make a difference in the life and health of your pet, and spend your resources on the premium products that are truly premium.
Pet Insurance is a Really, Really Good Idea
“I wish they had insurance for pets..” I hear this daily when a well-meaning pet parent is faced with a vet bill that they weren’t prepared for. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine is extremely expensive. But there is great news- pet insurance is available and is now more popular than ever! Still, only a handful of clients (an estimated 2% or less) have purchased pet insurance. I highly recommend pet insurance. It can mean the difference between euthanizing a beloved family member or being able to afford the life-saving surgery or treatment that they need to continue living a happy, healthy life with you!
Because this type of insurance is still relatively new on the scene, there are a wide variety of coverage plans to choose from. Most plans reimburse you after a claim, but some can pay your veterinarian directly. Many plans do not cover congenital conditions that are most common in pure breeds of dogs and cats (think heart disease, hip dysplasia, etc), but some do! Before enrolling in an insurance plan, do your research. Your veterinarian may also have a recommendation on which plans are most popular and that they’ve had good experiences with. I have heard good things about Petplan, Trupanion, and Nationwide.
Preventative Care Can Save You THOUSANDS of Dollars Over The Life of Your Pet
Are all these vaccinations and preventative measures really necessary? The answer is almost always a resounding yes. One example of a preventative care service that is entirely necessary is heartworm prevention. It may be true that there is a chance that your dog may not get heartworms, even if they don’t take heartworm prevention a day in their life. But are you really willing to take that chance? Heartworm disease is fatal if untreated and can only be treated by a painful and dangerous series of injections over the course of 3 or more months. The average cost of heartworm treatment is $1500. Don’t worry, though- you can prevent heartworm disease by giving your dog a tablet orally once a month for $10-20 per dose. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, guys.
The same goes for vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and regular checkups with your veterinarian. Putting the time in here will prevent your pet from developing an illness that may be difficult to impossible to treat. I know- these routine things can be very expensive. But just think about how much money you are saving when your spayed, vaccinated female dog on heartworm prevention doesn’t get parvovirus, have an accidental pregnancy, develop breast cancer, or need treatment for heartworm disease and heart failure!
Now you know a few ways to save some money on your pet’s care and veterinary bills. I hope that you are able to implement these practices to help keep both your pet and your bank account smiling!