In today’s economy, we are all looking for ways to reduce costs in every aspect of our lives. Although reports say that consumer spending on pets has remained steady, many pet owners understandably look for ways to reduce costs of veterinary care. Family budgets are stretched to the max, and too often Fido and Fluffy get bumped down on the list of financial priorities. We would like to provide some tips from a veterinarian’s perspective to help pet owners reduce costs of veterinary care.
Tip #1: Stay on Top of Preventive Care
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so true when it comes to preventive veterinary care. Annual physical examinations are imperative to detect problems early, and early detection often means less money spent on critical care or emergency clinic fees. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for vaccinating your pet. Spending a few dollars on vaccinations may prevent spending thousands of dollars to treat a preventable illness, or worse, losing the pet to a fatal virus. Heartworm and flea and tick preventatives are also a must. These preventatives will usually cost $5-$15 per month while the costs of treating heartworm disease, flea allergy dermatitis, or tick-borne illness can be extremely high. Lastly, brushing your pet’s teeth will pay off in the long run. The more you brush now, the less often you will have to pay for a professional dental cleaning with accompanying anesthesia.
Tip #2: Spay and Neuter Your Pet
There is no reason that anyone should have a pet that isn’t spayed or neutered. In my mind, this is a basic responsibility of a pet owner just like providing food, water, and shelter. There are many reduced cost spay/neuter options available today. Spaying a female pet will reduce its chances of developing mammary cancer, and will eliminate the chances of it developing a fatal uterine infection called pyometra. Neutering male pets improves behavior, reduces the likelihood of prostate problems, and eliminates the chance of developing testicular cancer. And most importantly, by spaying and neutering your pet, you are playing a vital role in helping to control the problem of pet overpopulation.
Tip #3: Feed a Quality Diet
The days of feeding pets leftovers from the table are long gone. We see so many gastrointestinal problems today from animals eating “people food” that it is too much to talk about in this article. Feeding pets human food or a poor quality diet can cause pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, which can lead to hospitalization, IV fluids, antibiotics, and a big vet bill. Most of the quality pet foods today are so packed with nutrients that the animal doesn’t require the same amount of food as a cheap brand, so the cost balances out in the end, and your pet is receiving a much healthier diet. Ask your veterinarian about diet recommendations based on your pet’s age, activity level, and medical status.
Tip #4: Options for Purchasing Medications
If you are on a tight budget, ask your veterinarian about options for filling needed prescriptions. Many medications for animals are the same as human medications, and sometimes it may be cheaper for you to fill the prescription at a human pharmacy. There may also be less expensive alternatives to a recommended medication, but you might have to accept the risk that it may not work as effectively or may have a higher risk of potential side effects. If the alternative is to do nothing based on budgetary constraints, always ask if there are other options that might work. Many veterinarians today also have online pharmacies that may offer rebates or sales that you wouldn’t get by filling your prescription in the office. The important thing is that your pet gets the medication it needs from a reputable source, so don’t be afraid to ask about alternatives.
Tip #5: Research Discounts and Special Offers
Your veterinary practice may offer special discounts or incentives for client referrals, new patient exams, senior citizen discounts, or any other myriad of services. For example, Homefront Veterinary House Calls has coupons available at this link. Veterinarians recognize the need for routine wellness visits and many will try to make preventive care as affordable as possible for the health of the pet and the client’s wallet. It never hurts to inquire and do some research to see if your veterinarian has any special offers, just remember that your veterinarian has a budget to mind, too!
If you have questions about this article or the services we provide, contact Homefront Veterinary House Calls at (917)396-4041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at homefrontvet.com.