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Affording pet care: Some ideas to keep pets healthy

kitten lifting weightsThis week I received three different emails asking for help from three different pet owners with the exact same topic:  “Help!  We can’t take our pet to the vet because we don’t have the money. ”

I couldn’t help them.  I wish I could but I can’t.

It tore my heart out.

It’s no secret that pet health care can be expensive.  It can and often is. Veterinarians live in the same world we do and, like many of us, their costs for doing business, buying new equipment, specialized education and investing in keeping our pets alive longer has gotten more expensive.

Things that affect us in the economy affect them too.

Today even I think twice before I take my pets in for something because I never seem to get away from my veterinarians office for less than $100.  It’s like Costco.  I can never go in without spending at least $100. It’s weird.  So I try and plan our trips, both to the veterinarian and to Costco.

And is the price worth it when I do go?  Usually yes – (although I sometimes get ticked off that all fees where I go come from a computer generated program.  The computer spits out the price for ‘____treatment’ whether it was a 5 minute treatment or a 30 minute.  Those fees sometimes seem a LITTLE high)…and over-all I usually am fine with paying my bill.  I just don’t go out of my way to take my pets there except for routine wellness or real emergencies.

While I don’t want to spend money unnecessarily at the vets, I want to make sure he’s there when I need him.  I count on him being there.  I want to have a place to take my pets that can handle whatever health crisis arises.  I want state-of-the-art, life saving stuff there WHEN my pet needs it.

Don’t you feel the same?  I pay my bill thankful that this wonderful man is there to help keep my pets well and healthy.

So lets talk a little about today. About affording pet health care today, in today’s economy with today’s things happening.

What can you do?

Do what you can to keep your pets healthy which goes a long way to keeping pet care affordable.

  • The first thing is educate yourself as a pet parent about your pet and pet health.  The internet gives you instant answers to common questions and you can find answers in many other places including your library and pet store, other pet owners.  Your veterinarian will be happy to help you with questions you might have too.
  • Healthy basics are the same for both you and your pets.  These basics include good nutrition (educate yourself on what this is for your pet), ample exercise and emotional health (enough love and spending enough time with you and enough play). Keep the basics IN for best results.
  • Look at both traditional and complimentary pet health methods.  There is wisdom in both and more and more today you’ll find formerly alternative methods being used in traditional veterinary clinics.  For example, it’s becoming common to find acupuncture being offered as a treatment in many clinics and hospitals.
  • Make sure you take your pets in for their annual check-ups, including blood tests, as these can allow early diagnosis and early treatment (usually less expensive) for health issues.
  • If you can afford it, buy pet insurance.  Pet insurance comes in all shapes and sizes.  It’s  least expensive when your pet is young.  When shopping for insurance, make sure you compare policies, comparing ‘apples to apples’,  paying particular attention to what is covered and what the companies definition of  preexisting conditions is.  Having pet insurance in the event of a serious occurrence can be the difference between choosing to let your pet live or die because of affordability.
  • I also use the internet to shop wisely for those brands that I feel are the healthiest for my animals.  I’ve gotten coupons and free samples from companies who want to introduce me to their products and I use these when I shop.

I’ve been doing these same things for several years and, overall, the results have been good, our pets are healthy and our pet health care costs aren’t out of hand.  It’s a little extra work to stay healthy but the benefits far outweigh the effort.

So to you and your pets I say

Stay healthy affordably!

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One Response to “Affording pet care: Some ideas to keep pets healthy”

  1. Zane the Puggle Expert says:

    I enjoyed your article and the recommendations provided about dog insurance. There are a ton of opinions out there on dog insurance that are both reliable and bad. If you know of any more suggestions concerning dog insurance, that would be most appreciated. Keep up the good writing!

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