If you’re like me — or anyone else trying to stick to a budget — then you’re always looking for ways to spend less money. Here are a few ways to save big on your pet’s veterinary costs.
Just as with humans, the best way to save big on vet bills is to avoid them. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the best preventives. Make sure your dog gets some form of exercise daily — walks, trips to the dog park, play dates with other dogs, playing games with you — and eats a premium diet. Your cat doesn’t need formal exercise, but playtime has great benefits.
Commercials for Pedigree and Purina products tell you their food is healthy, but if you check the labels, you’ll see that the food you buy in grocery stores is high in fat and fillers, no matter how “healthy” it claims to be. By heading for your local pet store or feed barn, you can buy a premium food for only a little more, one that is actually good for your pet.
When you find a premium food you like, try to buy it in bulk. For example, the Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potato food I buy at the feed barn costs about $37 for a 15 pound bag, whereas the 28 pound bag costs only $47.
2. Annual Vet Visits
If you see your veterinarian annually, you’ll up your chances of finding a problem before it becomes a serious (and expensive) issue. For example, if you have your dog’s blood tested every year, you’ll become aware of conditions like diabetes and cancer when there still may be a chance to successfully treat them.
If you have more than one pet, try to take them in at the same time. It’s a bigger financial outlay all at once, but most veterinarians give a multiple-pet discount, so you’ll wind up paying less in the long run.
3. Home Remedies
For very basic health problems, like constipation, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and fleas, you can try home remedies for pets before you shell out funds for a vet visit your dog or cat may not need. Keep in mind, though, that if the “DIY” remedies don’t seem to be working, or if the condition worsens, you should take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
4. Low-Cost Clinic for Basic Services
If you adopt your pet from a shelter, he will most likely already be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, which will save you a bundle in vet fees. However, if your pet does need these services, you can take him to a low-cost clinic to for basic procedures, saving the big bucks for your pet’s annual visits at your regular veterinarian’s office.
Look around for vaccination clinics. Many pet supply stores offer them, as do feed barns. Our dog park even offers them on Sundays! Many animal shelters will also vaccinate or microchip for reduced rates.
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