Tired of vet bills that rival your car payments? A few simple steps can help you fetch big savings!
Whether your furry friend spends their time bounding through the bush, eating off of the sidewalk or just lounging around the house, they all require a trip to the vet from time to time. And the cost of those vet visits adds up fast! Healthcare for dogs and cats is the single largest annual expense for Australian pet owners, with the 2016 Cost of Pets survey revealing that we spend more than $2,000 per year looking after our four-legged friends!
None of us want to scrimp when it comes to looking after our loved ones, and the good news is that you don’t have to! Here are some simple steps that you can take to reap significant savings on the costs of caring for your pet:
- Keep up with preventative care. Just like with us humans, it’s far better for your health – and your wallet – to take care of your pet’s body to avoid preventable problems. Make sure you stay current on your pet’s vaccines and wormings, get them an annual checkup and closely manage their weight. Obese dogs and cats are at substantially higher risks for a myriad of health issues.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Desexing your pet is great for their long-term health and for for controlling the pet population, and it can benefit your wallet too! Desexed pets are usually charged lower council fees and pet insurance premiums.
- Take care of those teeth! Dental issues tend to be extremely costly and are often quite preventable by regular brushing and annual checkups. Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums clean will also reduce oral bacteria, which can cause significant infections. Keep hard bones and toys away from older dogs and cats, which tend to have more brittle teeth.
- Shop around for medications and vaccines. While it’s convenient to purchase all of your pet’s medications directly from your veterinarian, you’ll often pay a very high markup for convenience. You can purchase the exact same medications while reaping substantial savings by checking out local pet stores or visiting discount online pet medication web sites.
- Make sure your pet is insured. One significant illness or injury can cost more than years of pet insurance premiums! Though it can be easy to procrastinate, put pet insurance in place as soon as you bring home that new puppy, kitten or rescue animal. By insuring your pet right away, you’ll gain more than peace of mind – you eliminate the risk of costly exclusions due to pre-existing conditions and you can generally lock in lifetime coverage for your pet. (There are very few insurance options available for pets over 8 years of age, and older pets usually have much higher healthcare costs than younger ones do.)
- Avoid the emergency clinic. When it’s Saturday night and your pet is in trouble, put them in the car and go to the after hours vet! However, know that treatment at a 24 hour clinic can cost as much as double what you’ll pay for a regular appointment. Don’t sacrifice the health and comfort of your dog or cat, but try to have routine issues handled by your regular vet during normal business hours.