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We all love our pets and treat them just like family, even buying them presents at Christmas and sometimes we dress them up for Halloween and other special occasions. So we always do our very best to keep them happy and healthy. For those of us on a budget, which is pretty much everyone nowadays, healthcare costs are statistically the biggest expense we face as pet owners.

Whether it’s an annual check-up or an unexpected injury or illness, there are ways to drastically reduce these medical costs. Here’s the biggest three ways to handle pet care on a budget:

 

Finding the Right Veterinarian

Just like our own personal healthcare provider, it’s important to find the right fit when it comes to our doggie’s doctor. This always reminds me of a time that I had an unexpected visit to the vet’s office for my dog who had unknowingly consumed a large amount of carpet fibers (from pulling on a berber carpet string that just kept going and going). After an x-ray revealed the mass, my veterinarian said that surgery might be necessary (scaring the living daylights out of me). Thankfully, she wanted to try a cheaper, less invasive option first – pumpkin.

Sure enough, after eating some canned, solid pack pumpkin, my dog had passed the fibers on her own without the aid of a scalpel. Creative methods like these and the ability to try something much cheaper could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on unnecessary procedures like this one.

 

Fill Meds Elsewhere

Many people may not know that veterinarians markup their medications by as much as 275% in some cases. For routine medications such as heartworm prevention, flea and tick medicines, the average additional charge is around 100%. That’s insane!

Get your prescriptions filled online and you’ll pay a fraction of what the vet will charge you in their office. For additional savings, if you are going to the same website repeatedly, consider signing up for one of those membership rebate sites that offer cash back, discounts and other rewards.

 

Keep Them Healthy

The best way to avoid disease and injury is through prevention and the same is true for our four-legged friends. When it comes to feeding, make sure you’re giving them a healthy diet in the appropriate amount and avoid table scraps. Obesity in animals carries the same risks that face humans who are overweight, which includes diabetes, high blood pressure and puts them at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Preventative health measures also includes dental care and while it may seem silly to brush a dog’s teeth, it should still be done daily. Similar to being overweight, pets develop the same health problems from poor dental hygiene that their masters can experience, like gum disease, gingivitis  the buildup of plaque and tartar. This can lead to tooth decay and loss which can also lead to some expensive procedures at the vet’s office. Also, to keep their teeth healthy and strong, be sure to supply them with plenty of appropriate chew toys and treats.

Having the right veterinarian, doing a little online “re-tail” therapy and taking better care of our pets can help us to save big money in the long run. And speaking of running, don’t forget to give your animal plenty of exercise to keep them even healthier.

 

Guest Blogger – Amber Kingsley

Featured Image – Flickr