While the benefits of pet ownership far outweigh the costs, every responsible dog owner should know that along with love and companionship comes financial responsibility. In today’s challenging economic times it pays to save wherever you can. But saving money doesn’t mean you need to skimp on your pet.
The AKC offers the following preventative measures to help keep canine health costs down without compromising the quality of your pets’ care.
• Schedule your dog in for his annual checkup. Many canines don’t exhibit symptoms of illness until it’s too late. Early diagnosis can prevent your pet’s symptoms from becoming life threatening and keep your dog from picking up additional illnesses due to a compromised immune system.
• Don’t skimp on quality food. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to save on dog food is to buy quality items in bulk rather than purchasing cheaper items. Skimping on quality typically means missing out on many nutrients your dog needs.
• Don’t overfeed your dog or give him human-food handouts. If you insist on sharing your food with your dog then consider small portions of carrot, broccoli, or apple chunks. These are all healthy low-calorie treats most canines love. You can also ask your vet for dietary recommendations.
• Make sure Fido gets the proper amount of exercise for his breed. Activities such as taking your dog for walks, visiting your local dog run, or throwing a ball around will keep your pooch in shape and prevent obesity, which can lead to many health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, torn ligaments and heart problems.
• Brush your dog’s teeth. You should brush your pet’s teeth a few times a week and get regular cleanings at the vet. This will prevent the build up of tartar and gum disease, which can lead to kidney disease, liver disease and infection.
• Look for discounts. While you should never skimp on visits to the vet, you may be able to reduce costs. According to Consumer Reports, more than 60 percent of veterinarians will discount services if you bring in three or more pets during one visit, while 50 percent will give discounts to senor citizens who own pets.
• Invest in your pet. With healthcare being one of the most important aspects of responsible dog ownership, pet insurance allows owners to care for their pet's health in the same way they do for themselves and other family members. And, for the many dog owners who are put in difficult situations emotionally and financially when their dog becomes sick or is injured, it can help alleviative the heart wrenching decisions over whether they can afford treatment. A small, monthly fee covers the cost of preventive medicine and the treatment of illness and injury. Higher deductibles reduce premiums and make insurance a more viable option for many budgets. Do you have other tips to help save money on your pets? We encourage you to share them!