With the current economic trends, vet bills are one of the many places pet owners intend to cut down on expenses. A little pre-planning and common sense can go a long way to save and keep the cost as low as possible without sacrificing your pet’s health and well-being. Here are a few tips that can significantly reduce your veterinary expenses.
Do your research before you acquire a pet so that you can find the breed that is right for you, your lifestyle and your budget. Some breeds have more inherited health issues than others, which translates into more veterinary care throughout their life, while some breeds require more grooming than others do. It is important to plan and have a basic idea of what to expect.
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers to recommend a vet with reasonable charges. This is necessary because there are many wonderful veterinarians whose bills are very reasonable. In fact, some offer monthly payment plans and other veterinary health packages that may save you money in the end. In addition, ask your vets if they offer any discounts and try to negotiate your pet’s bills. Some vets will offer discounts for “established” patients, or for referrals. Take advantage of any discounts available to you.
Occasionally, take your pet to the vet for a “casual” visit. Ask him to look at your pet and see if you are doing a great job, or to tell you in what area you need to improve on care. The vet is not likely to see this as a free examination; rather he is impressed that you are a responsible pet owner. In doing this, you will get a free medical and physical examination. This can save you money in the end because it will be an opportunity in which some diseases or underlying clinical conditions can be detected.
You can ask the vet for tips on some home remedies to address basic health problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, among others. Your vet may suggest some tips that you can try at home the next time one of these illnesses comes up. This will save you some money, but if symptoms persist or condition worsens, please take your pet to the vet immediately.
Be aware of what your pet eats because certain foods and household substances can be toxic to your pets. Know what is safe and what is not safe and keep unsafe foods and items locked up or out of reach. Take the time to train your pet on what is “off limits” and what it is allowed to play with or chew on, and supervise playtime as much as possible. If some common household items are swallowed, it can result in a costly trip to the vet.
The use of nutritional supplements cannot be overemphasised because they provide the essential vitamins and minerals that may be absent from your pet’s daily diet. In fact, nutritional support in addition to a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important elements of human and pet healthcare. Vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids help to promote your pet’s immune system and keep them as healthy as they can be. Strong immune systems equal minimal infections and ultimately, reduced vet visits/bills.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet by ensuring adequate exercise, nutritious premium pet food, clean drinking water and an ideal environment because this will reduce the risk for some diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and various forms of cancer. Diseases equal a high cost to you and your pet. Avoid these high medical expenses by keeping your pets on a healthy diet or rewarding them with low-calorie treats.
Take out time to do regular pet grooming, including brushing your pet’s teeth, trimming the fur if it is a furry dog, and cleaning the ears. Professional dental cleaning can be very expensive and usually requires your pet to be under anaesthesia. Regular, simple ear cleaning can ward off ear infections and other problems, and regular grooming can save you thousands of naira that would have been spend grooming your pet at the vet clinic.
Consider starting a savings account just for your pet’s care. Decide how much to put into the account monthly or weekly. Discipline yourself not to touch these funds for anything but pet care, and if you are diligent enough, you can build up a savings enough to pay for large veterinary expenses that may arise. One benefit of a dedicated savings account for your pet is that, if you do not use the money immediately, it can help ‘in the rainy day’.
Get pet insurance because it is primarily used for two reasons: the unexpected and the expensive. This proactive solution to avoiding your favourite pet’s unexpected medical conditions can end up saving you thousands of naira in vet/surgical bills. In fact, you can even insure your pet against biting someone. This implies that in a case where it attacks a person, the insurance company will pick the bills depending on the clauses in your agreement with them.