Tips for Cutting the Cost of Pet Care Without Endangering Your Pet

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by Lorie Huston, DVM on March 27, 2014
 
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When the economy is tough and money is tight, it can be tempting for pet owners to try to economize by saving on pet care costs. In some areas, this is a viable option and can be an effective way to save money. In other areas though, cutting corners on pet care can prove to be disastrous and end up costing the pet owner more money in the long run. The trick comes in knowing where and when to save and when it is not advisable to delay, eliminate or change your pet’s care.

Don’t Cut Corners on Preventive Health Care

Though it may seem wise to save money on things like routine health care for your dog or cat, doing so can actually place your pet in danger and eliminating these costs can end up leading to even higher costs as you try to treat a condition that should have been prevented in the first place.

Preventive health care includes:

  • vaccinations
  • heartworm testing and/or preventive medication
  • flea and/or tick prevention
  • basic physical examinations performed by your veterinarian
  • basic blood testing, especially for middle-aged or senior pets

Feed a High Quality Diet

Another area that pet owner frequently try to save money is on food. Premium high quality diets can be a lot more expensive than lower quality diets and it may seem that switching your pet to a less expensive lower quality pet food may be a good money-saving option. In the long run, this will affect the health of your pet and will end up costing you more financially and costing your pet optimum health. The quality of your pet’s diet is a bad place to attempt to cut costs.

Don’t Overfeed Your Pet

Keeping your pet at a lean body weight and in ideal body condition is a wise choice for many reasons.

Though the actual cost savings on food may be small, in a tight economy even small amounts of money make a difference.

In addition and even more importantly, a lean pet at his ideal body weight is a healthier pet and healthy pets mean less money on veterinary bills.

Exercise Is Key to Good Health

This tip fits well with the previous tip in regards to helping to keep your pet at an ideal body weight.

Exercise has many benefits for your dog or cat, not the least of which is helping to maintain a proper body weight.

Exercise can also be good physical therapy for pets with painful joints when conducted in an appropriate manner. Keeping joints supple and muscles strong can help reduce costs for pain medications and other medical treatments. Of course, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian first to determine an appropriate exercise regimen if you have an arthritic pet or a pet with other medical issues.

Best of all, it costs nothing to take your dog for a walk or find an interactive way to play with your cat and get them moving and exercising.

Learn How to Perform Basic Grooming Tasks

Learning how to perform basic tasks like baths, nail trims, ear cleaning, and tooth brushing can save you money on grooming costs and can also help avoid costly veterinary bills by promoting good oral, skin and ear health for your dog or cat. Some people even learn how to cut their dog’s hair (for those breeds that require trimming), which can be an effective way to cut back on grooming costs also.

Buy in Bulk

In most cases, buying pet food and other pet supplies in bulk can be a great way to cut costs. Usually, buying in large quantities reduces the overall cost of a product. However, some products have expiration dates and those dates must be kept in mind when buying bulk quantities. Buying a product in a bulk quantity but being unable to use a significant amount of the product purchased because the product has expired will not be cost effective.

If buying dry food in bulk quantities, storing the food in an airtight container can help keep the food fresh. Always keep the food label with the lot numbers and other identifying information in case of recall or other issues though. Also, be sure to completely empty and thoroughly clean the container before adding new food to it.

Shop Around for the Best Price

The cost of pet products, like any other consumer product, can vary tremendously from one source to another. It is worthwhile to shop around to find the lowest price. In some cases, the lowest price may be from an online source. In other cases, a brick and mortar store may prove to have a lower cost. Don’t forget to price products through your veterinarian’s office also. Some veterinary practices are willing to match online prices for products such as flea, tick and heartworm preventive medications. Don’t forget to figure in the cost of your travel to pick up a product from a local source versus the cost of shipping when ordering online.

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About Lorie Huston, DVM
Lorie Huston is an accomplished veterinarian, an award winning blogger, a talented author and a certified veterinary journalist. She is available for writing assignments, blogging and social media consultation, and SEO strategy.

This article is posted and shared through the courtesy of the Pet Health Care Gazette