Vet bills are expensive right? They always seem to creep up on you don’t they? So the question I have been debating is how to reduce as many occurrences as possible.
Of course, all pets will become ill at some point, but inevitably this could lead to potentially crushing costs. So how can we reduce these costs and events? How can we ensure the health of our lovely fur babies is the best it can be?
These are the main questions that ran through my head as I was about to make one of the biggest commitments to taking on a tiny puppy. I wanted everything to be just right and for him to be healthy.
How much will vet bills cost?
How can I save money on vet bills?
Can I reduce the amount of vet care my pet will need?
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Start a Regular Dental Routine for Your Pet
Vet costs can be reduced by doing this as early as possible. The mouth is said to be one of the prime sites in the body for intake of bacteria. So for humans it makes sense to brush our teeth every day and floss. Vets argue it is essential too, for animals, to maintain good health generally and make them less susceptible to becoming ill.
Take for example my cat Sammy. Recently, she had a canine tooth in need of removal. It was stuck in her mouth, and she was unable to eat and became very uncomfortable. The tooth was extremely decayed. All this bacteria had been festering and growing in her mouth, potentially making her body work harder to keep her well.
The expensive trip to the vets was the essential thing for my beautiful girl. As she is older, she will not let me near her mouth. On reflection, I should have started this with her from being a young cat.
Ensure Your Pet Eats Some Hard Food or Raw Hide Chews
If you want to save money on vet care, hard biscuits, I was reliably informed by my vet, are one way of removing plaque from my cats’ teeth.
I give her 3 or 4 of these Whiskas Dentabites a day now and I hope that her teeth will be as good as possible.
When I had my little dog Jasper, God rest his little soul, (dog in the featured photo )his teeth were immaculate until the day he died. The vet had suggested in his case, rawhide chews, that would suit his small jaw. Every vet he saw reassured me that his health had stayed fantastic for so long, because we had given him these every day.
Here is an example of rawhide chews I gave Jasper, my dog, daily. These don’t contain nasty hidden sugars like some do.
Feed Your Pet Good Quality Pet Food
Budgeting can be a challenge when you consider buying good quality dog or cat food. I passionately believe that the low vet bills I have had over time have been due to the quality of food I have fed them.
For both I have bought in bulk, to save money, usually from a local corn mill, which is so much cheaper than the supermarket or Amazon. For the cat I buy large bags of James Wellbeloved Dry Cat food and for the dog I bought Super Premium Turkey and Rice
Although I have added links, I do tend to buy direct from my local corn mill. It’s just so you can see what I have found to be successful. The bags of cat food are approximately £17 cheaper than online.
The dog food worked out at around £10 cheaper per bag!
Treat Fleas Consistently and With Products that Work
Many trips I have experienced with Jasper, until I learnt the reasons why, was because his skin had become irritated by fleas. He had bitten himself or scratched himself and the area needed treating. (Another vet bill) Now, as a result, I regularly check with my vet, as to which products are effective.
At the time of writing, the latest effective product I used on Jasper was called Bravecto.
It is not cheap, but he never suffered, itched or ran up expensive vet bills for flea associated skin problems. It is available online, possibly cheaper than in your vet’s surgery, but it is definitely worth asking your vet.
Another associated product I swear by, is a flea spray for the home called Indorex. It again, is not the cheapest, but it goes to work straight away. I used to find it was worth spraying the beds of the animals also. The cheaper products that are available in the supermarkets just don’t work in my opinion.
Ensure Your Pet Gets the Exercise it Needs
This is one of the key things towards reducing your vets bills, as a fit pet will be less likely to be overweight or contract a range of diseases associated with being in poor health. Jasper needed two walks a day, even though he was a relatively small dog. Not only did it reduce our vets bills, and maintain his heart health, it controlled his behaviour too. We noticed that if his routine changed, his behaviour would deteriorate. A happy dog is also a cheaper dog. Behaviour problems can also be expensive to fix. On average a dog trainer can cost £20 an hour.
Neuter Your Pet
Jasper wasn’t neutered for a long time – consequently, when we moved house, his behaviour completely changed. He was marking all over our house for six long weeks, until we took the plunge – on our dog trainer’s advice, that all the behaviour he was demonstrating would settle down if he was castrated.
Needless to say we worked out that not neutering him when he was younger had cost us £150 in dog trainer fees, £200 for the operation and also £50 in carpet cleaner. When I get my next puppy I will do this at the earliest available opportunity.
If you have no spare funds, you could qualify for help with vet care such as neutering. Many people struggle to get the cash together all at once, as this is potentially one of the most expensive things you will have to pay out for.
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Know Your Pet’s Quirks
Ok, so on one occasion Jasper, who loved the beach at Southport, ran too far away from us.. .and then fell down a ridge in the sand. He hadn’t got the most agile body or the longest legs in the world! This resulted in a trip to the vet, with what turned out to be a sprained leg. Cost of £110 for the consultation and painkillers.
Next time, we let Jasper run around like a mad thing, but closer to us, so we could guide him around the ridges in the sand. Result – injury free Sunday afternoons for years after that.
Maybe your dog eats things he shouldn’t when he’s alone? Consider having a barrier to keep him contained in a smaller area of the house, when you are out. Think about your animal’s personality and make a note of all the hilarious things they have done to hurt themselves. Are there solutions you can sort out, to prevent these things happening again?
Read up about the main dangers that your animal could be susceptible to
It’s not possible to know all of these things, but take action every time you realise a thing is potentially dangerous. For example, I had no idea that daffodils were poisonous for dogs until Jasper ate one. He was sick, so I contacted the vet, who admitted him for an immediate stomach pump and 24 hour care after. £250 bill later. Learning point for me – no more daffodils in the yard.
Plan your home to consider these things and you will definitely reduce your vets bills over your pets lifetime. If for example your pet suffers from a back problem, prevent them from further injury by installing a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs.
Consider Pet Insurance
Particularly for dogs, this is a good idea, as one injury could cost thousands to treat. As your dog becomes older, long term health conditions could appear and be costly. Consider if you could afford paying £100 a month for medication. This was the main mistake I made with Jasper. He had a heart condition, and needed medication for this constantly. If I had taken insurance when he was a puppy, this would have saved me thousands over the years, that I needed to pay. This said, ensure you shop around before you buy. Moneysavingexpert or comparison websites are good places to start.
Hopefully these tips and mistakes I have made in the past will arm you with a raft of starting points to save money throughout your pet’s lifetime, so you can enjoy your companion without the worry of bills hanging over your head.
As always, feel free to comment and suggest your own ideas. I am due at some point in the future to get a new puppy, so I could do with the advice – it’s such a long time since I had a young dog!