6. Feed Really Good Quality Dog Food Although it might be really tempting to buy whatever is cheapest, you're doing yourself, your pet, and your wallet a huge dis-service in doing so. The cereal grains, artificial colors & sweeteners, and less than perfect meat products can contribute to skin allergies and infection. This is very critical for people with white or fair skinned-dogs. Food allergies from these inferior ingredients can contribute to frequent vet visits, as often as monthly. Not only do food allergies create skin problems, but can also contribute to chronic ear infections. Do your dog's ears smell bad? Feed a grain free, super premium kibble, or better yet, raw feed. Total cost savings at the vet per year varies, but on average, $720!
7. Leash your Pet! It may sound simple to leash your dog or cat, but it could save their life. We are NOT advocating that your chain your dog. We are recommending that you do not allow your dog (or cat) to roam freely, even if they are a "farm" dog. Not only can they get hit on the road, which can cost hundreds in repair, but they also breed if not sterilized. It's also common for wandering dogs to feed off of road-kill, leading to all kinds of intestinal problems. The vet cost savings will vary, but between hit-by-car repairs and intestinal illness treatment, the cost savings PER incident could be 50-500$
8. Use Flea Prevention I'm not referring to the stuff available at your local superstore. Use a high quality prevention, even if it's natural, and avoid the devastating results of fleas. Vet flea product should contain an insect growth regulator, and you should use it every single month. Avoid using fipronil products, which many consumers are reporting a huge flea resistance to. If you'd like to use a flea repellent, we like doTerra's Terra Shield, which repels fleas, ticks, and even mosquitos. Plus, it's dog safe, and smells great. Beware of a combo product that contains "flea birth control", which requires that the flea still bites the dog to ingest the chemical. Prevention is the important part here, because once you have fleas in the house, you must treat the environment and the yard. Extreme cases may even require extermination. NEVER try to save money by using a dog product on cats.... the results can he deadly. Total cost savings will vary depending on the situation, but in the case of flea bite dermatitis with moderate infestation is about 200$ per year.
9. Don't Try to Fix it Yourself or Play Vet The worst thing you can do with a sick pet is to try to wait it out, or to fix it yourself. Seriously, vets have to go to school for at least eight years! There are two possible scenarios that waiting with a sick pet creates. The first one is that you try to make it and think things are getting better... then panic in the middle of the night, and have to pay an emergency fee. Not the best way to save. Secondly, letting conditions go thinking they "might get better" can worsen many situations. A few examples are: a pet getting hit by a car, vomiting and diarrhea, obvious infection, and anorexia. The last three things are SYMPTOMS for some other, potentially serious condition. Better safe than sorry. Call the vet, and don't wait. Also, don't vaccinate your pets on your own. Yes, it might be cheaper to go to the feed store and buy the vaccine, but what are you going to do if your pet has a reaction? You're stuck. You'll be calling your vet, possibly paying an emergency fee, and not going to get much sympathy from them. Do you know if your pet has a heart murmur? Or some medical condition that may be worsened by vaccinating yourself? Better let the vet vaccinate. Potential savings will vary, but generally, a minimum of $100.
10. Create a Pet Emergency Fund This is the most common overlooked way to save money at the vet, and to provide the best care for your pet. Remember that vets are not in the business of lending people money, and they don't provide their care for an I.O.U. Putting back 500-1000$ for a pet emergency will allow you to get care when you need it, without waiting to gather the funds. This fund will also allow you to provide care without having to pay interest on a credit card or loan. It's a great idea to start thinking about the what if's. How much money would you put into your pet? What would your cap be? With this fund, keep all of your pet records, showing your animal's medical history. This may in some cases, prevent duplication of some things (vaccines, etc.) in an emergency. Further, having the funds accessible allow you to expedite the decision to let your vet provide emergency care- potentially saving their life. The cost savings will vary, but on average is $50-300.
Does your vet offer emergency care? Do you have an emergency plan in place?
Jen Ortman, owner of Holistipet (LLC) is a Professional Animal Communicator, Animal Reiki Master Teacher, author, and speaker.