Americans spend billions each year to keep their furry friends healthy and happy. Healthcare for pets can get costly, but it might not be as bad as you think. Follow these tips to help keep your wallet healthy too!
Many vaccine boosters are now good for 3 years. Have an open discussion with your veterinarian about which vaccines are necessary for your pet and if it makes sense to spread boosters out more.
Check Out Veterinary Colleges
Many schools offer free or steeply discounted wellness visits, spay/neuter operations, vaccines and other routine services. Student doctors work alongside board-certified veterinarians, so your pet is still receiving professional care.
Look for Local Clinics
The ASPCA, Humane Society and other organization will frequently host clinics to provide affordable pet healthcare in communities. Local organizations may also set some things up; check local pet stores for details as they will often host these events.
You can also try a Google search for “free vet care in [your city]” to see your options.
Buy Prescriptions Outside the Office
If you purchase prescriptions in the vet’s office, chances are your paying a 100-160% markup. Ask for a generic version of the script, and check places like 1-800-Pet-Meds or Doctors Foster and Smith. You can also ask about human alternatives. Never give your pet Advil, Tylenol, or Xanax, as they are harmful to them, and always check with your veterinarian first.
You can get pet insurance for a fairly cheap monthly price, and it could prove worth it if you ever need radiology, surgery or other expensive diagnostics and treatments. If you adopted your pet from a shelter, the ASPCA offers great insurance options, regardless of the shelter you adopted from.
If you’re told your pet needs an abdominal ultrasound, call around the area and find out what other places charge. There may be a price difference of hundreds of dollars.
Ask About Payment Plans
If you’ve been a loyal customer at your veterinary office, try discussing payment options for expensive services. You may have options for no-interest payment plans, but you won’t know for sure unless you ask about it.
Download Helpful Apps
Your smartphone can help you keep your pet healthy, too. Some apps to check out include:
- Pet Pal for Android or Pet Fetch for iPhone – helps keep track of medication, diet, appointments, grooming, etc.
- Pet First Aid – a “what to do” guide for a number of situations.
- PupTox – a comprehensive guide to common toxins.
Keep Up with Preventative Care
Just like with humans, sometimes the best way to avoid expensive medical bills is prevention. For pets, that includes:
- Wellness visits
- Flea/tick prevention and heartworm medication
- Weight maintenance
- Proper grooming
Your pet will thank you for helping them stay out of a place they probably don’t enjoy!