Written by our very own Michelle W.
Having healthy, happy pets can be costly. Many people do not realize this when they adopt a cute little puppy or kitten but learn it quickly during their pet’s first year of life. Vaccines, well visits, spaying or neutering, and medications can all add up fast. Sometimes adopting an older pet may seem more cost effective – they are usually done with their initial vaccines and often are already spayed or neutered. But adopting an older pet can mean adopting their pre-existing conditions too. Sadly, some of those conditions may be the reasons they were given up for adoption in the first place. Diabetes and dental problems are just a couple of the reasons I have seen people say they cannot keep their beloved friends. Often, what it all comes down to is money. Health care for our animals is not normally something we factor into our budgets. So, what can we do to save some money at your Dutchess County & Poughkeepsie’s vet office? Well, there are a few things.
First off, there’s pet insurance. V.P.I. and A.S.P.C.A. are just two of the pet insurance coverage companies out there now. Right now, most pet insurance companies require that you sign up before your pet becomes ill and there is a monthly fee. The fee varies depending on the plan that you sign up for and a visit to the vet’s office usually means paying up front for the visit and any purchases that were made, submitting a claim, and then waiting for a check in the mail from the insurance company. In my experience, most people do not consider pet insurance until it’s too late and their dog or cat is in need of a major surgery, has become severely ill, or had some type of accident. Pet insurance is one option for saving money in the long run but you have to weigh the factors, based on the plan you have chosen.
Preventive care at your Dutchess County & Poughkeepsie vet office is a huge way to save money at the vet. It may seem like a no-brainer to some people but regular yearly check-ups, periodic blood-work, and keeping your dog or cat up to date on their vaccines will keep costs down. For example, by checking blood-work as often as your veterinarian recommends, he or she may be able to catch a problem before it becomes serious. Yearly examinations will often find situations before they go from being just a little nuisance to being an emergency in the middle of the night and you end up spending hundreds of dollars at an emergency clinic. Finally, although it may not seem like it, updating your dog or cat’s vaccines when they are due will definitely keep costs down – especially if they have a run-in with a wild animal and are not up to date on their rabies vaccine. Not to mention that vaccines help prevent diseases that otherwise could land a sick dog or cat in the hospital, such as upper respiratory problems, Lyme disease, and many others.
One of the biggest health problems I have seen over the past few years with both dogs and cats involve dental care. Whether this includes just a cleaning for a dog who’s been having some trouble chewing his food, or a cat who needs upwards of ten teeth extracted; dental procedures are expensive. Our office is one of the most affordable places for dental care, yet it still is one of the procedures that many of our clients simply cannot afford. Unfortunately, it needs to be done. Teeth need to be taken care of and letting them go by the wayside can cause serious health problems later on in life – including infection, heart disease, and others. What can you do to keep this cost down? Prevent it from happening! Take steps at home to prevent your dog or cat from needing a dental procedure. Experts recommend brushing your dog or cat’s teeth daily. It is best to start when they are very young but if you adopt an older pet or maybe just never even tried before, don’t worry, it’s never too late to help make a difference. This is not always an easy task and sometimes it can take a long time to work up to them allowing you to put something into their mouth. There are also plenty of other dental products available that can help including water additives, dental treats and chews, and mouth wash. If you are going to start a dental routine, always use toothpaste and toothbrushes that are made for animals, purchased from a veterinarian or a reputable pet store. Know in advance though, that other factors influence animals’ teeth such as genetics. Responsible pet-owners often find that nothing they do can stop their dog or cat from needing a dental procedure. If this is the case, see if your veterinarian’s office ever does a dental discount, such as during February, which is Dental Health Month.
One of the last ways you can save money is to look for deals – coupons and rebates are great but often can go unnoticed by customers. Ask at the front desk of your veterinarian’s office if there are any rebates or deals going on at the time you are in the office. For example, Frontline and Advantix, which are topical flea and tick preventatives, often have a deal where you can buy six doses and get one free. You can also save money if you buy more such as buying a year’s worth of heart-worm prevention, rather than just one month at a time. This will also save you gas money and time going to and from the vet on a monthly basis. Another example of a rebate is for prescription diets; some companies will run unadvertised specials on these, which require a coupon and a valid receipt after buying a certain quantity of prescription diet within a certain period of time. Stock up on both food and medications when the offers are there – you know you’re going to use the products and in the event of an emergency or snow storm, you will not need to worry about where your dog or cat’s next meal or treatment will come from, you’ll already be prepared and will have saved money in the long run!
In conclusion, with a little effort on your part, you may be able to save a pretty penny and keep your wallet a little fuller. More importantly, you may be able to keep your pet healthier, happier, and help them live longer. So, research pet insurance options, ask lots of questions, listen to your veterinarian office’s advice, and don’t be afraid to buy in bulk! These wonderful creatures that so easily start as a pet and end up becoming a family member are never a part of our lives long enough, let’s all make that short time the best it can be! Book an appointment with your Dutchess County & Poughkeepsie vet, we can’t wait to see you!