Over the last few years veterinary care has advanced significantly. Increasingly sophisticated methods provide high-tech solutions to previously impossible problems. These days, veterinarian clinics use equipment and drugs not too far removed from those used to treat human patients in your local hospital. This is appropriate, since most pet owners see their animal companions as part of the family and want the quality of medical treatment to reflect that. But how does that affect vet costs?
Obviously higher quality pet care leads to higher vet costs. Veterinarians require more advanced training and tools than they did ten years ago, and must charge higher bills to adequately meet their higher operating costs. This has created difficulties for pet owners who had to bear the full brunt of these escalating vet costs, at least until pet insurance hit the scene.
What about Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance works something like private health insurance for people. You pay a monthly (or annual) premium and claim for veterinary expenses if your dog has a major illness or injury and needs expensive treatment or surgery. A few years ago, pet insurance was still new and with only a small client base.
Now, more people are aware of pet insurance, and, happily for insurance providers, more people are buying pet insurance. Obviously pet insurance helps pet parents provide quality for a variety of illnesses, accidents and injuries. It also offers psychological support because pet parents don’t have to worry about emergency expenses.
How to reduce vet costs?
Even if you do have pet insurance, it’s still good to know that there are ways to reduce your vet bills, which means you only have to claim for the serious trouble your pet gets into. As usual, the best cure is prevention, so if you want to reduce vet costs, avoid incurring vet bills in the first place by taking good care of your pet’s health.
Feed your pet high quality pet food:
The commercial pet food in supermarkets is highly processed with low-quality ingredients. Premium pet food recommended by your veterinarian costs a bit extra, but you save money in the long-term as few things contribute more to good health than a nutritious diet.
Keep up to date with vaccinations:
Some vaccinations are required annually, others every two or three years. Regulations differ from state to state. Your local vet will advise you about vaccinations for your area. Staying informed about booster shots can help reduce vet costs as you reduce the risk of serious illness.
Brush your pet’s teeth regularly:
Just like people, dogs benefit from good dental hygiene. Ignoring your dog’s teeth and gums can result in pain, discomfort and even infection. Dental procedures require full anesthetic, which adds up to a hefty fee. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth can help prevent dental disease. You have other options if your pets don’t like having their teeth brushed. For example, tooth gel, powder, and teeth-cleaning treats, food and toys.
Sterilize your pets:
Neutering or spaying your pet is one of the best things you can do to protect their health. It significantly reduces the likelihood of certain cancers, as well as other potentially fatal conditions like uterine infection. The right timing can also help prevent behavioral issues later in life.
Monitor your pet’s behavior:
It’s important to catch illnesses early on. So if you notice significant changes in your pet’s behavior, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Sign of illness include loss of appetite, increased thirst and/or lethargy. You can also phone your vet and find out if the symptoms are cause for concern. A routine check-up once or even twice a year is recommended, especially for senior pets. The cost is minimal compared to the expense of treating a serious condition that is well advanced and causes secondary problems.
Get good pet care advice:
As veterinarian techniques become more advanced, so too do the services that veterinarian clinics provide. Veterinary nurses now provide advice on everything from diet and grooming to parasite control and weight loss. Find out if any clinics in your area have veterinary nurses on staff. This can save on vet costs by simply removing the need to consult with the vet in the first place. The nurse can always refer you to the vet if your pet requires treatment.
On the whole, your best bet is to find a comprehensive pet insurance provider as early as possible. This allows you to buy cover before your pet is diagnosed with any pre-existing conditions.