Katherine Bryson, RVT
At New Perth Animal Hospital we strive to provide the best quality care for a reasonable and fair price. Depending on the age, breed and health of your pet, veterinary care can add up quickly. Follow the steps below to save a few bucks when you get to the check out.
Do your research – It’s so easy to jump into pet ownership-I would be lying if I said I haven’t done it myself. You scroll through the humane society website and BOOM you now own a kitten…or two. Now what? Instead of impulse adopting or buying, take your time and do your research. Look into the breed your thinking about and talk to veterinarians, pet owners and breeders. Take the ever so popular Labrador retriever for example, these dogs can be prone to elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, allergies and the list goes on. Does this mean you shouldn’t own this breed – absolutely not! Know the breed that your going to own, know what to expect and talk to you vet to find ways to prevent these problems before they occur and you’re then stuck with the resulting vet bill.
Create a budget – How much is your new furry friend actually going to cost you? Can you afford to provide the best care for them? Before you make a final decision on your new pet look into all the fees and costs associated. Have you taken into account the price of vaccinations, neutering surgery, food, flea prevention, deworming? These fees can add up quickly, especially when you aren’t prepared for them.
Prevention is KEY – We always say this, over and over again. There are so many veterinary problems that could have been easily prevented. Let’s take parvo virus for instance. Parvo virus is a deadly disease that mostly affects puppies (although occasionally adults are also diagnosed with this). It targets the gastrointestinal tract and causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and if left untreated death. The price of a parvo combination vaccine is relatively inexpensive while the the cost of treating parvo virus can be very expensive. You can easily save your self a TONNE of money by preventing and vaccinating against common illnesses and diseases.
Annual wellness examinations – Veterinarians recommend young animals come in at least once per year for a wellness examination, older animals should come in at least twice per year. But why? Our pets age much differently then us – one year in a dogs life translates roughly to 7 years in ours. Can you imagine only going to the doctors once every 7 years? Wellness examination allow veterinarians to detect problems early while they can still be treated – prolonging the life of your pet. Visiting your vet more often can actually save you money! Think about your car for instance, its much cheaper to have the oil changed regularly then to replace the engine!
Come in during regular hours – Emergency visits can be expensive. Sometimes they are completely unavoidable -sometimes they could be prevented. Often if your pet hasn’t resolved an issue or problem within 12-24 hours, its not going to get better on its own and will require veterinary assistance. Owners can save themselves money by acting quickly. A dog who starts vomiting on a Monday morning will be much easier and cheaper to treat Monday afternoon then they will be when the problem has been left until Wednesday night on emergency. The outcome of these cases can also be improved when pets are seen and treated promptly. Advice is always free, if you aren’t sure if your pet should be seen call and ask to speak with a veterinarian or veterinary technician.
Pet Insurance – Believe it or not, this is a great money saving tool! There are many different pet insurance providers, each offering a unique plan best suited to your pet. Explore the different options and ask for quotes. Many pet insurance providers have options that require owners to only pay 20% of the final veterinary bill. I have had pet insurance for my dog Ellie since she was a puppy. She is a healthy, normal, active two year old boxer/lab. Though she is healthy now, I know that there may be one day when she isn’t. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of extra money laying around in my bank account to use on my pets, pet insurance gives me that added security. I know that if Ellie were to get hit by a car tomorrow, I wouldn’t have to have the decision come down to the amount of the bill, instead I could focus on what’s best for her. If you ask me, it’s a win-win situation!
Take advantage of discounts – Many veterinary clinics will offer bundle packages or added services for a reduced fee. Veterinary diets will often have promotions attached to them, buy 3 get 1 free, etc. It never hurts to ask if there are any options available!
Estimates – If your veterinarian doesn’t automatically provide you with an estimate, ask for one! Sometimes, especially in emergency situations the price can be overlooked when everyone is focused on what’s best for the pet. Express to your veterinarian how much you are able to spend and keep the line of communication open. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises for both you and the vet at the end of treatment.