Asked Feb 23, 2010, 05:46 AM
I compiled some info, hope you find it useful!
Never jeopardize the health of your pet to save money. If you can't afford to provide proper care for your pet, you should give it to someone who can.
1. Take good care of your pet--a healthy pet doesn't need as many trips to the vet. Always follow a proper preventive care schedule, such as a monthly wormer or flea medication application. Keep an accurate record of your pet's vaccination schedule so you're familiar with the vaccinations your pet has had and will need in the future.
2. Step 2
Brush your pet's teeth yourself. You can find the appropriate pet toothpaste at a pet store. Start when your pet is young so they become accustomed to this procedure. By doing it yourself, you won't have to pay your vet to do it for you.
3. Step 3
Spend a few extra dollars on premium pet food. Just like humans, pets that eat high quality, nutritious foods on a regular basis are less likely to develop health problems.
4. Step 4
Exercise your pet regularly. Pets become overweight, just like humans. Help your pet avoid the negative health consequences associated with being overweight by providing them with the appropriate amount of exercise.
5. Step 5
Ask your vet if they offer any discounts or reduced fee programs. Many communities and veterinary offices offer programs that lower the costs associated with spaying or neutering pets. Always take advantage of these savings.
6. Step 6
Shop around for pet medications and treatments to get the best deal
It is possible to keep your pet healthy without taking out a second mortgage. One key to reducing your vet bills is your choice of animal doctor and the location of his or her practice. It is estimated that 70 to 75 percent of revenues go toward overhead costs - real estate, equipment and staff. The cost of running a practice is extremely high.
That means prices can vary depending on whether your vets office is in downtown area or a suburban area and whether there's competition in the area. Consider shopping around for a good vet outside your immediate neighbourhood; but not so far that you can't get there quickly in an emergency.
A little planning can also help you breathe easier if you do have to rush Rover to the clinic. Medical emergencies can cost thousands, and most vets require payment immediately, but pet insurance can cover up to 80 percent of your bill.
Comprehensive plans typically start at about $19 a month for a cat and $34 for a dog. Insured pets get better and faster treatment, says Randy Valpy, president of Petsecure, Canadas largest pet insurance company. If the owner pays the bill, vets have to get them to approve every test and treatment, but if the insurance company is paying, vets can do what they need to without worrying about the cost.
Pre-existing conditions aren't covered, basic plans won't pay for routine exams, your annual deductible can rise as your pet ages and certain breeds require higher premiums. If you're leery, set up a savings account and deposit an amount equivalent to the premium each month. If Sylvesters lucky enough to live a long, healthy life, you'll have a nice nest egg after he goes to the great litter box in the sky.
Dont wait until they whimper: Taking your pets for a check-up at least once a year can save you grief and expense. Animals tend to hide disease until it becomes severe, says Fredericton veterinarian Jim Berry. By then, its much harder to deal with.
A routine examination can pick up a lot of problems in the early stages. Spaying and neutering are also a must. It not only curbs pet overpopulation, but prevents a range of behavioural and medical problems, including injuries from fighting and roaming, as well as reproductive cancers, says Shelagh MacDonald, program director of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
When it comes to food, sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Shelling out more for high-quality, less fattening brands can pay off at the vets later on, especially if you don't let Sparky become a Sumo wrestler. Overweight animals are more prone to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, Berry says. But buying pricey organic brands may not be worth it, according to Sandler. There's not much regulation within the pet food industry, he says. Paying more for a supposedly organic diet isn't always healthier.
A safer bet is to read the label. Good food should contain a protein, such as whole meat, as the first ingredient, rather than fillers such as corn. Avoid foods containing meat by-products - were pretty sure you don't want your pet dining lungs, spleens, stomachs and blood.
A bit of daily grooming will make a big difference, as well: Regular brushing and nail-trimming can help you become more familiar with your pets body. You'll pick up on problems by yourself and avoid major ones down the road, says Berry. And brush those teeth every day - meat-flavoured toothpaste can help smooth relations. Its essential because, according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of gum disease by age four; gingivitis can result in surgery and even lead to kidney, liver and heart disease.
Be good to your pet, but make sure you're good to your vet, as well. They appreciate your loyalty and will offer you breaks when things get tough. With a long-time client, we won't hesitate to work out a payment plan if they need it, says Berry. Ask if theyll offer you discounts for multiple pets. But most of all, keep in mind that vets are a highly educated and devoted bunch and that owning a pet is never cheap. A little understanding goes a long way.
No owner wants a pet to suffer because medical care is out of reach. Financial aid is out there, and there are steps you can take to cover an emergency vet bill.
Please remember that, depending on the severity of your pet's illness or injury, you may still lose your pet even after great expense. Discuss the prognosis and treatment options with your veterinarian, including whether surgery or treatment would just cause your companion discomfort without preserving a life of good quality.
Work with veterinarians
Be proactive. Check our list of groups nationwide that are offering veterinary care assitance. Or, here are some ways to work with vets to make treatment affordable.
Negotiate a payment plan with your vet. If you're a client in good standing, she may be happy to work out a weekly or monthly payment plan so that you don't have to pay the entire cost of veterinary care up front. However, don't expect a vet you've never been to before to agree to such a plan; she doesn't know you and understandably doesn't want to get stuck with an unpaid bill.
Offer to perform a service for your vet like cleaning kennels, answering phones or other work in lieu of actual cash.
Get a second opinion. You'll pay a consultation fee, but another vet may have other, less expensive ways to treat your pet.
Use a vet in a less expensive area. Vets in smaller towns tend to charge lower fees.
Check out local veterinary schools. Many run low-cost clinics for limited income clients. The American Veterinary Medical Association's website and Veterinaryschools.com have lists of veterinary schools by state.
With the economy taking a turn for the worse, it's become very hard to get credit. If you don't qualify for a credit card or bank loan that can help you through your pet's crisis, you may still be able to get an account with Care Credit, a credit card that's specifically for health expenses, including your pet's.
Care Credit offers no interest or low interest plans with fixed monthly payments that allow you to budget your money. It's accepted by many veterinarians (and people doctors).
Explore ways to bring in some extra cash.
Have a yard sale. One's man's trash is another man's treasure.
If your birthday or a holiday is near, ask for cash in lieu of a present.
Sell things on an online auction site such as eBay.
Consider getting a second or part-time job or working for a temp agency.
Ask your employer for a salary advance.
There are many animal welfare organizations that can help out with vet bills, either with low-cost care, loans, or grants. Here are a few:
Dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs
Special Needs Dobermans: doberman911.org
Dougal's Helping Paw (Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and other small, short-legged terriers): Dougals Fund
Labrador Harbor: labradorharbor.org/
Labrador Lifeline: labradorlifeline.org
Westimed (West Highland White Terriers): westiemed.org
Pyramedic Trust (Great Pyrenees): intro
Veterinary care assistance for working/service dogs
Helping Harley Cancer Treatment Grant: Land of PureGold Foundation Cancer Treatment Grants for Working Dogs
Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program: Assistance Dog Special Allowance Program
Still looking for help?
Contact your local animal shelter. Some shelters have onsite low-cost veterinary clinics or work with local vets who are willing to reduce their charges. Some also have veterinary loan or grant programs.
There are some organizations that may offer assistance locally (by state or community). See our state-by-state (including Canada) listing.
Your vet can submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association's "Helping Pets Fund." In order to qualify, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited. To learn more about the program visit the AAHA website. Find an AAHA accredited hospital in your area
If you purchased your dog from a reputable breeder, check your contract to see if there is a health guarantee that covers your pet's ailment. Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care? : The Humane Society of the United States How to Lower Veterinary Bills | eHow.com