Medical bills can be overwhelming, not just for people but for pets too. Every pet has its own unique needs, and it’s the duty of their owners to ensure their four-legged family members stay healthy, happy, and by their side for as long as possible.
Preventative care is the best way to keep your pet healthy: It refers to simple steps pet owners take to mitigate health problems. By maintaining a nutritious diet, regular grooming, and developing hygiene habits, owners can prevent health issues like obesity, which puts pets at risk for many diseases. Pet owners should also think of the future when it comes to their attitude to their pets’ health. It may sound like investing in your pet’s long-term health costs a lot, but preventative measures can save on big health bills later. Also, consider that, in 2020, the average household spent $859 annually on nonessential pet toys and hobbies related to them.
A routine checkup at the veterinarian can cost between $45 to $55; doing this once or twice a year costs a maximum of $110 and helps pet owners get ahead of possible complications in the future. On the flip side, avoiding these visits can turn a $55 bill into a $4,000 to $5,000 bill for hip replacement or periodontitis. To help pet owners save on pet bills and keep their pets healthy, Native Pet put together a list of key areas to focus on to save money on long-term costs related to pet health.
Establish annual ‘well pet’ visits to the vet Pet owners shouldn’t leave their four-legged friends out when planning family checkups. Depending on the pet’s needs, a trip to the vet clinic at least once every year is a good starting point. Getting checked yearly can catch silent killers, like tumors, in their tracks before it requires pet surgery and several trips to the hospital. These appointments help veterinarians detect early signs of sickness and provide preventative treatments like vaccines and parasite prevention. Routine checkups can add years to your pet’s life and save pet owners from significant bills in the long run. It’s important to note that, unlike checkups, vaccines may not be annual.
Keep your pet at a healthy weight More than half of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese, according to 2018 data from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
A smart way to cut costs and keep your pet healthy is to buy nutritious food in bulk. This way, you keep your pet fit by maintaining a balanced diet and setting designated meal times, all while cutting the number of trips to the store. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight also saves time, money, and worry during future vet appointments because obesity increases the risk factor for many serious medical conditions. Some of these health issues include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. With a proper diet, pet owners can help lower the risk of these health problems—and the costs that come with them.
Maintain a regular dental care routine. A dental care routine helps pet owners keep up with their pet’s oral health. As pets sniff and snack daily, a buildup of food, saliva, and bacteria forms plaque on their teeth. If left unattended, plaque hardens to form tartar, which requires professional dental cleaning.
Nipping the buildup of plaque and tartar in the bud prevents dental conditions like periodontitis, tooth infection, cavities, and gingivitis. Owners can prevent these conditions by cleaning their pet’s teeth daily. Dental gel and chews, water additives, and therapeutic diets are also preventative ways to keep teeth healthy. Dental care ranges between $450 and $1,000, depending on various factors. If these prices seem overwhelming, prevention is the name of the game.
Groom your pet often. Regular grooming is an important part of a pet’s well-being. It often paints a mental picture of a total pet makeover, but it doesn’t have to be so elaborate. Part of grooming includes daily brushing or combing (as suitable for the coat), cleaning the ears and teeth, and clipping nails. Proper grooming leaves pets with better hygiene and smell. These sessions also allow pet parents to perform hands-on examinations on their pets, meaning they’ll be able to spot potential health issues. Spotting issues like infection or parasites early make the treatment process easier, saving time and money.
Invest in parasite prevention efforts.
Parasites can cause many health problems in pets, from minor irritation to significant illnesses. Most infections are contracted in the yard, park, or other public areas pets frequently visit. These parasites can also threaten the health of pet owners and others around them.
The first step to preventing parasite infection is good hygiene and regular grooming. These measures go a long way in protecting pets. Some extra measures that help keep pesky parasites away include using topical creams, flea collars, and oral medications. For adult animals, pet owners need to repeat the treatment at least four times each year. For the younger or high-risk animals, it’s advisable to increase the number based on the advice of a veterinarian.
This story originally appeared on Native Pet and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.