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8 Ways to Avoid Pricey Vet Visits

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According to a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 70 percent of US households (90.5 million families) own a pet. From the 69 million dog-loving homes and 45.3 million cat households, all the way down to the 2.9 million families hosting saltwater fish, we really do love our pets. But it’s fair to say, we do not love the high cost of the vet visits needed to maintain our furry friends’ health or to treat them when they’re injured.

As technology advances and treatment options proliferate, pet parents are spending more and more at the vet to keep their beloved fur babies healthy and living longer. Then there’s the mind-boggling array of organic food and supplement choices to consider at no small cost.

 

Your Vet Bill

Ben Franklin’s quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is just as relevant today as it was three centuries ago — especially when it comes to afflictions that can befall your pet. A trip to the vet will always ding your wallet, but one way to minimize the expense is to prevent small issues from becoming bigger.

The top three reasons dogs need to see the vet are for skin conditions, stomach issues, (usually caused by ingesting something they shouldn’t) and ear infections. For our feline friends, the most common issue is digestive in nature followed by urinary tract infections, then skin conditions.

We’ve broken down the cost of common procedures, although they will vary depending on your location and your vet’s rates. If you use an organization such as the Humane Society or SPCA, the rates will typically be lower.

  • Basic visit: $45 – $60
  • Extensive physical: $100 – $350
  • Ear care and medication: $120 – $150
  • Heartworm testing: $50 – $65
  • Dental care: $500 – $1200
  • Fecal exam: $25 – $60
  • Parasite treatment: $400 – $1200

Keeping our four-legged friends safe and healthy is the goal of most pet owners, so certain expenses cannot be avoided. If you follow the steps below, you’ll be able to control costs and minimize the need for expensive treatments and medications:

  1. Keep up on preventative care. Don’t skip the annual well visit even if your pet seems in perfect health. This is when you can catch issues while they’re small and ask your vet about any behavioral or dietary issues too. If your local vet’s rates are high, shop around.
  2. Stay current on vaccinations. But first, ask your vet which shots your pet really needs based on its age and health. Also, take into consideration whether it’s an indoor only or outdoor creature. When you can, choose three-year vaccinations instead of one. This strategy not only saves you money, but time too.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene. Just like for humans, healthy teeth and gums mean better overall health for your pooch or kitty. Thankfully, your pet needs their teeth brushed only twice a week as opposed to our twice a day routine. You can buy toothpaste, brushes, and dental chew treats, which will cost you a lot less than a professional cleaning.
  4. Shop around for prescription items. Most vets mark up the medications they sell, so ask for a hard copy of any prescription your pet needs so you can shop around. You’ll often find lower prices online. Or ask your vet for free samples especially if you’re not sure a medication will agree with your pet.
  5. Be diligent on diet. Make sure you’re not overfeeding your beloved fur baby. The quality of food is just as important as the quantity. It can be tempting to opt for bargain chow especially if you’re on a budget, but it’s false economy to give your pet cheap food containing ingredients that can be harmful to its health over time.
  6. Get plenty exercise. Again, this is key for both human and pet health. The bigger your dog is, the more walking, swimming, or playing fetch it needs. If your kitty stays inside, it will need even more stimulation than an outdoor cat, but all felines need playtime and toys.
  7. Protect from poison. Keep pesticides and other harmful household items out of reach of curious dogs or cats. Swimming pool and hot tub chemicals can be fatal if ingested. Food items that are delicious and nourishing for us can make your pet ill or worse, so it pays to learn which foods are dangerous for our four-legged friends.
  8. Buy pet health insurance. Wawanesa partners with Embrace, rated #1 Pet Insurance Provider as rated by Forbes. Embrace stands out from the pack by:
    • Covering all eligible accidents, illnesses, and vet visit fees.
    • Offering 24/7 access to veterinary professionals for emergency support and pet care questions.
    • Rewarding pet parents with the healthy pet diminishing deductible, which reduces your pet's deductible by $50 for every claim-free year
 

Pet Insurance Stats

More and more pet parents are realizing that an insurance policy makes economic sense given the rising cost of veterinary care. A report from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) shows that the total number of pets insured in the U.S. at the end of 2021 was 3.9 million, a 28 percent increase since 2020. Eighty-two percent of American family dogs are insured versus only 18 percent of our cats.

Fun fact: Lassie, the famous TV collie, received the first pet insurance policy issued in the U.S. in 1982.

Prevention and pet insurance are your top two tools to keep your pet well. If you follow the suggestions noted here, you’ll be rewarded by a happy animal companion by your side for many years to come.

 

 

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Disclaimer:

The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.