We love our pets and they are as much a part of our family as our children – without the tuition costs! These professional recommendations will help you to maintain your pet’s health with the lowest overall costs and aggravation. If you are interested in additional ways to save money on your pet’s care – check out the resource box on the bottom.
1. Annual Exams are Vital
Bringing your pet to the vet once a year is a simple, effective way to maintain its good health.
Just like you, your pet can get heart problems, develop arthritis, or have a toothache. Treating a problem early increases the chance for success, minimizes discomfort for the pet and costs less in the long run.
Pets older than 6 months need yearly exams, Cohn suggests, while puppies less than 6 months and senior pets should have wellness exams twice a year.
2. Spay and Neuter Your Pets
Eight million to 10 million pets end up in U.S. shelters every year. Some are lost, some have been abandoned, and some are homeless.
Spaying and neutering doesn’t just cut down on the number of unwanted pets; it has other substantial benefits for your pet. Studies show it also lowers the risk of certain cancers and reduces a pet’s risk of getting lost by decreasing the tendency to roam.
3. Prevent Parasites
Fleas are the most common external parasite that can plague pets, and they can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots, and infection. Fleas can also introduce other parasites into your cat or dog. All it takes is for your pet to swallow one flea, and it can to end up with tapeworms, the most common internal parasite affecting dogs and cats.
In general, if your pet is itching, biting or scratching, chances are it’s because of fleas. Year-round prevention is key, regular flea and intestinal parasite control, as well as heartworm prevention is necessary in endemic areas.
4. Get Regular Vaccinations
For optimal health, pets need regular vaccinations against common ills, such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and canine hepatitis.
How often your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on their age, lifestyle, health, and risks, so talk to your vet about the vaccinations that make sense for your pet.
5. Microchip Your Pet
Microchips can save your pet’s life – and they generally cost less than $50. Lack of identification means as few as 14% of pets ever find their way home after getting lost. Fortunately, “micro-chipping allows for the pet to be reunited with its family,” no matter how far away it is when found.
About the size of a rice grain, a microchip is inserted, painlessly, under the skin in less than a second. It needs no battery and can be scanned by a vet or an animal control officer in seconds.
Be sure to register the chip ID with the chip’s maker. A current registration is the vital last step in making certain your pet can always find his way home.