Nobody likes unexpected costs for anything, it’s especially more stressful when it relates to health. You’ll have no doubt heard the mantra that prevention is better than cure, and it is equally true when it comes to pet health. We’ll take a look at 7 tips for pet owners that can help to postpone or prevent expensive vet bills.
This might sound counter intuitive if you’re looking to save on vet bills, but making sure that you keep regular appointments with your chosen vet can be vital in understanding whether your pet is in good health, this can be as simple as weighing your pet to more sophisticated checks. This can help to flag up indications of illness or disease in your pet much earlier meaning you may be able to avoid a costlier treatment in future. For most pet owners appointments tend to be annual check ups, but it doesn’t hurt to make these more regular if you can and want to.
Both medication and treatment is something you should shop around for. In non-emergency cases you can use vet advice lines (such as FirstVet or Joii) which give access to qualified vet nurses 24 hours a day, it’s always worth contacting them to see if a vet visit is worthwhile based on the symptoms you describe. This could save you money on consultation fees and out of hours fees depending upon when the incident occurs.
Should you find that treatment or surgery is needed then this again is something that you can shop around for. You don’t always need to go with the vet you are registered with as the same treatment may be cheaper elsewhere.
Finally, if the treatment you need is not surgery but rather medication, then there are plenty of reputable and accredited online pet pharmacies that you can use which are often much cheaper to buy from rather than through your vet. Apoquel for example is around 40% cheaper online than through a vet that we contacted.
There are a number of essential vaccinations and booster that are recommended for each dogs and cats. For cats there are 3 main vaccinations that are required help to protect against are:
Vaccinations are usually administered at 9 weeks old, with booster jabs at 3 months. From there every year extra booster vaccinations are recommended.
For dogs the core vaccinations needed protect against:
These vaccinations are usually administered between 8-10 weeks with boosters given every year thereafter – with the exception of Parvovirus which requires a booster every 3 years.
Keeping up to date with your pets vaccinations is important, particularly if you have insurance as if you fail to keep them up to date, some insurers will reject claims for conditions that vaccinations could have prevented. Find out more about the most important vaccinations to give your cat or dog.
Other preventative healthcare techniques include micro-chipping, spaying and neutering alongside vaccinations.
Giving your pet the adequate amount of exercise, meaning not too much or too little, is critical for good physical and mental health of your pet. Knowing how your pet’s breed and age is critical to understanding how much exercise your pet needs. Over-exercising is rarer but can be as bad as under-exercising your pet, particularly in breeds that are prone to breathing difficulties and over heating.
The PDSA has a helpful guide to understanding an average amount of time different pets need exercising for.
Remember that your pets daily exercise requirements can be split up into 2 or 3 different walks through the day, in fact, this is recommended.
Exercise for cats clearly isn’t always a walk on a lead – although that is possible. Instead mimicking their natural behaviour such as chasing string or using or making cat toys helps them to exercise in short bursts and then rest. Stimulating them both physically and mentally.
The other half of the exercise coin is ensuring a healthy and balanced diet. Particularly when it comes to indoor cats or smaller dogs, over-eating can be a real problem. Regular veterinary checks will help you to recognise whether you pet is a healthy weight and if not what action is needed to improve their condition.
There are a number of different schools of thoughts to diet for pets with new trends for raw pet food, ancient grains and bespoke pet food on the rise.
Now you can find new technology such as smart dog bowls which can be programmed and linked to your devices to let you know how much your pet is eating and whether they are getting under-fed or over-fed, allowing you to make necessary adjustments in future.
If your cat or dog has been told they should make adjustments to their diet, then you may find that pet insurers can help to cover the cost. Find out more about diet and prescription food cover.
Stopping negative behaviours and traits through puppy training and socialisation can be helpful in preventing professional treatment to weed out those behaviours later in life. Costs for animal behaviorists can be expensive depending upon the number of sessions needed and the problems that need to be resolved.
Training your pet early is fundamental to ensure that behavioural problems and destructive traits don’t become common. By doing this, you can also reduce the risk of your pet causing clawing and scratching – even destroying – your property at home.
As we’ve discussed above, understanding the importance of how much exercise your pet needs and whether or not they are fulfilling those needs is key. Now there are pet tracking devices that can give you a good idea of where you pet is and how much exercise they are getting.
Devices such as PitPat, Pawfit, Tractive and more can give you a good view of key information such as steps taken, calories burnt, active hours and inactive hours.
With this information you can accurately understand how your pet’s health is changing over time. Again allowing you to make adjustments if necessary. This is all worked out and bespoke to your pet’s age, breed and gender.
Finally, another preventative measure is to consider taking out pet insurance to cover you in the case that your vet does require medical treatment. There is always the possibility of your pet suffering from an accident or contracting an illness, no matter how well and responsibly you look after your pet. Purchasing dog insurance or cat insurance, particularly when your pet is healthy, could be beneficial as you will be covered for conditions that arise throughout their lives, and you won’t have to worry about trying to find cover for pre-existing conditions. If you are worried about the cost of pet insurance, happily we have some tips on how you can save money on your pet insurance too.