According to an AP-Petside.com poll, pet owners spend more than $500 a year in vet costs. Depending upon the age and health of your pet, some of you might pay much more than that. But even though that expert assistance is well worth it, it is possible to save a few bucks (or a lot of bucks!) when it comes to health care for your pooch or kitty.
SHOP AROUND FOR PET INSURANCE – Pet insurance can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 a month, but it can be a lifesaver for your pocketbook when it comes to expensive operations and procedures. Since pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, the best time to insure your pet is when they’re younger.
SCORE DISCOUNTS WITH PET ASSURE – If insurance is outside your price range, you might consider a more affordable option like Pet Assure. The plan offers up to 25 percent off all medical services and 50 percent off pet products from participating vets. And at just $99 a year for dogs, $79 for cats and $149 for a four-pet family plan, it can pay for itself with just a few visits.
GET A WRITTEN ESTIMATE – Imagine being told your car repairs will cost $300 and then being charged $700. The same can happen with vet bills. A written estimate can help you avoid “surprise” costs and make sure both you and the vet are on the same page when it comes to your pet’s care.
GET REGULAR CHECK-UPS – Can you save money by going to the vet more often? You bet! Regular check ups for your pet are like yearly tune-ups for your car – they’ll help diagnose smaller problems before they become expensive bigger problems.
VISIT DURING REGULAR HOURS – Emergency visits, either after hours or during working hours but without an appointment, can be costly. If your pet is truly sick or injured, definitely take him to see the vet immediately, but if he’s merely under the weather and can wait 24 hours or so, go ahead and make an appointment.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISCOUNTS – There are all sorts of vet care discounts available to pet owners. Those cost-cutters include senior and veteran discounts, but can also be used to save money if you’re a multi-pet owner or the owner of a stray or rescued animal. Not all vets offer discounts, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask!