Pet Care Costs

Pet Care Costs

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Preventive care for your pets

Keeping pet care costs down can be as simple as taking good care of your animal. You can avoid many issues by making sure your pet has what it needs to live a long, healthy life. For example, keep your pet hydrated with clean, fresh water that is replaced daily. Feed your animal the correct amount of high-quality food that is right for their age and size. Overfeeding or nutrient-poor food can lead to problems like obesity. Make sure your pet gets the right amount of exercise — from the smallest hamster to the largest Great Dane. Protect your pets against accidental poisoning by patrolling your yard for mushrooms or noxious plants, and keeping potentially toxic houseplants out of their reach.

Give your pets the attention they need and deserve. Bathing, grooming or brushing not only keeps them looking their best, but can also limit bacteria, allergens and parasites that cause skin issues or infections. Don’t skip routine check-ups and vaccinations. Catching an issue early can often make a great deal of difference to your pet’s wellness and your wallet. Finally, spay or neuter your pet. It can help prevent certain diseases and cancers.

Is pet insurance worth having?

Pets are often considered beloved members of the family. As such, does it make sense to have health insurance for them? Pet insurance policies are not all created equal. For that reason, the answer depends on your personal finances. If there isn’t room in your budget for a veterinary procedure, then a sound insurance policy could help you cover critical treatment. If you have an animal breed that is known to have expensive medical issues, then it may be beneficial to consider insurance. But before you purchase a pet policy, do your research. According to ConsumerMan on NBCNEWS.com, you need to know:

  • Is there a physical exam required to get coverage?
  • Is there a waiting period?
  • What percentage of the bill do they pay — after the deductible?
  • Are payments capped in any way?
  • Are there co-pays?
  • Does the plan cover pre-existing conditions?
  • What about chronic or recurring medical problems?
  • Can you choose any vet or animal hospital?
  • Are prescription drugs covered?
  • Are you covered if you travel with your pet?
  • Does the policy pay if your pet is being treated and dies?

Also, be aware that insurance premiums rise as your pet ages, so it’s important to have a clear picture of the monthly cost during every stage of your pet’s life.

Vet bill breakdown

Did you know that the average veterinary office visit runs about $45, and that doesn’t include the costs of various tests or exams? Vet bills can vary widely depending on your location, plus the age, size and type of your pet. Even so, there are some averages you should keep in mind, so your next vet visit doesn’t put you into sticker shock. PetLifeToday.com reports that surgical vet visits cost owners a yearly average of $474 for dogs, $245 for cats, and $45 for birds, while emergency vet visits cost owners a yearly average of $349 for dogs, $154 for cats, and $107 for birds. According to website ValuePenguin, the five of the most common dog conditions and their corresponding vet fees are:

  1. Ear infection: $149.30
  2. Allergies: $234.84
  3. Skin infection: $175.97
  4. Upset stomach: $385.46
  5. Diarrhea: $203.14

And for cats:

  1. Urinary tract condition: $295.18
  2. Upset stomach: $385.46
  3. Renal failure: $485.38
  4. Diarrhea: $203.14
  5. Allergies: $234.84

It’s important to understand and be prepared for the long-term care of your pet. For instance, certain animal breeds that are prone to particular conditions or degenerative ailments can cost their owners thousands of dollars. Make sure you’re financially ready to handle whatever Fido or Fifi needs to be well.