The average US pet owner spends more than $600 a year on veterinary care, this rises to more than $900 if a pet has a chronic condition according to the published data.
According to the Pet Healthonomics Survey, 75% pet owners are concerned about the costs of pet health care, and many use cost-cutting strategies as a result.
Some strategies, like skipping vet visits, may backfire.
The survey found that 67% of cat owners do not take their pets in for a yearly check-up, and 43% said they only visit the veterinarian when there is an active health issue.
By the time this happens the pet owner may spend more to treat the pet for a condition that may have been preventable.
A minority of pet owners (42%) say they have saved on veterinary costs by learning more about preventive healthcare, and this is an area Key importance.
By taking steps to give you pet a healthy lifestyle, you can actively support his health and, in so doing, save money on healthcare costs.
Preventive Strategies to Save Money on Veterinary Care
- Feed a Fresh, Balanced Species-Appropriate Diet: This is #1 because it will provide your pet with the nutrients he needs to flourish, support his immune system health and keep his weight in check, provided you’re feeding the appropriate portion size. Avoid feeding highly processed, high-carbohydrate and low-moisture foods including most commercial kibbles and low-quality canned foods. This type of junk-food diet is the opposite of what a pet is designed to eat, and feeding such foods to your pet will lead to significant metabolic and physiologic stress. Convenience pet foods have become the root cause of most of the inflammatory processes and degenerative diseases that plague today’s dogs and cats.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight in dogs and cats can shorten lifespan and lead to conditions such as arthritis, bladder and urinary tract disease, liver disease, diabetes and more. Feeding your pet a balanced, species-appropriate diet is Key for healthy weight loss. Add in careful portion control, aerobic exercise and active play, and your pet should be well on his way to a healthy weight.
- Minimize Stress: Stress takes a toll on pets just like it does on people. Further, if your pet is bored, he may look to unhealthy behaviors for entertainment. To minimize your pet’s stress, remove any obvious stressors and continue with a balanced, species-appropriate diet, plenty of exercise and environmental enrichment.
- Provide Pure, Fresh Water: If your pet is not adequately hydrated, it puts extra stress on his kidneys and heart while slowing blood flow through his liver and spleen. It can be difficult to know how much your pet is drinking, but one of the best ways to encourage adequate water intake is by providing fresh, pure water daily. Your pet’s water bowl should be washed daily and filled with filtered water. You can further encourage adequate hydration, especially in cats, by offering a variety of water bowls around your house or using a drinking fountain, in addition to feeding moisture-rich food. You can also add small amounts of water or broth to your pet’s meals.
- Pay Attention to Hygiene: Big problems can be prevented by paying attention to small details i.e., trim your pet’s nails regularly, clean his ears if necessary and brush his teeth daily. Regular brushing will help your pet’s coat stay healthy, too, while washing off his paws after coming in from outdoors can minimize his ingestion of lawn chemicals, and pollutants picked up from the street.
Seek Proactive Preventive Veterinary Care
It’s important to bring your pet to the Vet for regular check-ups.
Truly effective preventive healthcare involves regular monitoring of your pet’s health status and taking proactive steps as necessary to prevent the development of disease.
This is not a 1-size-fits-all approach; it should be tailored to your individual pet’s needs.
Proactive vets advocate the use of vaccine titers in place of unnecessary, repeated vaccines.
The Three Pillars of Health as a proactive approach to wellness, they are:
- Balanced species-appropriate nutrition, as described above
- A sound, resilient frame. This aspect of your pet’s health involves maintenance of his musculoskeletal system and organs. Periodically evaluating organ function is critical to assure all body systems are functioning optimally.
- A balanced, functional immune system.The goal here is to keep your pet’s immune system in balance. It should protect against pathogens but not be over-reactive to the point of creating allergies and other autoimmune conditions. This is accomplished by titering in place of vaccines and evaluating environmental chemical load.
These 3 Pillars involve different steps, such as tracking changes in your pet’s blood work over time to monitor organ function, regularly reviewing physical exam changes and dietary needs and supplement protocol reviews as pets age.
It is Key to monitor these things while your pet is well to avoid preventable disease. If you wait until your pet is already sick to seek veterinary care, it may be too late.
So, take your pet to the vet at least once a year or twice a year if you’re managing a chronic condition.
Between visits to the vet, keep a close eye on your pet’s health by conducting an at-home physical exam.
By helping your pet lead a healthy lifestyle and seeking proactive preventive veterinary care, you can minimize your pet’s healthcare costs while maximizing his longevity.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively, it goes for pets too.
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