- May 16, 2018
I have a ten-year-old Beagle named Slugger. Even at his age, Slugger is still a hyperactive ball of fur and happiness. That isn’t to say he hasn’t needed his share of veterinary care - he is getting long in the tooth, after all. Last year, Slugger contracted chronic kidney disease (CKD). The CKD was an effect of his diet early in his life. After the diagnosis, Slugger has to take maintenance meds, and be taken to the vet for regular check-ups.
Apart from the obvious emotional stress associated with vet visits (on both pets and owners), there is also the financial pressure. I had to find ways to minimize the cost of these pet visits without compromising on quality.
I’m sure there are a lot of fur parents on this forum - and that’s why I’ll be sharing several ways to ease the financial burden of vet visits.
But before we get to the list, I need to point out that the first few items in this list are more preventative.
Do them as early as possible in your pet’s life, and it might just lessen the need for veterinary care (and the associated costs) later on. It’s best if you take these preventative measures early on, but to be honest, it’s never too late to do these. The important part is you do them now.
Without further ado, here’s my list of methods for saving on vet bills.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
No, not for you - for your pets (although losing a few pounds might be a good idea for me, too). Ask your vet about your pet’s ideal weight. Your pet’s weight is directly affected by their diet, so you may also want to ask about which foods to give your fur baby.
Like it is with humans, maintaining an ideal weight will help prevent or delay certain problems later on, such as heart and joint problems. These problems are commonly associated with obesity, and steps must be made to help prevent them.
A diet that is high in fluids and low in salt will also help keep their kidneys healthy. This is something I had to learn the hard way with Slugger. Again, ask your vet about which foods will be appropriate for your pet.
Stay Updated on Vaccines
You know the old saying - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is particularly true when it comes to vaccines. Trust me, nobody wants to deal with diseases such as rabies, canine distemper, and parvovirus. Especially when it only takes a few visits to the vet to immunize them against these diseases.
Give ‘Em Love!
I remember the day I found out Slugger had CKD. The prognosis was serious, but treatable. My vet was amazed at Slugger’s resilience and said I must have been doing something right. That something is really simple - I give Slugger lots of love. That includes lots of play time, lots of attention, and lots of chill time. I want Slugger to feel loved, and I really think that love has helped him fight through the disease.
Try Pet Insurance
Since I’ve already mentioned preventative measures, here’s another one: pet insurance. I was initially surprised to hear there was even such a thing - I thought only people get health insurance. But it really makes sense. Pets are beloved members of the family, so they also deserve the best healthcare we can give them.
I was lucky enough to learn about this before Slugger got his CKD. I was able to enroll him before the early symptoms came up. When he did get sick, the insurance was such a big help with offsetting the costs (which were very high) of his treatments.
This article isn’t about which pet insurance companies you should choose. Every pet and fur parent has different needs. But you could try Googling for companies that operate in your city, and look up some reviews on them.
As Your Vet About Payment Plans
If you don’t have insurance, or if you do, but the insurance company won’t cover the entire cost, it won’t hurt to ask your vet if you can pay in installment. It’s not an unreasonable thing to ask. Veterinary clinics know that costs are high, and not everyone may have enough money lying around all the time. Just ask. In my experience, most legit veterinary clinics will be willing to offer deferred payment plans.
There’s No Shame Asking for Help
If you’ve exhausted all other efforts, it might be time to swallow your pride and ask for help. Just because you have to swallow your pride doesn’t mean asking for help is shameful or an embarrassment. You’re asking for help for your pet, not for yourself. That’s actually something to be proud of.
The first place you could check with is your local SPCA or Humane Society offices. You can also look for pet charities that operate in your area. If you want to take your quest for help online, you can start a GoFundMe page for your pet.
These are all legit ways to help offset the high cost of veterinary care! Caring for a sick pet can be emotionally taxing. Be easing some of the financial stress, we can focus our energies towards actually caring for our pet and being there for them.
This article is based on my own experiences caring for my sick dog, Slugger. Now it’s your turn to share! Have you cared for a sick pet? What did you have to go through, and what did you do to help lessen the cost of veterinary care?
Let’s hear your stories!