If you’ve ever thought about becoming a pet parent, you may have looked into the price of purchasing or adopting a pet. You probably researched the price for your specific type of animal and the cost of food, toys, and basic items such as a pet bed and food and water dishes. Unfortunately, this is where some new pet owners may think their expenses end, but there are other financial responsibilities of being a pet owner that they should be aware of.
We want our clients to be the most prepared when they become a pet owner, so we have compiled a list of common medical expenses that new pet owners may not have considered before, along with some resources that may be of use.
Even if you purchase a fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered pet from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter, your pet will need additional medical care after you bring him home. Healthy pets should be seen at least once a year by a veterinarian, receive the recommended vaccines, as well as any additional tests that may be recommended for the type, age, breed, and overall health of the animal. Additionally, it is important for most pets to be on flea (dogs and cats), heartworm, and tick (dogs only) preventative to help ensure they remain in optimal health and comfort.
Some more expensive treatments that pet owners should anticipate can include surgical procedures and diagnostic bloodwork and/or testing. Any of these treatments can become expensive, especially if an outside lab needs to be used.
While many pets are fine to be on an over-the-counter diet, it is not uncommon for pets to require a prescription diet.
Prescription diets can help with a wide range of health concerns such as urinary health, oral health, digestive health, weight management, and even brain health.
Your veterinarian can best prescribe any of these diets should they be needed. Prescription diets may be a bit more expensive than your typical drug store pet food, but they can be vital to your pet’s comfort and quality of life.
It is possible that in your pet’s lifetime he may experience an emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Like most emergencies, they can come any time, day or night, and could potentially occur after the hours of your regular veterinary clinic hours.
In these instances, you may find yourself needing to visit an emergency pet hospital. These emergency facilities are very convenient and necessary when your pet needs help after hours, but can typically be more expensive than services at your regular clinic.
How to Prepare
Delaying or refusing care to your pet due to financial reasons can be dangerous for your pet, so it is always important to be prepared for routine and emergency pet medical care. Here are some tips to help you best prepare:
- When purchasing preventative flea and tick medication, consider purchasing in bulk. Many companies offer a discounted price or even a rebate if you purchase multiple months’ worth of preventative at one time. If cost is a factor, talk to your veterinarian so he or she can recommend the best preventative for your pet and your budget.
- It is a good idea to have an “emergency fund” or “pet savings account” for your pet’s health care in case of emergency situations and other healthcare needs.
- Talk to your veterinarian about what to expect for annual preventative care visits, as well as any testing that may be common for your pet’s age or medical condition. Planning ahead and saving for these anticipated costs can help ensure your pet gets everything he needs when the time comes.
- Some pet parents also elect to invest in pet insurance to help offset the out-of-pocket expense of veterinary care. The cost of this insurance is based on the carrier as well as the health of the pet being insured. Many companies offer this type of insurance with plans that can cover anything from just preventative care to comprehensive medical care for pets with chronic or ongoing conditions. Talk with your veterinarian to see if they accept the carrier you are interested in insuring with, or if they have any recommendations to aid in your search.
It is always our goal to help our clients and their pets experience the best veterinary care possible, and that includes preparation! For more information about medical costs, pet insurance, or our services, contact Animal Focus Vet, Inc. today.