Times are tough financially, and we are all saving money where we can. However, our beloved pets should not suffer as each of us tightens our wallets. There are many things that you can do, and resources that you can take advantage of, to keep your furry family members healthy and happy.
Practice Preventative Care: By preventing the many diseases for which vaccines and tests are available, you can save a lot of money. This includes heartworms, internal and external parasites like fleas, as well as infectious diseases like parvovirus and distemper. Just consider that the cost to treat a dog for heartworms will likely run in the neighborhood of $400, whereas you should be able to have him tested and purchase a year’s supply of preventative for less than $100.
Have Your Pets Spayed or Neutered: Not only are you preventing the birth of additional homeless animals that could result from leaving your dog or cat intact, but the procedures also prevent several different cancers and infections, decrease roaming and improve the behavior of your pet. The consequences of not having your pet spayed or neutered can easily include a costly veterinary bill.
Keep Your Pet Fit and Trim: The majority of dogs and cats are overweight, increasing their chances of developing arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Employ your veterinarian’s help in developing a weight loss program. A gradual, well-planned diet is especially important in cats since a sudden weight loss can be devastating.
Talk with Your Veterinarian about Costs: Have your pets visit their veterinarian for wellness examinations at least once a year. Your veterinarian might not recommend annual vaccinations for most dogs and cats, but their annual physical examination is still very important. These visits can catch little problems before they become more serious and costly issues. Ask about special offers for Dental Health Month (February), multi-pet and senior discounts. Check into health insurance and payment options such as CareCredit.
Learn To Do Things Yourself: With a little practice you can learn some basic grooming like bathing and trimming nails. Ask your vet or groomer to demonstrate so you can stretch the time out between professional visits. Learn to brush your pet’s teeth. It will result in more time between cleanings and numerous health benefits.
Accident Proof Their Environment: Emergency veterinary visits are probably some of the most expensive visits your pet will ever have to make. Keeping cats indoors and dogs on leashes or in fenced yards can prevent many tragedies. Also go through your house and rid it of known poisonous hazards. There is an extensive list at the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center page.
The Richmond SPCA knows in difficult times, even basic care may be difficult to afford. That is why we offer so many resources as part of our Project Safety Net pet-retention program.
Here are just a few of the services we offer:
- Free and Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic
- Low-Cost Wellness Clinic
- Free Pet Pantry
- Trap-Neuter-Return for Feral Cats
We are dedicated to providing the resources pet guardians need in order to keep their pets united with their families. By making this commitment, we reduce the number of homeless pets entering our shelters each year while stressing the responsibilities of pet guardianship.
Dr. Angela Ivey is the director of veterinary services at the Richmond SPCA. To read her complete biography, or that of our other bloggers, please click here.