Don't let Fido's medical bills make your budget sick
Reducing Vet Bills
by Pam Hutzler
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We Love Our Pets!
According to the HumaneSociety.org, in 2012, approximately 164 million households in the US had pets, translating to 62% of all American households. So, it's fair to say that we love our pets! But, along with the love and companionship they offer may come outrageous vet bills that can drive you into debt. If you're one of these pet-loving families, consider these easy ways to reduce vet bills.
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Find a College of Veterinary Medicine
There are currently 30 schools or colleges of veterinary medicine that are accredited or have accreditation pending in the United States. You can find a veterinary school near you by visiting the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website. Many of these schools offer low-cost care if you don't mind your pet being treated by a student working under the supervision of a professor of veterinary medicine. While it's not guaranteed to be less expensive across the board, it may be beneficial to include this option when comparison shopping for veterinary care.
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Keep Your Pet in Good Health
Prevention is the best medicine. A balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise is not only good for our two-legged readers but also for their four-legged companions. Also, with regular tooth care, nail trimming and grooming, your pet will stay healthier and feel pampered.
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Get Out of the City
When looking for a vet, consider vets in surrounding rural areas as their prices tend to be less than their "citified" counterparts. In my personal experience, I found that a vet that's 15 minutes away charges a fraction of what the vet down the street charges. Although we are paying a little more for the gas to drive there, we still save a considerable amount of money on vet bills for our four pets. And, by combining vet visits for our pets, we are able to reduce any damage that's done to our gas budget. So, it's definitely worth a few calls for the frugal pet owner.
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Consider Pet Insurance
If you know that you'd pay just about anything to keep your beloved pet beside you, then pet insurance is probably a good idea for you. ConsumerAdvocates.org lists the 10 best pet insurances available. Check it out!
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Visit The Humane Society's Website
If you're having trouble affording your pet, The Humane Society has put together a database of national and state resources for pet owners in need. You'll find it here. Please keep in mind that each of the organizations listed is independent and has their own set of guidelines. You'll have to investigate each organization separately to determine if you qualify for assistance.
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Ask for Alternative Payment Plans
Many vets will adjust their payment plan if you explain your situation. Most don't want you to switch vets just because another doctor charges lower rates. If your vet absolutely will not work with you, it's time to move on to another vet with more flexible payment arrangements.
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Reduce the Cost of Other Pet Supplies
Veterinary bills are not the only place to introduce money-saving strategies. If you can reduce the cost of pet food and other supplies, any money saved can be used to pay the vet. Look for pet food coupons or consider learning to make your own pet food.
However, when it comes to your pet's food, you should always keep your pet's health as your top priority. Food packed with unnecessary fillers may not be the healthiest diet for your beloved pet. A bad diet can lead to bad health, which may translate into more money spent on pet healthcare in the long term. Know the ingredients and their order in the ingredients list with the first several being of the most concern. Remember that any money saved that puts your pet's health at risk is just not worth it.
Take the Next Step:
- Visit the TDS library for more on reducing vet bills.
- Want more pet savings? Visit our Pet Care for Pennies Pinterest board.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
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