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Keeping Your Friendly Pets

3 Tips: Keeping Your Friendly Pets From Breaking The Bank

 Keeping Your Friendly PetsWe all love our pets. Cats, dogs, ferrets and furry babies of all sorts are members of the family. They eat and sleep under the same roof. They give affection when you’ve had a rough day. Your fridge, mantle and social media are likely full of pictures of your animals clowning around, just like any other family member.

Also like every other member of your family, if your pets get sick, they need medical care. Medical care for a family member – whether they are furry or not – can add up. Unlike what you have access to for the human members of your family, veterinary insurance is something offered by very few employers.

This unfortunate circumstance can set families up to spend a fair amount of money to take care of their pets. With that said, deciding when to take your pet to the vet and how far you should go to help treat whatever might be wrong is often dependent upon the cost of treatment for many. Let’s take a look at three steps you can take to keep your furry friends safe and your savings account intact.

1. Stock a veterinary first aid kit

Lots of pet health crises can be handled by a compassionate hand and some basic interventions. Scrapes, burns, and bruises can all be handled without professional intervention. Many accidental ingestion incidents can be solved with an expert consultation and a little bit of caring.

A first-aid kit for pets looks a lot like a first-aid kit for humans. You should have supplies for dealing with cuts and scrapes, like gauze, adhesive tape and an antiseptic spray or cream. For general illnesses, you need a thermometer to check for fever (make sure to get a fever thermometer- small mammals have natural body temperatures between 100 and 103), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions, and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if necessary. You should also include activated charcoal or milk of magnesia to protect against accidental poisoning. Other things to include in an emergency first-aid kit include a blanket, a leash and a muzzle.

Before you take any steps to heal your pet, speak to an expert. Many veterinarians have emergency contact hours where they may be willing to walk you through basic first aid. TheASPCA also maintains an animal poison control number where you can speak to a trained representative. They can tell you if you need to induce vomiting, what dosage of activated charcoal to administer, or if you need to seek in-person veterinary help immediately.

2. Negotiate

Most veterinarians got into their practice because they genuinely love animals. They want to help your pet feel better. If you’re not sure about your ability to pay, be up front about that. There may be several options available to you. No one – especially your vet – wants to see an animal life lost over finances.

If it’s prescription medication your vet recommends, you may be able to have it filled elsewhere for considerably less. Online pharmacies are usually able to offer discounted prices on many medications, and animal medications are no exception. These institutions may require a phone call or a fax from your vet, but most veterinary offices are well-equipped to provide that authorization.

3.) Consider pet insurance

“Pet insurance” sounds like a ridiculous luxury good for the mega-rich. In truth, it’s no different than any other kind of insurance that protects against expensive calamity. Compared to a veterinary emergency, these plans are very affordable. If you have an older pet, it’s worth considering.

Programs like Pet Assure offer a 25% discount on any veterinary services you need at “in-network” veterinarians. There’s no deductible and no limits or exclusions. At $100 per year for 1 dog, the program offers considerable savings.

Other programs offer more coverage for more money. Healthy Paws, for example, offers 90% coverage for about $230 per year. How much you choose to insure is a matter of personal risk tolerance, but getting some form of insurance is a great way to get peace of mind.