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When a pet gets sick, vets can be costly. Here's how to keep your furry friends from breaking the bank

Posted in Spending & Managing Money on March 1, 2019

We all love our pets. Cats, dog, ferrets, hamsters, and fur babies of all sorts are members of the family. They eat and sleep under the same roof. They give us affection when we’ve had a rough day. And we even have pictures of our loved ones that include our pets sprinkled throughout the house.

And like every other family member, if a pet gets sick, they too need medical care. But we all know a trip to the vet can be expensive and can wreak havoc on one’s finances. Here are some things families can do to help keep their four-legged members healthy and safe.

Stock a veterinary first aid kit

Major injuries and illnesses should always be treated by a professional. But many minor injuries such as scrapes, bruises, and burns can, depending on severity, be handled without professional intervention.

A first aid kit for pets looks a lot like a first aid kit for humans. Gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic spray or cream, a thermometer, a diphenhydramine like Benadryl for allergic reactions, hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal or milk of magnesia. Other items you’ll want to have on hand include a blanket, a leash, a calming coat, and perhaps, a muzzle.
If you’re in doubt as to whether it’s a major or minor injury or illness, speak with an expert.

Many veterinarian office staff may be willing to talk you through some basic first aid. In addition, the ASPCA maintains a poison control number where you can speak with a trained professional who can guide you through some quick decisions, such as if you need to seek veterinary help, if you need to induce vomiting, and what dosage of what medication to administer.


If you do have to take your pet to the vet, be up front about your ability to pay. There may be options available to you.

When the vet recommends medication, ask for a written prescription so you can shop around to find the best price. Prescription medication may be less expensive to have it filled elsewhere, such as an online pharmacy that may offer discounted prices.
You may also be able to negotiate the cost of procedures and/or they may be willing to work out a payment plan. Or your veterinarian may know of local charities that help fund care for animals in need.

Consider Pet Insurance

Every part of veterinary care is expensive. Blood tests alone on a pooch can easily cost $200 or more.

While it may seem a bit extravagant, pet insurance is really no different than other kinds of insurance that protects against catastrophic illness or calamity, and when you compare the cost against a veterinary emergency, they can be affordable. Companies like Healthy Paws and PetAssure have different programs based on the pet’s needs and are worth checking out.

And just like people, a pet’s best defense is good preventive care and lots of love.

What other ways have you saved on pet care? Please share in the comment section of this blog post. 

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