Responsible pet ownership requires an investment that lasts the lifetime of your pet. In this regard, owning a pet is similar to caring for a child. There are many ongoing costs associated with caring for your dog or cat, but there are easy things you can do to help keep some of these costs down.
Shop Around for Vets: When you’re choosing a vet, call several local veterinary offices and ask them the cost for a routine exam. Often, vets will use this price as a base price for all other procedures. Vets who charge less for a routine exam tend to have lower prices overall. Don’t wait for an emergency to choose your veterinarian; you will be more stressed in emergency situations and may not be as concerned with cutting costs.
Compare Prices Online for your Pet’s Medications: If you buy your flea preventatives and other pet medications at your veterinarian’s office, you are likely being charged a mark-up of over 100% of the wholesale price. Shopping online for your pet’s medication can lead to huge savings, plus the added convenience of receiving your pet’s medications delivered to your door. When you’re comparing prices online, you can often save money by ordering more doses in one time. Make sure you order discount pet medications only from secure sites based in the US that are certified by either LegitScript or Vet-VIPPS like vetdepot.
Don’t Let Fido Eat You out of House and Home: No matter what, your furry friend is always going to want to eat! The biggest ongoing cost pet owners pay is food. Many pet foods labeled as “Premium” or other special diets cost more than double what other pet foods cost. Be aware that there is no legal standard pet foods must meet to be labeled as “Premium”, but any food that is labeled “complete & balanced” or “total nutrition” meets the minimum legal standard required for pet foods. Unless your pet has a medical condition requiring a special diet, you probably don’t need to spend extra on pricey foods that may offer no extra benefit to your pet’s health.
Invest in Preventative Care: You’ve probably heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping up with your pet’s routine exams and vaccinations can prevent a wide variety of serious and costly health problems. Clean choppers also make a big difference in your pet’s health. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth and feeding them dental treats can help prevent periodontal disease, a common cause of kidney and lung problems. Finally, make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Have plenty of playtime and don’t overfeed your furball. Obesity can cause diabetes and arthritis, among other expensive problems. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet, and a healthy pet costs you less!
In recent years, Americans have been spending more money than ever on organic and natural foods. It should come as no surprise that many people are also beginning to buy natural or organic foods for their animal companions. Many of us feel like our dogs and cats are members of our family. As we begin to think more about finding healthy foods for ourselves, many of us are also becoming interested in feeding our pets better foods too. At pet stores around the country, new foods are cropping up featuring specialty ingredients like blueberries, alfalfa and brewer’s yeast.
There is some debate, however, as to whether these more costly “natural” foods actually have health benefits for your pet. It certainly can’t hurt your pet to keep them on a diet made from higher quality ingredients however some brands may be lower in important nutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Grain-free foods also promise many benefits but there is debate as to the truth of these claims. According to some veterinarians, grain-free foods mainly benefit pets with specific food allergies.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a natural diet would be a good thing to try with your pet. If your pet has allergies or suffers from any feline or canine digestive troubles, paying more attention to their diet might help improve their overall condition. Rest assured, even if you can’t afford the additional cost of organic, specialty pet foods, more traditional brands are still a safe and cost effective way to fill up that furry little tummy.
Is your premium pet food worth the extra money? Two scientists have teamed up to investigate the pet food industry and the claims made for their products. Marion Nestle from the Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and Malden C. Nesheim emeritus professor of nutrition at Cornell University have published their findings in their book, “Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat.”
Dr. Nestle and Dr. Nesheim compared 10 premium chicken dinners for dogs and found the ingredients to all be very similar. The ingredients all started with chicken or chicken broth followed by grains and vegetables; however the nonpremium brands often used more grains, poultry, meat and fish byproducts. Dr. Nestle stated “All pet foods are made from the byproducts of human food production. No matter what the package says, your dog is not getting whole chicken breasts, but what remains after the breasts have been removed for human food.”
Drs. Nestle and Nesheim suggested seeking out labels that state “complete and balanced” because this indicates that the pet food meets the nutritional requirements of cats and dogs as listed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. State officials and the animal feed industry along with the FDA and AAFCO develop model regulations for pet foods which are voluntary unless covered under state laws. As of now no agency requires proof of pet food health claims. According to Drs. Nestle and Nesheim pet food companies say they do extensive research on their pet foods but often it is not conducted in a scientific fashion with comparable control and experimental groups. The doctors suggest getting your pet’s food from a reputable vendor such as vetdepot.com. Both Doctors did recommend that if one brand does seem to affect your pet in a positive way you should stick with it.