Protecting your pet's health in a recession

May 4, 2009 10:25:53 PM PDT
Vets nationwide say they're seeing owners putting off routine checkups and regular vet visits to save money.

"Pet owners are definitely trying to economize," Dr. Louis Murray said.

Dr. Murray works at Bergh Memorial Hospital inside the ASPCA's New York City headquarters.

She said skimping on the front end could cost you a lot on the back. "A vaccine could cost 15 dollars to prevent a disease that could cost 2 or 3 thousand dollars in the hospital," Dr. Murray said.

Pet owner Mary Thomas had a cat in need of surgery. She immediately brought her kitty, Nina, to Bergh Memorial Hospital.

She quickly learned preventative treatments pay off. The surgery bill wasn't bad, but she realizes check-ups, grooming and diet are important.

"I think she's ok," Thomas said.

Depending on your needs. There's pet health insurance. Most run about 30 dollars a month. It could save you from a huge bill, but remember to read the fine print.

Jason Imber is not only a pet owner. He's also a dog walker.

He sees the growing trend and he continues to give the same advice to his clients.

"With the economy the way it is, those things are very expensive. I know for my clients and with my own dog it's very hard, but you have to do it," he said.

Below are some tips and advice to take care of your pets and save money:

Keep up with proactive preventive care on the essentials like parasite control, dental care and vaccinations. Scaling back on a monthly flea and tick treatment and prevention could easily become a major financial burden of hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

Don't skip exams! Veterinarians can often identify potential symptoms of larger problems before they become full-blown health issues.

Get a daily dose of quality time: Cats and dogs need bonding time. According to research studies, the benefits of pet ownership and quality bonding are mutually beneficial - showing signs of affection reduces stress and has a multitude of positive effects on people as well as pets.

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