Pet care costs over a lifetime

July 5, 2011 7:53:51 PM PDT
How much is that doggie in the window? It could cost you as much as $14,000 over a pet's 15-year life span, according to the ASPCA. As for cats, make that $10,000. One of the big expenses can be medical care. But Consumer Reports says there are ways to save hundreds of dollars, without shortchanging your furry friends.

First, comparison shop for veterinary care. A good benchmark is how much a vet charges for a physical exam. Consumer Reports says that can be a good indicator of other costs, such as major procedures, which can add up to a lot of money.

If your pet needs medication, don't automatically buy it from the vet. Vets usually charge at least 100 percent more than wholesale prices. Some medicines have an even bigger markup, such as a whopping 1,000 percent markup on the antibiotic amoxicillin.

And if your pet is taking a medicine that's also prescribed for humans, check into filling the prescription at your pharmacy. You may be able to save a lot of money.

Also consider new money-saving options for flea and tick control treatments. Some highly effective products have become now available since the patent expired on a key ingredient in Frontline Plus. The savings?a three-month supply of Walmart's PetArmor Plus costs $28, less than half of what Frontline Plus costs.

As for pet insurance, Consumer Reports says it's rarely worth the expense. In its latest comparison of pet-insurance policies, Consumer Reports found that only in the most uncommon cases?when medical bills reached into the high four figures?did it pay to have pet insurance.

For more information on saving money on pet care CLICK HERE.