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Beating the Rising Cost of Pet Health Care

by Bruce Haring

Whether you have a dog, a cat or a somewhat more exotic companion, your pets are some of the best friends you’ll know. You care for them like members of the family. So if they’re sick, you take them to the vet immediately, to get them the help they need.

Unfortunately, much like regular health care, medical attention for your pets is becoming increasingly expensive. This includes not only the cost of going to the vet, but also medications, special foods to keep them healthy and more.

The Rising Cost of Care

Over the last couple of years, Americans’ spending on vet visits and other medical services for pets have surged. There are a number of reasons for this. One is simple inflation. Everything is becoming more expensive; health care in particular.

However, there’s another reason. Health care services for animals are becoming more specialized and advanced than ever before. As the quality of care goes up, so does the cost.

A few years ago, when your pet got sick, you would take him or her to the vet, who would treat the problem if they could and send you both home. Now, just like with human health care, many health issues will result in your animal being referred to a specialist. There are doctors to treat your pet’s eyes, skin, teeth, brain and nervous system, and more. You can even go to a veterinary oncologist if your furry friend requires cancer treatments. These kinds of specialized expertise cost more money than a general veterinarian.

Additionally, veterinary clinics, both general and specialized, are being stocked with more advanced equipment than ever before, such as digital x-ray systems, monitors, EKGs, and even high-tech tools like centrifuges and defibrillators. All of this equipment—as well as training and certification in the use of it—is designed to treat your pet more efficiently and effectively. It also contributes to the ever-rising cost of pet health care.

How to Pay for it All

Obviously, if your beloved pet needs an expensive medical procedure, you do your best find a way to get it for them, just like you would with any other member of your family. The question is, how do you afford it? There are a few things you can do. The best option is to handle it the way you do your own health care: get insurance.

Pet insurance can help you mitigate the cost of basic, regular care for your animals, as well as accidents and other unexpected issues. Many policies also offer protection against hereditary and pre-existing conditions, which can be beneficial for owners of pets who suffer from a variety of chronic illnesses and defects.

If you can’t afford pet insurance, there are still a few options for making sure your animals get the care they need. You can put away a little money towards an emergency fund, to cover basic veterinary expenses in a pinch. Many vets will also offer low-cost clinics, when you can bring your pet in for check-ups and vaccinations at a reduced cost, to make sure they’re in good health.

If your pet requires special medication, you can reduce costs by ordering it online. However, when dealing with an online pet pharmacy, do your research and make sure it’s legitimate before doing business with them. There are a number of reputable websites that will help you get your pet’s medications cheaply, but there are also illegal and black market establishments that sell counterfeit pills and other unregulated drugs that can be extremely dangerous to your pet’s health.

When looking at pet pharmacies, talk to your vet to find licensed and accredited establishments, and do your research with the Better Business Bureau, or even sites like Yelp, to make sure you’ve found a reputable company who will provide you with quality medications.

Finally, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking steps to give your pet a healthy lifestyle will help reduce the need for expensive medical procedures down the road. Make sure they regularly eat the right diet, get enough exercise, and anything else he or she requires.

Your pets are part of your family and deserve to be treated as such. Even though pet health care costs are on the rise, you can still help them live a long, happy, and healthy life.

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