Just like human medicine, the cost of medical care for our beloved pets can be high. For example, my dog Mary suffers from allergies; her injections cost nearly $300 a year plus she takes daily medication that costs nearly $70 per month. Vaccinations can run $20 to $30 and annual exams nearly $50. Health care for a person’s pet is oftentimes a reason someone will give up that pet (i.e., medication costs) or will ask a vet to euthanize the animal. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yet, what is a pet owner, who lives on minimum wage or is working two or more jobs and caring for a family, to do, especially with unplanned, emergency veterinary bills? There are several options.
First, explore low-cost vaccination clinics and spay/neuter clinics. Oftentimes various animal welfare organizations will team up with veterinarians to offer such services. For example, my community’s Humane Society pairs with a local vet to offer monthly low-cost vaccination clinics, and occasionally the local city/county animal shelter teams up with a vet to provide low-cost microchip clinics. Learn what’s available in your community for such services.
Second, talk with your veterinarian about a payment plans. Some vets will take monthly or twice-a-month payments; however, many do not. It does not hurt to ask. If your vet is one of those who doesn’t accept payment plans, here are a few other choices for you to consider to help with the financial aspects of your pet’s health care:
We all want to keep our furry friends as healthy as possible, but sometimes the expense can be challenging. Investigate these options and see if one if right for you. Additionally, here is a website that gives more information on how people can find help to pay their veterinary bills: https://www.paws.org/cats-and-dogs/other-services/help-with-veterinary-bills/.
One of the reasons people give for leaving their pets at animal shelters or surrendering them to rescue groups is “I’m moving” or “My landlord won’t let me have a pet.” Being separated from one’s animal is heartbreaking, both pet and owner grieve. I’ve volunteered and worked with enough animal rescue and shelter organizations to know how such separation impacts people and animals.
I was recently approached by a fellow pet-lover and writer about contributing to my blog regarding this subject. She’s written a piece about pet-friendly housing, and I agreed to link to her article.
As March dawns and spring draws ever closer, many people consider moving. Therefore, this is a good time to remind those who rent that it’s important to find out as much in advance as possible if the landlord allows pets. If the new place you’re considering is NOT pet-friendly and you have pets, re-consider moving there; search for pet-friendly accommodations. In some areas, you may find buying your own small place a wiser move, both financially and pet-wise. If purchasing your own place is not an option, consider your renting options.
Read this article written by Rebekah May regarding pet-friendly housing and options you may have as a pet parent. The article begins with these thoughts:
Not only is moving a stressful situation, owning pets only serves to compound the hassle. Pet friendly rentals are increasingly harder to come by for pet owners.
Visit this site to read the remainder of her article:
February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and the last day of the month is considered World Spay Day. Every year millions of dogs and cats, puppies, and kittens go into animal shelters, and sadly, a lot of them die in those shelters. If more companion animals were spayed or neutered, the number of litters of puppies and kittens would decrease, and therefore, so, too, would the numbers of animals killed in shelters each year.
That is one reason to spay and neuter pets. There are several others.
Although a spay surgery can be expensive, especially for a large or extra-large female dog, there are opportunities to find low-cost spay-neuter clinics. The ASPCA provides a database of such low-cost clinics. Visit their webpage at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/low-cost-spayneuter-programs to find a clinic/program near you. The Humane Society of the United States can also assist you finding low-cost programs and clinics; visit that group’s website to learn more: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/tips/afford_spay_neuter.html?credit=web_id88387650.
If you live in Wyoming, as I do, you can visit the SpayWyoming page, a state-wide program of the Dog and Cat Shelter in Sheridan, Wyoming and an affiliate of SpayUSA. You might also visit the Care Credit website, a health-care credit card covering dental, chiropractic, veterinary, and other medical fields; the company often gives patients (or in this case the “pet parents” of patients) six to 12 months to pay off the account before charging interest (it’s a program my husband and I use for our veterinary bills).
The outlay for a spay or neuter might be spendy at first, especially if your area doesn’t have a low-cost spay/neuter program. However, the benefits of the surgery are many, including a healthier pet and not dealing with behavioral issues. But, a strong reason to spay and neuter is saving lives, not having to wonder how to find homes for litters of puppies and kittens and facing the reality that, if taken to an animal shelter, those animals may not get new homes, but instead, may die.
Please do your part as a responsible pet parent: spay/neuter your companion animal!
People love their pets, but admittedly, they can cost pet parents a lot of money. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), people in the United States spent more than $60 billion dollars on their furry friends in 2015, up $2 billion from the previous year. About 80 million households have pets, with dogs making up the majority of furry friends: more than 54 million. The APPA estimates the average American family spends more than $1,600 on a dog’s vet bills and more than $1,100 on kitty health.
According to an article on TheSimpleDollar.com, which references the APPA report, “the costs of veterinary care have risen faster than inflation.” Between medical exams/wellness care, vaccinations, dental procedures, and operations (including spay/neuter), pet health care, like people health care, is a significant expense. Pet insurance may help.
There are several national pet insurance carriers, including the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Nationwide, Trupanion, PetFirst, HealthyPaws, and PetsBest. Deductibles vary, and some plans reimburse 70 to 90 percent of a veterinary bill. Plan costs vary, depending upon the deductible, coverage, type and age of pet.
But, how does one choose a plan and a company? Luckily for pet parents, some of the research has already been done. Consumer Advocate, for example, ranks companies based on reviews. A person can select their state to see if coverage is available.The Canine Journal has also reviewed and ranked pet insurance companies.
Additionally, The Simple Dollar recently released a guide on pet insurance companies. The author of the report used his own pets as examples in comparing companies and plans.
Another guide to pet health insurance can be found here:
I’ve never carried health insurance on my pets, but I’ve often considered it. A friend of mine, however, does pay for pet insurance, and she believes having such coverage is a great benefit. She is an individual on a fixed income due to a disability. My friend had a cat who lived to be nearly 17 years of age; that cat became diabetic at about age 12. The added expense of insulin was covered on her pet insurance plan, and as the cat grew older and more health problems developed, she found having pet health insurance a wonderful asset. So, for those of us who don’t carry pet insurance, it may be something to consider. Having resources such as that provided by The Simple Dollar, The Canine Journal, and Consumer Advocate can help pet parents review plans and premiums and decide if pet insurance is something to expend money on.
To insure or not insure is a question to consider no matter what type or age of pet you have.
My husband and I recently adopted a Pekingese mix, adding him to our household that includes felines. This is not the first time I’ve brought home a new dog into a family with cats, but it is the second time I’ve faced challenges.
More than eight years ago I adopted a cocker spaniel named Cody; he came into a household that included a blind springer spaniel and two young cats. My kitties had become accustomed to living with Sage, the blind springer, so they naturally gravitated toward Cody. That’s when I was reminded not all dogs are used to cats, and the chase was on! For many months Cody “protected” Sage and me from those pesky felines (in his mind) and the cats remained secluded from the rest of us. I was to a point where I thought of re-homing him. But, one day, one of the cats stood up for herself, swatting Cody in the face when he chased her, rounding the corner of the bedroom. That action caught him by surprise and chasing cats became history.
Cody passed away in January at more than 17 years of age. Now, we’re facing the same situation with Lemons – a cat-chasing newly-adopted dog. This time, however, my cats are much older and a bit crankier due to arthritis… and I’m sure despondent because they’ve been displaced by a dog not much bigger than themselves. You would think I’d have learned how to properly introduce pets – in particular a dog to cats. We’ve only had Lemons less than a week, so I’m hoping implementing ideas from the American Humane Association can still be applied.
This wonderful pet rescue organization suggests several steps to introduce a new dog into one’s home that includes cats. Here are some of the recommendations:
I’m hoping to not have to use a professional behaviorist or take our newly adopted dog back. Cody ended up working out just fine with our cats; I’m believing Lemons will, too, with hopes that his Toy Spaniel sweet temperament will kick in as he becomes more comfortable in his new home, our home, and that the cats will adjust to him as they did to Cody. However, I’m also aware their older ages (Lemons is 8 and the cats are 11) may be a hindrance to that adjustment… but I’m hopeful that’s not the case.
Read more information on introducing dogs and cats to one another, including bringing a new cat into a household with a resident dog, by visiting the American Humane Association’s website: http://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/introducing-dogs-to-cats/.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.