How to Lower Your Vet Bill
July 18, 2013 6:36 PM

Owning a pet can be one of the greatest joys in life and for most pet owners their dog or cat is essentially one of the family. So it's important to look after them just as much as you would the other family members. Unfortunately, there's no free National Health Service for pets, so vet bills can really mount up. However, there are ways to keep the cost of vet bills down if you just bear a few things in mind.

Keep an Eye Out
Just maintaining awareness of your pet's health and wellbeing can stop minor ailments becoming major problems. Ensure you know your pet's habits and behaviour, especially around feeding, sleeping and toileting. If you notice any changes, keep a closer watch on him or her until you are sure nothing is amiss.

Know What's Normal
When you're petting or grooming your cat or dog, it's easy to do a quick check for anything out of the ordinary, such as lumps, wounds or injuries which you could miss if they have thick fur. Things such as these should be monitored and ideally checked at the vet — a quick check-up now will cost less than a major operation further down the line.

Eyes, Ears and Mouth
These are three areas that are not that easy to inspect but can develop problems, especially as pets get older.

Warning signs to look out for in any animal include:

                             - Mouth - very bad breath, brown teeth, angry red gums.
                             - Ears - head shaking, excessive scratching, cuts and scabs, unpleasant smells.
                             - Eyes - cloudiness, excessive watering or discharge, eyelid not opening fully.

Any of these things, if they do not clear up within a day or so, should be checked by a vet.

You can prevent most mouth problems by giving your cat or dog special dry food which cleans their teeth as they eat. Some breeds of dog or cat which are prone to ear problems due to folded ears will need to have their ears cleaned regularly to prevent any issues developing. You can do this at home with the appropriate products, which are available from many online retailers such as Vet-Medic.

Little Critters
All animals, even if they do not go outside often, can be vulnerable to parasites, fleas, ticks and worms. Kittens and puppies tend to be treated for all of these by the vet when they have their initial check-ups, but then it is your responsibility to ensure they stay away. There are many treatments available from pet-supplies stores which can prevent these little beasties getting into your pet's fur or skin.  Trusted names like Frontline flea treatment and Fiprospot Spot On are relied on by pet owners time and time again.

Diet and Exercise
As with humans, pets need to get the balance of food intake and energy expended just right. Cats tend to look after their own exercise needs but dogs need regular walks — some breeds more than others and obviously younger dogs more frequently than older ones. Investing in natural, nutritionally balanced pet food can prevent food-intolerance and allergy problems developing. These can be expensive to treat.

If you follow this advice you should find your pet-related bills over an average year are easily manageable and your pets will be healthy and happy for many years to come.

How to Lower Your Vet Bill
Photo credit: boxchain

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