Ways to Save on Your Pet's Costs

For example, amoxicillin, a commonly used antibiotic, costs $12.25 from a vet hospital for 20, 250-mg capsules. At a big-box drugstore, you can get the 30 generic capsules of the same strength for $4. Not all pet prescriptions are cheaper at human pharmacies, but it's worth checking out.

You also can ask your vet if he or she has any samples of the medication they are prescribing. If you find a medication (including flea and tick products) cheaper from an Internet site, ask your veterinarian to match the price. Many will and you'll save shipping costs and can take the products home with you.

Pet Insurance

Pet health insurance merits serious consideration. For a small, worthwhile, monthly fee, health insurance for your pet can cover the cost of preventive medicine and the treatment of illness and injury. Higher deductibles reduce premiums and make insurance a more viable option for many budgets.

For example, the American Animal Hospital Association believes that most pet owners need coverage for catastrophic expenses. Studies have shown that the majority of pet owners can manage expenses between $500 and $1,000, but would have difficulty with expenses beyond that level. One company we checked with charges $10 a month for a 2-year-old cat, and partially covers accidents, severe illnesses, hospitalizations, etc. Some breeds need more care than others. So, pet insurance would be a good idea for their owners.

Petinsurance.com can be a good on-line resource for pet insurance information.

Resources

Local Resources:

You can often find low-cost options for common procedures, such as spaying or neutering, through local humane societies, shelters, the ASPCA, etc. Some shelters operate or know of local subsidized veterinary clinics or veterinary assistance programs. You can go to www.Pets911.com and enter your zip code to find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community.

National Resources:

If you have a specific breed of dog, locate the National Club for that breed as some offer a veterinary assistance fund. A list of clubs is available at www.akc.org.

The Humane Society of the United States, www.hsus.org, has a list of breed-specific assistance groups and organizations that provide assistance to senior, disables or ill pet owners. Ask your veterinarian to submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) "Helping Pets Fund." In order to assure quality, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited.

To learn more about the program visit www.aahanet.org.

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