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7 Ways to Cut Down on Vet Care Without Compromising Your Pet's Health

Anna is a lifestyle writer who spends way too much time with her two dogs. When she is not writing, she is probably gardening, reading, tripping over dog toys, or trying to acquire more farm animals than she really needs.

Affordable vet care isn't as unobtainable as you think

I married a veterinary student who will, presumably, be a full-fledged veterinarian one of these days. At that magical point in time, veterinary bills will evaporate (replaced with student loans) and I won’t ever have to worry about paying full price for a visit to the veterinarian again.

Until that time, vet bills are one of those things that can drain my bank account at the drop of a hat.

Here are seven ways you can cut down on veterinary care without compromising your pet’s health.

1. Go to the vet

I know, you’re thinking I just lied to you, but one of the best ways to save money on veterinary care is to catch a problem before it becomes expensive. Keeping your pet up to date on vaccines and preventatives will spare you a chunk of change down the line. Let me elaborate.

More: Does my dog really need supplements?

Fed up with paying for heartworm prevention? Try paying for heartworm treatment. Trust me. Your wallet will hate you, and so will your dog. The same goes for treating tick-borne diseases and life-threatening illnesses like distemper. Prevention will save you a lot of money and possibly your pet’s life.

2. Grooming

Brushing your dog on a regular basis might not seem like it will save you money, but regular grooming is right up there with prevention in cutting costs. Not only will your pet’s coat look healthy, but you will also notice any changes in their coat, skin or body, which will keep you one step ahead of diseases and infections.

More: My dog's dry skin turned out to be a serious medical condition

3. Teeth brushing

Brushing your dog’s teeth will save you a lot of money on dental treatments. This is especially true for smaller dogs and dogs who do not chew. Plus, it will keep their breath fresh and cut down on the risks of dental disease.

More: Life with a dog doesn't have to include bad doggy breath

4. Exercise your pet

We all know that exercise is good for our health, longevity and emotional well-being. The same is true for pets. Keeping your pet physically active will reduce their risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases like diabetes and joint problems and save you money on vet visits and medications.

More: Dreaded emergency vet visits — here's how much they really cost

5. Feed a quality diet

There are places to cut corners on cost, and pet food is not one of them. You don’t have to feed a pricey premium diet, but you should feed a decent brand in appropriate portions. Think about what would happen to you if you lived off cheeseburgers and ramen.

6. Learn basic animal first aid

Knowing basic first aid for your pet can help you deal with minor scrapes and aches. Talk to your veterinarian about what you can do for minor illnesses or accidents and have a thermometer on hand so you can determine if your pet has a fever. Oh, and ask your vet about how to safely take that temperature too, or else your pet may never forgive you.

7. Talk to your vet about financial concerns

People have this idea that veterinarians must be in it for the money. This could not be further from the truth. Your veterinarian wants to help your pet, and they want to help you help your pet to the best of your ability.

Be upfront about your financial concerns and talk to your vet about payment plans if your pet requires care outside your price range and the office offers them. Your veterinarian is not going to give you free care, but they will help you come up with a range of options to help you make the most informed choice.

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