The economic news recently hasn’t been good, has it? While so far, government furlough schemes have protected a lot of jobs, there are dire warnings that unemployment or underemployment are set to soar in the near future. And as a result, many of us are taking the opportunity to try and cut our outgoings.  Now, while for most of us our pets are family, they are also potentially expensive family – so, what can you do to help you save money, cutting the cost of giving them the care they deserve? In this blog, we’re going to look at 5 ways you really can save money.

1) Make sure your pet stays up to date with preventative health treatments

While regular vaccines, flea and worm treatment or tooth brushing can seem time consuming and expensive, it’s actually a lot cheaper than treating the really nasty diseases that can easily occur without it. (As an aside, I often say that if we were really in it just for the money, vets would ban all vaccines – treating a dog with parvo generally costs hundreds of times more than a booster vaccine!).

2) Join a pet health plan

Most practices now offer these plans, and they have a good uptake. The reason? They can be really good value for money. In almost every case, you will save money if you’re buying all your pet’s preventative healthcare through the practice. In fact, in many cases, you’ll save money over the prescription fees if you’re ordering meds online (see below) too. 

However, where they can really come into their own is in the “added extras”. Many health plans include discounts on other services – such as food, or dental care, or blood tests. If your pet needs regular care, or a special diet, this can be really useful! 

Even more importantly, though, they often include some check ups for free. This is genuinely valuable – because it means you can get grumbly niggly things checked out before they grow into major health issues.

Just make sure you read the small print to ensure you know what’s included and what isn’t!

3) See if you really need that out of hours vet visit

Sometimes, of course, it’s really obvious – the cat who’s been hit by a car, or the dog who’s vomited 10 times in 20 minutes definitely needs a vet – ASAP! These patients really need to see a vet! But out of hours services are expensive (they have to be to pay the bills and keep staff on unsociable hours). So if you’re not sure – why not use a reputable triage service? Here at VetHelpDirect, we provide a free online Symptom Guide for a wide range of animals, which will tell you how urgent it is that your pet’s seen. Why not try it out?!

4) Learn how to do minor healthcare yourself

As a vet, I’m always surprised how many people pay us to do very routine healthcare for them. While of course it’s really hard to clip some dog’s nails, or remove a tick from an angry cat, or remove a mat of fur, in many cases this is something the owner can do at home. So why not ask a vet or vet nurse to show you how to do it? 

5) Keep your pet as healthy as possible – then they’re less likely to need a vet!

Of course, we all know that good health isn’t just about medicines. There are five really easy things you can do to minimise the chances that your pet needs veterinary attention. Keep your pet a healthy weight, keep them fit, keep them safe from road traffic accidents, feed them a good quality diet, and keep their teeth nice and clean. Those interventions alone will massively reduce the health problems you otherwise have to pay out to fix!

This is the first of a series of blogs on saving money on your pets’ care – watch out for more in the series! Do you have any other suggestions? If so, please put them in the comments!