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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday's "Living With Your Pet" Tips: Pet Care That's Easier On Your Wallet

      Fabulous photo of me by John Clark of Clark Creative

We think these tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)  can help pet parents become more savvy about the quality and quantity of their pets' health care. We all love our pets, but none of us want to shell out vast sums of our hard-earned dollars on veterinary bills. What to do?
Be proactive, preventative and savvy when choosing from among the plethora of information available to care for your pet.

The AVMA recommends at least an annual wellness check at your vet's office-more frequently if your particular pet's situation demands it. We all know that the cost of preventative care pales in comparison to treating disease, but "prevention" (for both humans and their pets, by the way) runs the gamut from eating the highest quality food you can afford, getting regular physical and mental exercise and incorporating relaxation and playtime into each day. Overall, these tips urge pet owners not to be pound wise and penny foolish with their pet's health: For example, don't give your dog vaccines at home to save money, research several veterinarians and the services they offer before choosing, if you buy pet medications over the Internet or at a human pharmacy, rather than directly from your veterinarian, check out the FDA's "Buyer Beware" page first, and if your pet is having heath issues, take them to your vet or animal clinic emergency room, if at all possible. Please don't rely on "Dr. Google" to make an assessment of your furkids' medical condition - just because we have a world of information at our fingertips doesn't mean we're capable of assessing or even understanding that information the way a doctor or veterinarian can. Sound reasonable?

By the way, this article quotes Dr. Tony Buffington, a veterinarian and researcher from The Ohio State University, (a great place of higher education and Parental Unit's Alma Mater), who's a frequent "go to" for national articles involving pet nutrition issues. And we've noticed that he's often quoted saying basically the same thing (which we don't fault him for) - that your pet can get adequate nutrition from a range of pet foods at a variety of price points, and that what he calls "premium brands" that cost more may not provide better nutrition for your pet. On this issue, we beg to differ with the good doctor: We think when it comes to food, "You get what you pay for". How can there not be a difference in the quality of pet food that has "corn" as the first ingredient followed by "animal by-products" and artificial color and flavors, versus pet food whose only ingredients are locally sourced, free range meats, vegetables and fruits with nothing artificial? We realize that there's a wide range of pet foods offered in between those two examples, but if you want to protect your pet's health and save money on vet bills in the long run (usually) why would you compromise on something so important as what they eat every day? Just sayin'!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the share! I am curious as to what you think about veterinary pet insurance plans. I am currently a proud owner of a one year old Pug and was wondering if a plan would be worth it due to the numerous health problems that come with Pugs. What do you think?

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