6 ways to save on pet sitting costs, according to a veterinarian – PureWow
6 ways to save on pet sitting costs, according to a veterinarian
When my cat developed bladder stones, I learned how expensive pet care can be. Pet health is worth every penny, but those pennies add up quickly. According to an analysis by the Forbes Advisor team, the average pet insurance claim for cats is $355. For dogs of any breed, the average is $306. Households with multiple pets or animals with chronic illnesses may see even larger bills after vet visits. We asked Dr. Preston Turano, DVM, veterinarian and spokesperson for AKC Pet Insurance, how to save on pet care costs. Here’s what he had to say.
Which breeds have the highest insurance claims?
Forbes Advisor sifted through pet insurance claims from July 2017 to June 2020 to determine which dog and cat breeds were the most expensive for insurance companies. (Typically, between 70-100% of a vet’s bill is covered by insurance, but this varies based on coverage and deductibles.)
Among dog breeds, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs had the highest veterinary bills. On average, insurance companies paid $425 per claim for these puppies (which are on our list of the most expensive dog breeds). Rottweilers and Dogues de Bordeaux were close behind at $401 and $395, respectively. Siberian Forest Cats had the highest pet insurance claims among cats at $457. Bengals and mixed-breed medium-haired cats were next at just over $400 each.
Keep in mind that these are average amounts covered by insurance companies. Some plans don’t cover annual visits or are only reimbursable, meaning you pay out of pocket before submitting a claim. These averages also do not reflect emergencies (like urine tests and x-rays of your cat’s bladder stones), long-term solutions (prescription food to prevent your cat from having future stones stones) or follow-ups (more X-rays to see if these bladder stones have disappeared).
6 Ways to Save on Pet Sitting Costs
No pet is completely immune to random accidents or unforeseen illnesses. If you’re looking to save a few pennies on pet care, take a look at Dr. Turano’s insights.
1. Find out about preventive packages
Dr. Turano advises pet owners to ask their veterinarian if preventative packages are available at the office. He also noted that some veterinarians may give discounts on services to loyal customers. Preventative packages could help save on annual exams. Although not all insurance companies cover preventative care, finding a plan that does could save money in the long run, especially if you have a breed of dog known to live long.
2. Get written prescriptions
If your pet has a special diet or medication for a chronic condition, ask your veterinarian for a written prescription instead of sending it to a pharmacy electronically. “It will allow you to find your own pharmacy, whether in town or online,” Dr. Turano said. However, Dr. Turano does not recommend it for short-term treatments. “It’s best to get them from your vet at the appointment. This way, your pet immediately receives treatment, especially for infections.
3. Know your breed
A dog DNA test can alert pet owners to diseases dogs can develop based on their genes. For example, the National Canine Cancer Foundation states, “Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are generally more likely to develop specific types of cancer than other breeds. Knowing that your puppy is part of the Rottweiler could be the information you need to finally invest in pet insurance or take a closer look at your dog’s health. Dr. Turano said cancer treatments like surgery or chemotherapy are among the most expensive veterinary services a pet owner can expect.
4. Don’t skip annual visits
“Avoiding the annual exam will likely cost you more in the long run,” Dr. Turano told us. This is because veterinarians who track an animal’s condition from year to year — both physically and through annual lab work — will detect and treat problems earlier. This means that a higher chance treatment will eliminate any disease that arises. “Often things like healthy eating, weight and dental care are overlooked when annual checkups are missed. Overweight pets are more prone to joint problems and diabetes, both of which may require chronic medication to treat,” added Dr. Turano.
5. Brush your pet’s teeth
It’s not every dog or cat’s favorite thing to do, but brushing their teeth can save expensive dental surgery down the line. “In my experience, severe periodontal disease is often seen in pets that do not receive regular veterinary care, leading to pain, expensive dental work, and tooth loss,” Dr. Turano said.
6. Become your dog’s groomer
It won’t work for everyone (not all of us have the patience of an expert groomer), but if you can, learn how to groom your dog. Even being able to bathe them, trim their nails, and brush their coat between full haircuts can save tons of money in the long run. After the initial investment in high-quality clippers and brushes, grooming sessions will cost $0 and you won’t have to leave your bathroom.