Keep your Pet Healthy and Happy...and Save Money!

In these tough economic times, people are often looking for ways to cut costs and save money.  Owning a pet is a serious financial commitment but there are ways you can save money while maintaining the health and well-being of your animal.

Prevention is Key

By taking measures early on, you can prevent your pet from suffering of illness and subsequently, avoid the accompanying medical costs.

Vaccinate your pet: Vaccinations can help protect your companion animal from potentially life-threatening diseases.  Vaccinating your pet costs significantly less than the treatments for diseases that animals could develop if they do not receive a vaccination. 

Spay/neuter your pet: Spaying (for females) or neutering (for males) provides countless benefits for your animal, your community and your wallet. Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce the risk of many life-threatening diseases including types of cancer and diseases of the reproductive system. Pets that are spayed or neutered do not have the ability to reproduce and therefore you will never have the costs associated with providing food and medical care to a litter of animals. Other benefits include the reduction of unpleasant behavioral problems such as wandering, marking territory, and anxiousness.  Finally, spaying or neutering your pet means that you will not be contributing to Alberta’s pet overpopulation problem.

Regular checkups:   As with people, it is ideal to diagnose an illness or disease early on before it develops into something more serious and painful for your animal and ultimately more costly.  Speak with your veterinarian about a checkup schedule or any other questions you may have about maintaining a healthy pet. 

Recycle

Make your own pet toys: Instead of buying your pet toys, consider making them yourself. You can recycle your unwanted items, save money, and treat your pet at the same time. Just make sure the toys are safe and do not have small parts that your pet may choke on. 

Pets and the Bottom Line

Thinking of getting a pet? Before acquiring a companion animal, estimate the cost of maintaining a healthy pet to see if it will fit into your budget. Consider what type of pet would best suit your budget and lifestyle.

Food costs: Having a sound nutritional diet is as crucial for your pet as it is for you. Choosing the right pet food can be challenging but doesn’t need to be expensive. When deciding on the right pet food consider the food cost per day not food cost per bag.  Better quality food contains less filler and therefore your pet needs to eat less, which means you are not purchasing food as often.  Talk to your veterinarian about a diet for your pets that suits their nutritional needs and your budget.

Understanding veterinary medical costs: Veterinary bills may seem expensive to some, but according the Alberta Veterinary Association, companion health costs have not risen drastically over the past 20 to 30 years. 

Can’t afford to keep your pet?:  If you find that the cost of caring for an animal is too much for your family and need to give your pet up, you are responsible for finding it a suitable home.  Abandoning animals is against the law. If you can’t find a good home for your pet contact your local animal shelter or animal control.

Remember that by simple preventative measures and creative thinking you can keep your pet healthy and happy, which will ultimately save you money in the long run. 

Helpful Links

Vaccinations (Ontario Veterinary Medical Association)

Spaying or neutering (Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)

Sample Budgets for Pets (Calgary Humane Society)

Understanding Veterinary Costs (Alberta Veterinary Medical Association)

Humane Societies in Alberta