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Saving At The Vet

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Photo credit: _tar0_ / Flickr

Going to the veterinarian is expensive. Anyone who has ever had a pet knows this. Yet, regular veterinary exams are important to protecting your beloved pet’s health, and even the healthiest of pets will sometimes need extra treatment or medication for something unexpected that pops up, such as an injury or eating something that’s not food.

You’ll have to take your pet to the veterinarian eventually. The question is, can you do so without breaking the bank? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Here are some very easy ways anyone can save at the vet.

Only Get What You Absolutely Need

Your vet may want you to get all kinds of tests and vaccinations for your pet. However, beyond the rabies vaccine that is mandated by law in most places, most of these extras aren’t necessary for the vast majority of pets. Even the ASPCA says some vaccines are optional.

If your pet is an indoor-only animal, there are certain things you can forego, unless he is truly sick. Get the annual rabies vaccine and regular heartworm medication for dogs (since even indoor dogs are vulnerable). For cats, get the rabies vaccine each year, plus vaccinate them for FeLuk and FIV when they are kittens.

The rest is not strictly necessary for indoor animals, and skipping these things can save you a lot of money.

Get Pet Insurance

The premiums are low compared to what humans pay, and a good pet insurance plan will save you a fortune if your pet needs specialized veterinary care such as diagnostic testing or surgery. For the cost of about two nice dinners out each month, you can get a plan that will cover 100 percent at the vet.

If you pay a little less, you can get a plan that will pay 80 to 90 percent, with a small deductible. Just remember to get pet insurance now, before your pet needs it, as most policies won’t cover expenses involved with pre-existing conditions.

Use CareCredit

CareCredit is a special credit card that is used for medical needs only. It can be used to pay for anything that regular insurance won’t cover, such as plastic surgery, fertility expenses, dental and vision care, and veterinarians. This is a good alternative if you don’t want the monthly expense of a pet insurance policy.

It can also offer you an easy way to pay for deductibles and co-pays on your pet insurance policy if you get one.

The amount of credit you’ll be offered will depend on your income and your credit score; the average amount of beginning credit is usually between $1,000 and $2,000. Once you have a history of paying your CareCredit bill on time for a few months, it’s typically pretty easy to get a credit increase over the phone if you require it.

Best of all, charges of over $200 do not accrue interest if they are paid off within six months, so it’s essentially the same as paying cash on a payment plan.

Ask for Samples

If there’s a new food, supplement, or medication your vet wants your pet to try, ask for samples first. Most vets have samples of these things available in their office. Using them will help you decide whether or not to buy a full supply for your pet later, and will save you money if it’s something you decide is not necessary for your pet (or if it’s a new food and your pet won’t eat it).

You can sometimes even go back and ask for more samples if you run out. Some veterinarians will keep you stocked in free samples if they know you’re strapped for cash. It never hurts to ask.

Taking your pet to the veterinarian doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are several ways you can save money at the vet. Put some or all of these suggestions to use, and watch your vet bills go down significantly, or even disappear. Who says you have to spend a lot of money to have a healthy pet?

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