For many people, pets aren’t just animals–they’re part of the family. And that means giving them the best possible care and attention, from a healthy diet to regular grooming, visits to the veterinarian (and if a condition is diagnosed) all the treatments and procedures that money can buy.
Unfortunately, that can be a lot of money. In the last decade, veterinary science has grown by leaps and bonds. Tests and treatments that were once available only for humans are now being applied to our furry friends, making it possible to cure once fatal conditions.
For example, the incidents of cancer are much higher among animals than in human beings. Before, vets would simply opt for euthanasia. Today, concerned owners can opt to get radiation therapy or kidney transplants–at the astounding price of $1,000 to $5,000 or more. This doesn’t include the cost of MRIs and other screenings, or the premium vitamins and food that vets will prescribe to boost the immune system of a sick or aging animal.
Veterinarians have also increased their fees, making even regular check ups and procedures a little painful on the pocket. Studies show that owners are paying up to 73% more than they did five years ago, making veterinary care one of the fastest-growing industries with a revenue of 19 billion dollars.
All these developments have made pet insurance a more affordable option. What’s the two thousand dollars that one may shell out over the life of an average pet, compared to the five thousand dollars one can spend in one week for delicate hip surgery?
There are also a wider variety of pet insurance policies, so you can pick one that suits your budget and preferences. It’s always important to check with the state insurance department that a company is legally registered. Then, go through the contract and ask the agent to explain what is included and what is not. You can always ask for additional riders to give you more comprehensive coverage.
But what should you include? First, you should also know what conditions your breed is vulnerable to. Also look at where you live (will your area put your pet at risk for vehicular accidents, attacks from other dogs, injuries?) and your pet’s general health and even genetic history.
Aside from getting pet insurance, you can also control your pet’s medical expenses by visiting low-cost clinics (you can get the numbers from the local Humane society). Always ask for second opinions before agreeing to very extensive treatments or antibiotics, and visit websites to find out more about the condition. Some vets will also give away samples of medicines to help you decide whether or not to commit to a long-term prescription.
It’s also cheaper, by far, to keep your pet at optimum health rather than paying for medical treatments. Invest in high quality food. Proper exercise is also necessary to prevent obesity, which is linked to many health problems. Keeping your pet on a leash can also prevent accidents and even some illnesses that he can contract while roaming unsupervised.
Getting pet insurance may be an important factor in controlling your pet’s medical bills, but it’s not the only one. It’s good to have a safety net in case something bad happens, but the best defense is what you do everyday: loving and caring for your pet.