Owning a pet in Singapore can be expensive, with the average cost of owning a dog over 10 years going as high as S$26,000. Thus, it makes sense that despite wanting the best for their pet, pet owners are always looking out for ways to reduce the costs. However, not all cost reductions are beneficial. In fact, trying to reduce costs in some areas such as quality food and medical check-ups can lead to higher pet care costs over the long run. Below, we discuss 3 areas of dog care you should not skimp on to reduce paying high costs over the long-run.
High Quality Pet Food
The saying "you are what you eat" applies to your pets as well. However, pet food can end up being one of your greatest expenses. Because of this, pet owners may try to cut down on the cost of their pet's food to reduce the long term costs. However, this may not always be the right choice. Just as eating poor quality, preservative-filled junk food can lead to a myriad of health problems in humans, feeding your pet dirt-cheap and high in fat pet food full of low-quality ingredients can contribute to pancreatic problems and obesity. These conditions may then lead to chronic and costly diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease. Even without medication and insulin, the food and quarterly check-ups for a diabetic dog can cost you 35% more per year than investing in preventative methods such as a high-quality diet.
While you don't have to buy the most expensive food for your dog, you should look for brands that list meat as one of the first 3 ingredients. To save on higher quality dog food, you can become a member of pet chains that offer member discounts. Even a modest 5% discount can save you between S$90 and S$360 per year on high quality dog food.
The Annual Check-up
Just because your pet seems healthy doesn't mean it's wise to skip your pet's annual check-up. This is because your dog's annual check-up can detect signs of illnesses that may not have started to exhibit symptoms. A check-up or consultation costs around S$400 on average but includes bloodwork, urinalysis, faecal analysis, and checks of your pet's major organs. The benefit of getting an annual check-up rather than waiting until you sense that something is wrong with your pet means you can catch the disease at an early enough stage where you only have to pay for preventative methods, which are much cheaper than late-stage treatment. For instance, some pet owners pay as much as between S$1,500 to S$20,000 per year to treat advanced stage illnesses such as cancer or kidney failure.
Comprehensive Pet Insurance
While pet insurance isn't a mandatory purchase, you may end up saving a few thousand dollars by spending just a couple hundred dollars a year on a quality policy. For instance, a good quality pet insurance policy can cover expenses such as chemotherapy, surgical procedures and room and board if your pet needs surgery after an accident. Some plans even cover surgery due to illnesses, so if your pet is diagnosed with a costly medical condition, you will only be liable for a co-pay of a few hundred dollars rather than be faced with a few thousand dollar bill.
When It Comes to Your Pet, a Little Investment Goes a Long Way
Your pet is part of your family, so investing a little bit of time and money can go a long way to ensuring a happy relationship. While it may be tempting to reduce costs on things that are the most expensive, such as healthcare and food, you may not always end up coming out saving money. Instead, you should consider cutting costs on things that won't affect your pet's livelihood. This includes saving money on toys, unnecessary dog "spa" packages and intricate grooming designs that can cost hundreds of dollars. If you are having trouble paying for your pet's basic necessities, most stores offer coupons or membership discounts online that range from 5-10%. If you have trouble affording medical costs, you can consider going to an animal shelter, such as the SPCA to see if there are lower-cost options available for your dog.