Having a pet can be great for your physical and mental health. However, if they get sick or have expensive annual checkups, owning a pet can be damaging to your finances. This is due to the costs of continually maintaining and providing for your furry friend. One such expense that can quickly grow is the veterinary bill, which can cost you hundreds out of pocket. To help reduce costs, we've listed some short-term and long-term tips to help you reduce your vet bill.
Prevention is Key: Reinforce a Healthy Lifestyle
To avoid lofty bills at the veterinarian's office, put into practice good hygiene habits for your pet from early on. For instance, brushing your pet's teeth and grooming them yourself could save you between S$274- S$312, which is the average cost of a grooming package. To groom your own pet, you could buy pet grooming supplies online at Shopee, which sells dog toothbrushes (S$2.99), cat hair grooming pads (S$1.94), animal nail clippers (S$10.99), and pet shavers (S$12.50).
Aside from external aesthetics, maintain your pet's weight and vitals by feeding them nutritious meals. While it may be more expensive to purchase specialty food as opposed to traditional pet food with grain additives, studies have found that dogs who eat non-processed food versus grain-based food have lower cases of heart problems, increased energy, healthier vision, and shinier coats. In Singapore, you can order pet food straight to your home for as little as S$2.30 for supplemental food for your pet.
Speak With Your Veterinarian About Generic Prescriptions
Unbeknownst to you, your vet might be prescribing your pet a higher-cost, name-brand prescription drug. Before they prescribe the drug, speak with the vet to check if there are more affordable alternatives. In some cases, you may not even need antibiotics to cure them. For instance, if your pet has a small infection caused by germs, then antibiotics might do more harm than good. This is because taking unnecessary antibiotics can cause antimicrobial resistance.
Furthermore, some repeat infections could be treated by medications available online. For instance, if your vet has prescribed allergy pills or ear drops in the past, and you have the approval for a specific online medication, online retailers like PerroMart sell allergy pills for S$12.50, and Vet Central sells ear drops for S$37.00. Additionally, some veterinarians might offer you discounts or payment plans if you are in a tricky situation. In all cases, it's best to speak with a licensed veterinarian to make sure your beloved animal receives the best care possible.
Take Advantage of Animal Welfare Charities
In Singapore, there are several animal charities that you could turn to if you are unable to pay for a hefty treatment like an operation or spay/neutering services. For instance, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) runs a free clinic to help low-income households support their furry friends in need.
To apply for this option, however, you need to submit documentary proof that you are receiving financial aid from the government. This is to limit these charitable services to those in need, as charities already face a financial strain taking care of stray and unwanted animals.
Consider Buying a Pet Insurance Plan
Similar to humans, sick animals can cost a lot of money. Whether for the constant check-ups, surgeries, and after-surgery care, you can consider buying a pet insurance plan. Basic plans cost around S$74.90-S$325 per annum and partially cover illness, injury, and death. On the other hand, premium plans cost S$450-S$750 and may cover additional costs like animal theft and cremation/burial. In addition to this coverage, some pet insurance plans offer special discounts on pet medications.
For the purposes of veterinarian bills, pet insurance could save you hundreds if your pet gets sick or passes away. On a personal note, knowing your pet insurances will cover the cost of surgery and one-day recovery in the hospital, could help put your mind (and wallet) at ease.
Taking Care of Your Pet Doesn't Have to Break the Bank
When you're in a financially difficult situation, watching your bills rise can cause added stress. Even if you love your pet, you shouldn't have to put yourself into debt to take care of them. Practice healthy habits, speak with your veterinarian to lower costs where possible, take advantage of animal welfare charities if you're in a bind, and get pet insurance to reduce costs for more serious procedures. This way, you can focus on spending quality time with your beloved pet, not the bills.