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5 Tips for Budgeting Your Pet Care Costs

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Practice Good Preventive Care

Waiting until your pet is already sick can turn a $100 veterinarian visit into a $3,000 trip. Follow your vet's recommendations for check-ups so you can nip any potential health problems in the bud.

Most pets need to get a check-up about once every six months. If you take good care of your cat or dog, those twice-yearly visits will be enough, and you won't have to spend any extra time -- and money -- at the vet's office.

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Give your pet all of the vaccinations and preventive medicines (for heartworm, fleas, and tics) your vet recommends--but don't over-spend. Most pets only need their main vaccinations once every three years [source: Consumer Reports].

Though they may not enjoy the experience, brush your cat or dog's teeth regularly. Animals get gum disease just like humans. Rotten teeth not only lead to expensive dental procedures, but they also can increase your pet's risk for heart and kidney disease [source: ASPCA].

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Sources

  • American Pet Products Association. "Industry Statistics & Trends." (November 2, 2011). http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp.
  • ASPCA. "Groom Your Dog." (November 2, 2011). http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-care-groom-your-dog.aspx.
  • ASPCA. "Medical Tips." (November 2, 2011). http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/medical-tips.aspx.
  • ASPCA."Pet Care Costs." (November 1, 2011). http://www.aspca.org/adoption/pet-care-costs.aspx.
  • ASPCA. "Saving Money on Vet Care." (November 1, 2011). http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/saving-money-on-vet-care.aspx.
  • ASPCA. "Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet." (November 2, 2011). http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/spayneuter/spay-neuter-top-ten.aspx
  • Battista, Francis. "Why Adopt Rather Than Buy?" Best Friends Animal Society (November 2, 2011) http://www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/pdfs/allpets/adoptdontbuy.pdf.
  • Clemans, Virginia. "Smile! Dental Care for Your Pets." Best Friends Animal Society. (November 2, 2011) http://www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/pdfs/allpets/dentalcare.pdf.
  • Consumer Reports. "Don't automatically get pet medicines from the vet." August 2011. (November 1, 2011).http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/august/money/pet-costs/dont-automatically-get-pet-medicines-from-the-vet/index.htm
  • Consumer Reports. "Don't pay a premium for 'premium' pet food." August 2011. (November 1, 2011). http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/august/money/pet-costs/dont-pay-a-premium-for-premium-pet-food/index.htm.
  • Consumer Reports. "Tame your pet costs." August 2011. (November 1, 2011). http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/august/money/pet-costs/overview/index.htm.
  • Cornell University Hospital for Animals. "Cataract Surgery for Dogs." (November 2, 2011). http://www.vet.cornell.edu/hospital/cataractDogs.pdf.
  • DogsOnly.org. "Dog Adoption Fees." (November 1, 2011). http://www.dogsonly.org/adoption_fee.html.
  • Johnson, Caitlin. "The High Cost of Pet Care." February 11, 2009 (November 2, 2011). http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/24/earlyshow/contributors/debbyeturner/main2393732.shtml.
  • Oprah.com. "Do-It-Yourself Dog Care." (November 2, 2011). http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Dog-Care-on-a-Budget.
  • San Francisco SPCA. "Routine veterinary check-ups - why and how often?" (November 2, 2011).http://www.sfspca.org/resources/summer-safety/routine-veterinary-check-ups.
  • The Humane Society of the United States. "Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group." (November 1, 2011) http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/adopt/tips/adopting_from_shelter_rescue.html.

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