How to keep your pets healthy on the cheap.
In this recession, pets are suffering, too. Research shows 780,000 pets -- including 200,000 dogs -- could be put down as the recession takes its toll and owners refuse to pay for vet bills. Don't let your best friend fall into that trap.
Here are veterinarian Dr. Karen Halligan's top tips for saving money on animal care:
- Feed your pets high-quality pet food and don't give table scraps. Proper nutrition by feeding a high-quality diet is vital to your pet's overall health and well being and is key to keeping your vet bills down. A large percentage of vet visits for vomiting or diarrhea are directly attributable to owners feeding their pets people food. Feeding table scraps will only land you in the ER, so instead lavish your pet with lots of praise, playtime, and love!
- Exercise your pets and keep their weight down. Obesity leads to a host of illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, breathing difficulties, and heart problems. Exercising your pets daily not only burns calories but makes your pets feel good too!
- Do a weekly home exam. Detecting problems before they become serious can save you hundreds of dollars, not to mention even saving your pet's life. Check your pets over from head to toe looking for discharge, odor, lumps, or any other abnormality. Learning what your pets normally look like can help you to pick up problems early so they can be addressed right away.
- Brush your pet's teeth at least every other day. Brushing your pet's teeth can save you hundreds of dollars on vet bills and even extend your pet's life. Oral disease is the number-one health problem diagnosed in dogs and cats, and leads to disease that starts in the mouth and quickly spreads, causing heart disease, kidney disease, and infections throughout the body. Be sure to use a toothbrush/toothpaste that is formulated for cats or dogs too!
Make sure your pets get a yearly exam at the vet. Since animals age much faster than we do -- approximately seven years for every one year of our life -- it's extremely important to get that yearly exam and detect illnesses before they become serious, crippling your pet and causing huge vet bills. Dogs and cats too are masters at hiding their illnesses, because to show weakness in the wild would certainly lead to their demise.
|Karen "Doc" Halligan is author of the award -winning book, "Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know: Prescriptions for Happy, Healthy Cats and Dogs" and the Director of Veterinary Services at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles. She is a sought-after television pet health expert and spokesperson sharing practical tips and eye-opening advice on diet, health, exercise, reducing vet bills, disaster preparedness, and many other topics!|