Pet health advice every animal lover should know

July 28, 2015

Our pet's health and happiness is a top priority, but visits to the vet can be expensive. Here's some ways you can cut the bills and keep your furry family members healthy and strong.

Pet health advice every animal lover should know

Shop, compare and save

  • The cost of veterinary care can vary greatly, depending on the vet consulted and the area in which you live.
  • Some vets charge almost three times as much as others for routine procedures. So it pays to compare costs and find a vet you can afford before you need one in a hurry.
  • If you have the time and the situation isn't urgent, get more than one quote for any expensive treatment.
  • Sometimes vets in more rural locales charge less than vets in the city.
  • Some medications prescribed by vets are manufactured specifically for animals, but others are the same ones that humans would take. Shop around for the best price, as you would for your own prescriptions.
  • Your local Humane Society or SPCA often runs reduced-rate vaccination, spay and neuter clinics. These are heavily advertised and may be sponsored by local welfare offices.
  • Many vets provide free or reduced rates for certain procedures if their establishment is large enough to incur the occasional financial loss. It doesn't hurt to ask.

An ounce of prevention

  • Make a habit of checking your pet's physical condition every day. Feel it all over for any lumps or bruising, and keep an eye on anything that seems unusual.
  • Nip problems in the bud with a yearly checkup, costing between $100 and $300 for a cat or dog. The fee generally  includes the annual vaccination, checkup, blood test and parasite control.
  • Protect your cat or dog from diseases by getting the vaccinations recommended by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. Start in the first weeks of life and follow up with annual boosters.
  • Stand above your dog or cat and feel its waist. A healthy animal has an indentation behind its ribs. If you can't feel the ribs, chances are your pet is overweight.
  • Ask your vet how much it should weigh, give it more exercise and don't overfeed.
  • Overweight cats run the risk of developing a number of problems, including some forms of lower urinary tract disease, diabetes and a type of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Keep an eye on your cat's weight.
  • To reduce the chance of disease and control odours, brush and bathe your pets regularly.
  • Tartar, plaque or gum disease can lead to trouble and eventual tooth loss. You can brush the teeth of a cat or dog with a human toothbrush and pet (not human) toothpaste to prevent problems and avoid expensive descaling.
  • Dry food can lessen digestive problems, maintain healthy teeth and prevent obesity. Talk to your vet to find out what food is best for your cat or dog.

Canadian pets, unlike their human counterparts, don't get universal healthcare. But by staying vigilant and shopping around, you can save on those medical bills and keep your furry friends happy and strong.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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