Is there a doc in the house?akedeka/Shutterstock
Vet costs to the tune of $800 annually top the list of owning a dog, according to a recent National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The basics like puppy shots, flea and tick protection are a given, but what if your furry baby falls suddenly ill or is injured? An unplanned vet visit can be costly but is pet insurance worth the monthly premium? Amy Nelson, of Catonsville, Maryland is now considering pet insurance after a recent scare when her puppy, Blue, suddenly became ill. “Blue wasn’t eating and she was very lethargic,” recalls Nelson. “The vet, who seemed alarmed by Blue’s lethargy, expressed concern that she might have ingested something or be very sick.” Blood work, x-rays, and $550 later, nothing conclusive was found but happily Blue got better. “In the end, I’d say the peace of mind was worth it,” says Nelson. Would pet insurance helped in Blue’s case? Yes, says Rob Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. “If Amy had enrolled her puppy in pet health insurance and the proper waiting period had passed of 15 days, her dog Blue would have been covered for all accidents, injuries, and illnesses; barring any preexisting conditions,” says Jackson. Monthly plans with most pet insurance companies start at around $20 per month.
Kibble and treatsakedeka/Shutterstock
Many dogs will eat anything you put in front of them, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for their digestion and overall health. (In fact, here’s a list of foods you should never feed your dog.) Dog owners spend an average of $200 on kibble and $75 on treats per year, with that number going up for larger dogs. “While pricey foods tend to have higher quality ingredients, like in human food, you need not overspend to buy dog food,” say Kristen Levine, pet expert and blogger at Kristen Levine Pet Living. Check with your vet about the specific needs of your pup and then you can choose a product according to your budget. Buying dog food in large quantities and properly storing it to keep it fresh will help defray costs. As far as those tempting treats, try making your own. “Look to a reputable source for healthy pet recipes or use only ingredients you know are okay for your pet to ingest,” recommends Levine.