The Cost of Unconditional Love

Row of Puppies and Kittens

Pets are a wonderful thing; they give us unconditional love and expect virtually nothing in return. We turn to them in times of stress and sorrow, and with a tug of a rope toy or a goofy lick of our faces, our troubles seem to disappear. Furthermore, when these pets become specialized service animals, they can touch peoples’ lives in unimaginable ways – from improving the lives of seniors in assisted living, to sensing when their owner is going to have a seizure, to helping a young child with autism overcome his social anxieties and calm them during times of turmoil. There’s nothing like the jubilation your dog expresses when you come home from a long day of work, or the feeling of that warm cuddly cat on your lap in front of the fireplace.

But there is a cold and ugly truth to pet ownership – and that is the cost. Many people are unaware of the potential costs that can arise from pet ownership, which can lead to very difficult decisions when it comes to your pet’s care. In this entry, our hope is to illuminate pet owners and soon-to-be pet owners on the potential costs associated with pet ownership with specific focus on veterinary care. It is important that we give our pets top quality veterinary care, but we understand that sometimes the costs associated can be a source of stress. Luckily, there are routine things that pet owners can do to alleviate some of these costs, and we’ll be touching on that as well.

Adopting a new pet is always exciting – from naming them, to buying them their first collar, their first food bowl, crate, etc. But more importantly, new puppies and kittens need to be properly vaccinated. Many first-time pet owners are unaware of a young pet’s vaccination schedule; puppies and kittens need a series of boosters, and should be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age.

  • Puppies require a series of 3 Distemper boosters, periodic deworming’s, a Rabies vaccine, and heartworm preventative. The cost of neutering/spaying of your dog varies based on age of the dog, weight, sex, etc.
  • Kittens also require a series of 3 feline Distemper boosters, periodic deworming’s and a Rabies vaccine, as well as testing for Feline Leukemia/AIDS. The cost of neutering/spaying a cat or kitten should also been taken into consideration.

Making sure that your pet is up-to-date on their vaccinations and care is an excellent way to keep track of your pet’s health, and to make sure there are fewer surprises. Regular veterinary care is imperative in making sure that most minor health issues do not become major (read: costly) issues. Keeping up with annual exams and recommended bloodwork is crucial. Though basic bloodwork does cost money, it is an excellent indicator of any internal issues going on with your pet’s organs. Bloodwork can determine if your pet’s liver and kidneys are functioning properly, if there are any possible infections present, and can even indicate the presence of cancer. It is important that regular bloodwork be obtained in order for your veterinarian to have points of reference in your pet’s care.

Dental care can also be costly, especially if your pet has any teeth that need to be extracted. Luckily, regular daily brushing greatly decreases this risk, just as it does in humans. In addition to making sure your pet’s teeth are healthy, it will greatly improve their breath!

We encourage pet owners to seriously consider pet insurance. There are many different plans available, and it can be overwhelming, so research is key! Many insurance plans only cover illnesses and accidents, though there are a few that cover wellness care (annual visits, vaccinations, heartworm tests/preventatives). Many of these insurance companies can provide online quotes, and are reachable by phone for more in-depth questions. The right insurance could be the difference between getting your pet the care they need and having to make a difficult decision. Too many pets are tragically euthanized at a young age because the cost of emergency care is too great.

Care Credit is also a valuable resource to have – it acts as a medical credit card, and is widely accepted at most veterinary clinics. They have special financing terms that can help owners deal with the cost of pet emergencies (i.e. a broken leg, a cat swallowing a sewing needle, a dog swallowing rocks, etc.). Many emergency clinics require payment in full at the time of service, and can cost several thousand dollars. Having insurance or Care Credit can give owners the financial assistance they so dearly need.

Though pets can certainly impact our wallets, the positive impact they have on our lives is immeasurable. Where would we be without our furry friends? As always, we here at Steinway Court Vet strive to give your pets the best care possible, and to be a source of information on all things pet-care!

Be sure to double-check your pet’s records – are they overdue on vaccinations or an annual exam? Call us today so that we can give your pet the care they deserve!

Pet insurance, Should you or Shouldn’t you?

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The majority of our clients who have pet insurance are happy that they have it.  Depending on the type of policy as well as which company/pet insurance you choose, pet insurance can be worthwhile.  Like any type of insurance it is in place to make sure that when an emergency or something unforeseen occurs it will help cover the costs.  When an unexpected illness, accidents or emergency occurs you may be faced with hard choices due to financial considerations.  Insurance helps eliminate some of those choices.

“While you can’t predict when accidents or illnesses will happen, a pet health insurance plan will help you deal with unexpected veterinary costs, and you’ll know you’re providing the best possible protection for your pet.”  Not only will you be protecting your pet but potentially protecting yourself from making heart wrenching decisions based on finances

But like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can be complicated.  Depending on the policy that you choose, some policies will not cover older pets or genetic conditions that certain breeds are known to have, such as hip dysplasia in retrievers.  It is very important to check as well as compare various products that different companies offer to find one that will meet your needs.

Some people may be more comfortable putting aside money every month for their pet in a “Pet savings account” to cover the unexpected.  By putting money aside to pay for future work you may be covered for the unexpected veterinary care.  However you must be diligent about putting the money aside.  But what happens if the “future” turns out to be in a couple of months from when you initially started your savings plan?  That would not be so good.  For example, your puppy is playing with a red rubber ball, accidentally chews it up and swallows it.   Not good.  Or… your cat somehow swallows a needle, Yikes.  Sounds unlikely, true, but it happens more than you would think.  All are unexpected accidents.

The Steinway Court Vet recommends a few different companies based on how pleased our clients are regarding ease of reimbursement and of course the amount of that reimbursement.

Nationwide Pet insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance

http://trupanion.com/pet-insurance

http://www.petsbest.com/

http://www.akcpethealthcare.com/

http://www.gopetplan.com/

There are many others.  Please get free price quotes from these and any other company.  Compare apples to apples when you receive your free quotes.