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Money Saving Tip #44: Budget Pet Care

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Due to the ever-rising cost of pet care, budget conscious pet owners are constantly watching for ways to reduce these costs and find options that fit within their pet care budget.

A virtual ocean of advice dealing with pets floods the Internet. Unfortunately, it's sometimes misleading, especially when it comes to budget pet care. Here are three fallacies.

1. For Budget Pet Care, Go To A Veterinary Teaching Hospital

You'll come across this claim quite often on the Internet. While its true that teaching hospitals may provide budget pet care for unique cases that provide teaching opportunities to students, most cases presented don't fall into this category. Teaching hospitals do not exist to compete with local veterinarians on veterinary care; rather, their job is to complement the private veterinarians within their communities. So don't expect them to undermine this goodwill by providing budget pet care.

2. A Prepaid Plan Is Cheaper Than Paying For Each Individual Service Separately

Oftentimes, veterinarians offer clients prepackaged veterinary care plans as a means of working within their pet care budget. Offered at a discount, these plans combine services into one lump sum. Unfortunately, many of these "meal deals" contain care your pet may not need. In addition, you pay upfront for a discount on services, yet the regular price of those services may be artificially inflated. In other words, do your homework and compare prices among veterinarians in your area. What seems like budget pet care may indeed be the opposite!

3. Budget Pet Care Starts With Pet Insurance

True, pet insurance sounds great and in some cases, it can help financially if your pet experiences a major injury or illness. But understand that these “major” situations are the exception rather than the norm. To add insult to injury, the veterinary care needed may not even be covered by the policy. It's imperative that you scrutinize a pet health insurance policy very closely. By the time you take into account exclusions for pre-existing conditions, deductibles, and premium costs, it may not be worth it.

Insuring a dog or cat can put a strain on any pet care budget. It can cost more than $5000 over the pet's lifetime and that doesn't include deductible payments and additional medical costs for veterinary care not covered by the policy.  If your dog or cat makes it through life without a major illness or injury, you've wasted a lot of money. On the other hand, if you would have deposited that same $5000 into a private savings account established exclusively for veterinary care, you'd have a nice stash of cash, plus interest, to use on veterinary care for future pets or, for that matter, however you please.

Locating true budget pet care can be challenging, yet it's possible. Do your research and carefully consider each option you encounter to figure out whether or not there's truly a cost savings. If you do this, you're bound to save yourself a ton of money on on your pet's veterinary care.

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