People have doctors and hospitals. Pets have vets and clinics. If you haven’t already established a robust health routine with your vet, then it’s time to start. Investing in regular check-ups, getting vaccine boosters on time, and knowing when to take your pet in for an emergency visit will make a world of difference in your pet’s quality of life and in how long they’re with you. A healthy pet is one that’s happier, better behaved, and lives longer. If you’re a first-time owner, it can be hard to know when to take your pet to the vet, especially if you’re on a tight budget, so use this guide to help you understand everything you need to know about your pet and the vet.
Types of Vets (and How to Choose)
There are many different vets out there, but ultimately the decision will boil down to whether the vet is part of a chain or privately owned. In general, chain-owned vets tend to offer better prices, but the cost-cutting involved typically leaves many pet owners less than thrilled with the service. Locally owned vets, on the other hand, will provide a better quality of service. Regardless, you want the vet in question to cover all the essentials, be local to you, and be passionate about the animals they care for.
Vets like saltwateranimalhospital.com offer all the essential services from vaccinations and preventative healthcare all the way to pregnancy care, end-of-life care, and emergency services. This way, you know exactly where to go, you’ll trust the people involved, and your pet itself will be more relaxed since they know the place and the technicians.
How Often to See the Vet
You should book in to see the vet at least once per year. During this time, your pet should get a health check-up and also a booster on their vaccinations. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get in touch with your vet until then. You’ll want to get flea medication and anti-parasite medication throughout the year. The good news is you don’t need to leave the house to do it, and you can usually order that from your vet to be sent to your door, so there’s never a moment when your pet isn’t protected.
When to Book an Out-of-Routine Appointment
There are a few instances where you’ll need to book an emergency appointment. If your pet is severely injured and in need of emergency care, always go to the nearest 24/7 emergency clinic. Otherwise, book an appointment ASAP for these concerns:
- Sudden lethargy that lasts more than a day or two
- Your dog refuses to eat or drink
- There’s blood in their gums, bile, urine, or stools
How to Lower Your Vet Costs
Vet bills can be costly, and unless you have the savings upfront to cover the costs, then your best bet is to get pet insurance. Always check with the vet what insurance they can accept and in their experience, which option would be best for your pet. You can always change providers as you go to take advantage of new deals and offers, so keep that in mind when choosing and also throughout your pet’s life to help keep your insurance payments low.
Pet insurance typically includes preventative care services like vaccinations and a yearly check-up in their package. Make sure you take advantage of all these included services so you can get more value for what you pay.