How to afford pet health care costs | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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How to afford pet health care costs

Dawn Armstrong
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

Science has provided hopeful options for a variety of pet ailments. However, higher costs have come with the life saving advances. Recently, a Congressional bill was introduced to allow tax deductions up to $3,500 for pet medical expenses.

For example, pet cancer is commonplace. New high-tech scans and treatments cost thousands of dollars. Animal knee and hip replacements are routine and expensive. Generations of inbreeding and puppy mill production have affected every popular breed of dog so that now each has a readily available medical “watch” list.

Of course, prevention is the best cure for a pet budget. The obvious is to provide good water, nutritious quality food, exercise, annual check ups and regular home care such as teeth brushing. To catch things early, run a hand over the pet’s body at least once a week to find lumps, scratch wounds, and collars that no longer fit. Keeping pets out of harm’s way with a fence at home and a leash away prevents injuries from vehicles, other animals and strange people. Training and socialization are preventatives. Trained pets can be kept close and recalled from dangerous situations. Socialized pets avoid fight injuries and can be handled by emergency workers.

Two more budget helpers are pet insurance and/or a dedicated savings account. Some employers now offer optional pet insurance. Buyers must compare coverage and deductibles.

As you plan, talk with your veterinarian to learn what you might expect for your particular pet and the type of activity you enjoy together. Then budget for emergencies as well as for lifelong regular health care. On average, the American Pet Products Association reports that 27 percent of the cost of a pet is veterinary care.

For questions on information presented here, call (530) 542-2857. Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.”

Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.


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