Tax Day 2013 for Pet Parents: 4 Ways to Budget Better for Pets

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Are you getting a hefty tax return this year? Then you may be planning a sun-filled vacation. Not getting much back, or have to pay this year? Then you may be wondering how to cut some costs.

Whatever your situation, Tax Day is that time of year when we realize how effectively we’re spending our money… or not.

Where our pets are concerned, of course we all want to provide them with the best possible care. But when times are tough, many Americans choose to skip vet visits or recommended medications like flea prevention for their pets. It’s completely understandable, of course, when food and medical costs for our family come first. But are there ways to budget better for our pets, and get more out of our hard-earned cash?

Here are 4 ways to budget better for your pet this tax year.

1 – Get Pet Insurance or Start a Pet Emergency Savings Account

Pet insurance is relatively new in the US, and is fast catching on as a useful way to protect pets from unforeseen issues. Just be sure to shop around for the right policy, and check out our Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance before making a purchase.

Alternatively, some families have found that putting the money they might have spent on a pet insurance plan every month into a saving account reserved for pet emergencies works out better than buying an insurance plan.

2 – Look for Deals from Veterinarians and Humane Societies

Spaying and neutering services and vaccines are some of the most important health care services we can provide our pets. Spaying or neutering pets can prevent health issues when animals age later on, and vaccines, of course, protect against dangerous viruses and illnesses.

To cut down on the price tag of these services, search in your area for a deal from a veterinarian or your local humane society. Many will host low-cost service fairs throughout the year.

Additionally, a number of veterinarians are getting in on the game of offering package deals. You can purchase a year-long plan, for instance, that covers check-ups and some incidental costs, and make small monthly payments during the year. This can help you fit your pet’s health care costs into your regular budget, as opposed to finding yourself in a situation where you have to come up with a large sum.

3 – Consider Keeping Cats Inside

Indoor cats can live years longer than outdoor cats, and dodge issues from parasites and disease to cars and aggressive wildlife. Take a look at our considerations for deciding if it’s time to bring an outdoor cat inside.

4 – Catch Issues Early with Periodic Pet Health Checks at Home

Most health concerns for pets can be best handled — quicker, cheaper, and more effectively — if they’re caught early. Capitalize on this by doing a few quick health checks at home about once a week. Check your pet’s teeth, ears, eyes, paws, and skin for signs of irritation, insect bites, inflammation, sores, or anything out of the ordinary.

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