Most of us understand the value of regular health checkups for ourselves and our kids, but what about our pets? If you’re like many pet owners, you may wait until your pet becomes ill or injured before considering a vet visit. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Animals are excellent at masking their pain—it’s an ancient defense against predators seeking sick or injured prey—so you may not always know when your pet is experiencing discomfort.
Let’s look at the value of preventative pet care and how having a wellness plan in place could save you money.
Pet Wellness and Preventative Care — Why It Matters
Many pet owners wait until a medical emergency arises before seeing the vet, but making and keeping wellness appointments can actually reduce the chances that you and your pet will find yourselves in an emergent situation. While regular wellness appointments won’t prevent every emergency, they do help ensure that a condition or injury does not go undetected.
So what goes into wellness care? Animal care is associated with a range of diagnostic and treatment interventions, here are a few examples:
• Spay/Neuter procedures. Spaying or neutering your pet not only prevents that unexpected litter of pups or kittens, but it also acts as a safeguard to protect your pet’s health. Neutering prevents intact males from ranging in search of a mate and prevents testicular cancer in male animals. In females, spaying prevents uterine infections and breast cancer.
•Dental care.As in humans, preventive dental care in pets is less expensive and harrowing than emergent care. Getting a dental problem treated early can save your pet a lot of discomfort while sparing your wallet the expense of dental surgery. Procedures like routine cleaning may be covered by pet insurance (and are covered by Figo's new Wellness powerup).
• Weight check. Pet obesity is a problem that can lead to more serious conditions (like diabetes) and can exacerbate other problems (like orthopedic issues or heart failure). Getting your pet on a healthy diet plan now can prevent expensive health problems later.
• Changes in behavior. It’s important for you as a pet owner to observe your pet’s behavior and report any abnormalities to your vet. Physical problems (e.g., limping, loss of appetite, overgrooming, hiding) and physical symptoms (e.g., skin sores, runny eyes, vomiting, trouble breathing).
• Labwork. Some tests, such as those for liver and kidney function, may require a blood, urine, or stool sample for testing. Testing now can detect early or subtle signs of disease before they become a serious illness.
By keeping your vet updated on any observed changes in your pet’s behavior, you are creating a clinical snapshot that helps your vet decide which interventions are needed now and which can wait. Wellness checks also help highlight small or seemingly insignificant problems that may be signs of something more serious.
Affording a Pet Wellness Plan
A pet wellness plan offers reimbursement for routine veterinary costs incurred during a regular checkup at the vet. Wellness plans are sometimes referred to as “preventive plans” because they help you pay for preventative care. Some veterinary offices provide puppy wellness plans and preventative care plans exclusively, while most pet insurance companies offer both health insurance for dogs and cats as well as supplemental wellness plans.
In today’s unpredictable times, it may seem daunting to add another expense to your list, but a wellness plan for your pet is actually an investment in the future—one that can save you money! Here are a few things you can try.
• Start a home savings fund. Whether you put aside a little from each paycheck, or just stash a few loose bills each time you return from the market, you can start a small fund that can be set aside for a pet wellness plan.
• Get a credit card. Paying expenses on credit isn’t always the ideal plan, but maintaining a low-balance credit card can help you make payments toward a wellness fund, and can prepare you in case your pet needs emergent care.
• Obtain affordable pet insurance. Pet insurers offer affordable plans to help alleviate veterinary expenses. While all procedures are not covered, a wellness plan can result in significant savings, especially if your pet needs to make frequent visits to the vet.
At Figo, our policies have comprehensive coverage for accidents and illnesses, with an option to "power up" your plan even more with our added Wellness Powerup. We also offer an Exam Fee Powerup for visits related to accidents or illnesses, wellness, and final arrangement costs, which aren’t included in the standard level of coverage. This additional coverage only adds a few dollars to the monthly premium for most pets and can save you lots of stress and money in the future. Get a quote today to learn more!
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.