Deals Episodes

Pet Care Savings

Veterinarian Marty Becker says keeping your pet healthy and happy should start with brushing their teeth. This simple task can save you a lot of money.

"As veterinarians the number one thing we diagnose day in and day out is periodontal disease -- basically infected teeth and gums. If you have daily oral care for a pet you are going to reduce the vet bills," says Dr. Becker. "The pet is going to live an average of 15 percent longer. That's two years."

Teeth problems lead to a list of other problems that can be painful and VERY costly to treat.

"Here's what happens when you have periodontal disease. It's infected teeth and gums with bacteria. And the bacteria gets pumped into the blood stream -- and it weakens the immune system and wears down the internal organs, " says Dr. Becker.

So if you are not brushing now, and want to start -- Dr. Becker advises to take it slow. Start off by just rubbing your pet's teeth with your finger, then work your way up to the toothbrush. If your pet won't let you near it with a toothbrush, there are other options.

"There's actually additives you can get to put in the water and all pets have to drink. It's totally tasteless so the pet doesn't' even know you are doing dental care," says Dr. Becker. "Better is to take advantage of a dog's natural tendency to chew. So whether you are giving enzyme impregnated chews you get from the veterinarian office or greenies or special dental diets you can help get the tarter off your pet's teeth."

It's not just a pet's mouth that needs to stay clean. Giving them a bath can also really cut down on the vet bill!

"The other thing to save money. This is something brand new -- bathe your pet once a week. Remember the number one reason people take their dogs to the vet -- skin problems -- and by bathing them once a week you flush the pollen, spores, dust, dander, dust mites," says Dr. Becker.

" Eighty percent of ear problems too are caused by environmental allergies. So by just bathing your pet once a week you are going to dramatically decrease the number of skin problems, and ear problems you have and that's really going to decrease your veterinarian cost."

And lastly -- Dr. Becker recommends planning ahead for possible emergencies that may cost you big.

"Consider pet insurance," warns Dr. Becker. "What it does -- it saves for those times when you have those catastrophic things so all of the sudden your dog has heartworm disease, or it needs some teeth pulled. You put away a little money along so when it comes time to return a portion of what they've given you you don't have to say, 'Oh my gosh, it's suffering,' or you are not able to provide for them."

Dr. Becker also recommends calling a vet first in an emergency situation. The answer may not always be an expensive trip to the vet.

"Theres often times the vet will recommend things that are in your medicine chest. Let's say your pet got into a poisoning like de-con. You call and tell them I saw the dog get into de-con, they would actually have you give hydrogen peroxide to make the dog vomit. And as long as it wasn't more than a half hour that dog is going to be fine, doesn't even need to be taken to the veterinarian." Becker adds, "Other times if they have a cut they may tell you to use KY Jelly. And what that is it prevents other dirt from coming in there until you can come in and get sewn up."

For more helpful money saving tips from Dr. Marty Becker check out his website drmartybecker.com.

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