Econo-Dog Goes to the Vet (or, Better Yet, Doesn't Need To)

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
2-minute read

Vet costs can be scary high, and the odds are also scary high that at some point in your dog's life she'll need pricey care. In my own home a couple of months ago, a guest who didn't know better left several boxes of raisins in doggy reach. Raisins and grapes can trash dog kidneys, so when induced vomiting didn't bring up enough of the goods, it was off to the emergency hospital with Juni, and there went $900. Ouch.

Emergencies aside, there are ways to keep vet costs down without shorting your dog. The opposite, in fact. Just as with human health, preventive care is cheap and will save you a mint in the long run.

In my episode on deciding whether you're ready to get a dog, I discussed some ways of keeping down start-up expenses, like spay/neuter. Once you've got your dog, here are 4 ways to help keep her healthy and long-lived:

  • Get your dog plenty of exercise and keep her lean. Being fat strains her heart and lungs. It makes arthritis worse and increases the risk of diabetes. It even makes surgery riskier.
  • Brush your dog's teeth. (Here's a good how-to video.) The less plaque and tartar he has, the less dentistry he'll need. One good round of dentistry will run you about the same as airfare to Europe. Besides, gingivitis and periodontal disease hurt, and the bacteria from infected gums and jaws can damage his liver, kidneys, and heart.


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).