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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saving Money on Ginger (the dog)

We’re coming up on Ginger’s “Gotcha Day” so I thought  I’d post a little bit about pets.  For those of you who are scratching your head, Miss Hurricane Ginger arrived at our household 2 years ago this coming week.  And yes, she landed like a Category 4 Hurricane.  We’ve come a long way since then --- she’s not the perfect dog (yet) but she’s well on her way to AWESOME. 
Ginger is a happy, healthy dog who LOVES the vet.  Fortunately for us, the vet loves her too.  When we were getting ready to adopt, we dealt with a number of  rescue organizations who wanted to know what we thought it cost to own a dog.  We were shocked at how low most people estimate the cost to be.  Owning a dog can be downright expensive.  They need food, vet care, toys, grooming, leashes, beds and a host of other things. 
We’ve gotten pretty good at saving on vet costs with our little Hurricane.  For starters, we didn’t assume that we had the best price with the vet we had and loved.  We did some shopping around and finding out what different vets cost.  Once we had some information, we were ready to make decisions.  Our vet was quite competitive and we think she’s terrific so we really wanted to stay with her.  We were up front about the cost differences – and she made some adjustments.  Some of the fees are still a tiny bit higher, but the level of service and quality of care are well worth the tiny difference for us. 
We take Ginger to the vet regularly.  She gets regular check-ups, immunizations and other health care.  We’ve had dogs in the past and we know --- the same as people, healthy animals have longer and better lives.  We keep Ginger trim and in good shape (she loves to go jogging!!)  She’s spayed (that reduces her risk for a number of cancers).  And she eats quality food.  Keeping her healthy keeps our costs down. 
There are times when she needs some medication.  We used to simply accept the pill bottle from the vet.  But now we’ve realized that we can shop around and take her prescription to CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or Target and often get some very inexpensive medication.  We also use and to price check all of the medications.  Our vet price matches those websites, so I don’t actually have to order online.  That makes everything very convenient. 
We also have insurance on Ginger.  The Humane Society has a pet health care insurance plan that isn’t expensive and will cover any emergencies (Hurricanes are prone to emergencies, so we’re holding our breath)