Do you find yourself having trouble paying your vet bills? For millions of us in this country, our pets are cherished members of the family and we want the best for them. Sometimes, alas, that can mean spending thousands of dollars on procedures that are necessary to maintain or restore their health. Also, unlike with humans, the government does not cover any part of your vet bill. In their eyes, a cat or dog is no different from a car: your voluntary purchase = your responsibility.

Even if you dote on your pet, they will still age and become infirm: there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent that. However (and sorry to once again compare a beloved member of the family to a car), if you do preventative maintenance, there is a very good chance that you can reduce both your vet costs and the animal’s discomfort by catching issues before they become major problems.

That means making sure the animal has its yearly shots and examination. That checkup performs the same function as a physical for humans: making sure everything is in working order and nothing unusual is evident. Catching things early will mean some expense, but most likely a lot less than what you might face had the problem been found later. There is also a very good chance that your pet will live a longer and happier life.

There is nothing wrong with saving for the future, and you should do that as well when it comes to vet bills. Work out your budget and see how much money you have left over. Take some of that each month and put it into a separate savings account. Thus, when that expensive procedure inevitably comes, you will have money available to cover all, or at least some, of the cost.

You don’t have to spend much time in your local pet store to discover that pampering pets is a multi-billion dollar business. When I was young, we pampered our dog by getting him the occasional meaty bone from the butcher. Nowadays, dogs receive expensive gourmet foods of almost every description, incredibly comfortable bedding, and leashes that are precision-designed to provide as little discomfort as possible.

Pets are often seen as substitutes for children, and they can certainly receive the same degree of attention. Is this a good thing for the dog? What about their human friend(s)?

Dogs Don’t Understand This Extra Attention

You may think that taking Duke to the doggie spa is a way of showing just how much you love him, but dogs don’t understand, or often even appreciate, this extra attention. They much prefer just to be treated like a normal, everyday dog. That’s what they understand and look forward to, so save your money and go to a human spa without Duke.

Spoiling is Bad for Discipline

You can’t spoil a dog and also expect it to be behave the way you want it to. Dogs that do not receive the proper degree of discipline can become ill-tempered and won’t appreciate (or even understand) when you want them to do things.

Dogs Need Socialization

If you prefer to keep your dog away from all of the “canine riffraff” in the neighborhood, don’t be surprised if it becomes unruly from all of the isolation. A dog that lashes out, jumps on people, and hops over/through barriers meant to protect it is likely acting in fear. Letting it get out and learn that there is little or nothing to be afraid of will lead to a happier, more even-tempered dog.

Dogs Need Exercise

Don’t think that your lounging dog is tired because se is getting too much exercise. It’s more likely she is bored from sitting around the house. That can lead to health issues and destructive behavior when the dogs decides to vent that pent-up energy by trashing your home.