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Stop Paying Too Much for Pet Services That Don't "Pay"

Stop Throwing Your Money Away

By Ellen Thompson. January 06, 2014 | See Comments

A Cat Being Held By A Veterinarian

Having a pet can be rather expensive. Some services can cost huge amounts, but are they worth it? Find out what to cut back on and save a bit of money.

We know you love your pet. So much so that price tags pretty much don’t exist. In other words, if you thought a certain service or product would benefit your pet you’d pay for it. Boy, would you pay for it.

But as it turns out, you may be paying too much for something that may actually not be beneficial for your pet after all. See if your wallet is being drained by these five pet services and products that aren’t worth it.

1. Annual Vaccinations

Still getting your pet vaccinated annually? Well, you may want to reconsider. It has recently been found that certain common vaccinations have a longer lifespan than initially thought. In most cases, what your pet really needs is a booster shot every three years; distemper and rabies are two that call for such.

However, if you live in an area where ticks are present and abundant, boosters for Lyme disease are recommended annually. Also, if you often bring your pet for grooming or send them off to a doggy day care or kennel, bordetella (kennel cough) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccines are recommended annually.  

If you’ve been eying combination shots that pack several vaccines into one inoculation, look away. They’re not as cost effective as you’d think, not to mention they are brutal on your pet’s immune system. Combination shots contain unnecessary and even dangerous vaccines, which have been linked to autoimmune disease.

2. Dietary Supplements

In certain cases, dietary supplements can be a great addition to your pet’s meal, improving specific conditions or overall health; chondroitin and glucosamine are prime examples. In other cases, however, pet owners have been known to actually harm their cat or dog by pumping their meals full of unnecessary supplements.

Fortunately, your pet’s food should already be fortified with the supplements they need. So unless your vet recommends a supplement for a specific health condition, keep the cash in your wallet. If a supplement is needed, consider shopping for it online, where you’ll likely find the best price from a certified online pet pharmacy.

3. High-end Grooming

How often do you shell out the big bucks for a spa day for yourself? Not too often, right? Now how often do you treat your pet to one? While regular baths, nail clippings, and teeth and ear cleanings are certainly necessary, overpaying for them along with various high-end grooming services is not. Stick to a schedule that keeps your pet clean — that’s the goal.

4. Group Dog Walking

You want your dog to get all of the attention he or she deserves, even when you’re not around to give it. Which is most likely why you hire a personal dog walker. Only thing is, a ton of other people in your neighborhood have probably hired that same walker, meaning your dog is trotting down sidewalks alongside a bevy of buddies and not getting the attention you’re paying for.

Granted it’s crucial to get your dog out and about, but you can achieve the same results of exercise and socialization by revising your schedule and making a point to pencil in healthy activities with your dog.

However, if you’re working long days, don’t cancel the walker — just realize that the extra attention you want for your dog will be best if it comes from you.

5. Feeding and Exercise Machines

Sure, some gadgets can make life a little easier. But sometimes automatic food dispensers can lead to obedience and weight issues in pets. Your pet should be fed by you at the same time everyday in order to develop obedience skills and an understanding of the hierarchy in the home. Scheduled and monitored feedings reduce the chances of overeating, which will mitigate weight gain and prevent a variety of health issues.

Speaking of overweight pets, another unnecessary pet product is pet-designed exercise machines. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a dog treadmill (which could potentially injure your pet) you can play a game of fetch or bring your dog out for a jog with you for free.

6. Plastic Surgery

If you thought people were spending startling amounts of money on plastic surgery for themselves, you might be shocked to find out that pet owners in 2010 spent an estimated $2.5 million on nose jobs and another $1.6 million on eye lifts for their pets, according to the insurer PetPlan.

While a portion of those procedures may have been performed for health reasons, a greater portion is believed to have been performed solely for cosmetic reasons, which the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association is against. Some pet owners have shelled out $10,000 per procedure putting their pets under the knife for face lifts, tummy tucks, teeth straightening, and silicone testicle enhancements.

Additional procedures that are cosmetic in nature but can be performed for health purposes include tummy tucks to remove excess skin from pets who have lost a substantial amount of weight. If this skin is not removed it could drag and become infected, as well as weigh down the animal resulting in other health issues. Other procedures may reduce chronic health conditions like eye and ear infections. But to perform them for cosmetic reasons, it just doesn’t pay.

Keep in mind, what is unnecessary for one dog maybe completely necessary for another when it comes to quality of life and overall health. If you’re unclear on what exactly your pet needs, speak with your vet.

More on Health Care Costs

How Are Pet Prescriptions Cards Different Than Pet Insurance?
11 Ways to Save Money on Pets
How Much Should Neutering a Pet Cost?

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