#childsafety | Things You’re Probably Doing That Veterinarians Wouldn’t

You ignore their pearly whites

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If your dog or cat has stinky breath, they may also have plaque buildup or periodontal disease. Brushing your pet’s teeth can ward off tooth decay, as well as infections that can spread to other parts of the body. You can bet your vet is brushing her dog’s or cat’s teeth. Not only is this part of an animal’s necessary health care, but it can also help to prevent the need for expensive surgical cleaning later on.

If you get your pet into the habit of having their teeth brushed when they are young, you’ll be able to scratch this worry off your list. One important note: Make sure to get a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for pets. Never use toothpaste made for people on pets, as these can harm them.

You didn’t consider the financial reality of owning a pet

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It’s easy to look into those big, gorgeous eyes, fall in love immediately, and adopt a pet on impulse. But if you don’t first figure out whether or not you can afford to take care of a pet for life, you’re making a big mistake—and a very common one, at that. So how much will a pet cost you? According to the ASPCA, new pet owners can expect to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 annually on their dog or cat. This estimate, however, may be low if you have an aging pet or one with special needs or a medical condition.

“Dogs need vaccinations, flea treatment, and heartworm medication, which can all be budgeted for, but the unexpected emergency care, such as when the dog eats something he shouldn’t or the cat gets a urinary tract infection, can catch a pet parent off guard,” says Jackson. “Certain purebred dogs—such as pugs, bulldogs, and German shepherds—are also more prone to medical problems than others. Pet insurance can help offset a big portion of these unexpected veterinary costs for accidents and illnesses and help make sure that you can afford the necessary care. This way, pet parents won’t be faced with having to make a difficult decision between their wallet and their pet’s health.”

Dr. Landis-Hanna adds that getting pet insurance right away means your pet won’t have any “pre-existing” conditions that will be excluded from your insurance plan. Plus, it’s a good idea to save some money for unexpected emergencies. “If you want to ensure you have an emergency fund saved for your pet, you can also consider a pet savings account with your bank,” she suggests. “Consider an automatic deposit of 5 percent of your pay to hold in case of an emergency. Generally, young pets (puppies and kittens) and senior pets (over age 7) are more expensive than adults (aged 1 to 6).” But before you commit, this is what you need to ask before signing up for pet insurance.

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