I have been trying to find a commercial that I remembered seeing years ago to illustrate the reason that I wrote “The Wise Pet Owner.” I thoughtI remembered it being a Midas commercial, but I found an old Fram Oil Filter commercial that illustrated the point and contained the particular words I was looking for. The words I remembered were, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.” In the context of the commercial, it meant that you can pay a little for regular maintenance on your engine or you can pay a lot later to have it rebuilt because you neglected regular oil changes.
How does this apply to your pet? Wise pet owners would rather prevent a problem than treat it because they know that prevention costs much less than a cure and also avoids unnecessary pain and suffering for their pet.
I decided to write The Wise Pet Owner because I have a unique vantage point that pet owners don’t have. Every day I see pets that are injured or sick and suffering needlessly. I see pets die that shouldn’t have, and the terrible grief it causes among family members. Losing a pet is always hard, but the grief is compounded when the pet owner realizes it was preventable. I see clients who suddenly realize they aren’t financially prepared to pay for an unexpected and serious illness or accident that their pet is experiencing. In many cases, the accident or illness could have been easily and inexpensively prevented. The advice given in this book can help pet owners “prevent the preventable.” It can make a difference in not only the length and quality of your pet’s life, but in your pocketbook also.
So, the best way for pet owners to save money on the healthcare of their pet is to do all they can to keep their pet healthy by preventing problems that result in unexpected and unnecessary visits to their veterinarian. After reading the book, the hospital administrator of a local emergency clinic said this:
“The Wise Pet Owner is the book I have been writing in my head for years, but if too many people read it, it could put us out of business. The material it covers should be mandatory reading for everyone prior to getting a pet.”
I understand that not all accidents or illnesses are preventable in our pets and that is why pet insurance can come in handy, but when possible, preventing a problem is preferable. Therefore, my experiences as a practicing veterinarian lead me to write The Wise Pet Owner as a complimentary book to Your Guide To Understanding Pet Health Insurance.
What is commonly called “preventative or wellness care” today for your pet used to be called “health maintenance care” which is fitting in light of the commercial I finally found.
Let me give you some examples of some "pay me now" or "pay me later" events that I and other veterinarians see way too often.
Pay me now (wise pet owner) - client schedules dental prophy when recommended by their veterinarian. Avg. cost = $100 -$200. This client also brushes pet's teeth every day.
Pay me later (unwise pet owner) - client ignores their veterinarian's advice to get their pet's teeth cleaned and doesn't brush pet's teeth. Every visit the veterinarian repeats advice to get pet's teeth cleaned and it is ignored. Finally, owner brings pet in for horribly bad breath and reluctance to chew on one side. Diagnosis: Advanced periodontal disease causing significant pain to pet which now requires periodontal treatment and/or multiple extractions. Cost: $800 up.
Pay me now (wise pet owner) - client has her dog tested annually for heartworms as recommended by her veterinarian and purchases a monthly heartworm preventative (12 mo. supply) and faithfully gives it every month to her dog. Avg. annual cost for test and preventative = $100 - $150 depending on size of dog.
Pay me later (unwise pet owner) - client gets her dog tested annually for heartworms, but doesn't buy and give her dog any heartworm preventative or buys a 6 month supply, but fails to get it refilled, effectively giving the preventative only 6 months out of every year. Finally, one year the dog tests positive for heartworms. Cost of treatment = $600 to over $1,000 depending on the size of the dog. Or worse, dog comes in with life threatening complications of heartworms e.g. heart failure or caval syndrome which dramatically increases the cost of treatment which may or may not be successful.
The Wise Pet Owner is what I would say to each and every one of my own clients if I had the time to do so. Although veterinarians and their staffs give a lot of good information and advice to pet owners, time is limited during office visits and from my experience, the brochures, etc. that we send home with clients often get lost and/or not read at all. So, putting all the information in a book form seemed appropriate. The advice in this book could very well have been given by your own veterinarian. You should view your relationship with your veterinarian as a partnership with the goal of keeping your pet happy and healthy. Follow your veterinarian's advice - especially as it pertains to wellness care. If you don't have a good relationship with a veterinarian you can call you own, who knows you and your pet personally, it is very important to your pet's health and well-being to establish and maintain such a relationship. However, not all the advice in the book involves your veterinarian. You can do a lot of things at home that costs you very little money, but have the potential to save you literally thousands of dollars and even your pet's life.