On occasion, I have a client tell me that it is not in their budget to feed fresh food to their pet.  I sympathize with this as most of us live on a tight budget.  But, if you are concerned about the cost of health care for your pet, you might need to look at things a little differently.

Each year, here in the US, we spend billions of dollars for veterinary care for our pets.  A pet health insurance company recently wrote that here in the US, every two minutes a person is paying a vet bill that exceeds $3000.00  They also state that the cost of veterinary care is rising annually about 10%.  The average cost to take your pet to the vet is about $287.00.  It doesn’t take a lot of mathematical prowess to see that a bit of proactive, preventative care could save you a lot of money on vet bills.

We have two large dogs, each weighing about 60 pounds and we feed a balanced, raw diet.  We are not “shoppers” and we buy our food at the local market.  It costs us a little under $300 a month to feed them healthy food.  Yes, we could buy them a bag of kibble and beat that price and possibly pay for pet health insurance, but this is not the way to prevent a health problem.

Feeding heat-processed pet food, both kibble and canned, has been linked to every chronic health problem we find in pets.  If you want your pet to thrive, you must feed a healthy diet.  Period.  If you want to feed these convenient diets that the pet food industry has fooled you into believing that they are good for your pet and has been backed by the beliefs of your regular veterinarian, you better buy pet health insurance or start a savings account for your pet’s health care.  And, there are a lot of companies out there that will be happy to sell you pet health insurance.

This is not what we want for our pets.  We want to be healthy and happy and that begins with proper nutrition.  We can no longer justify eating unhealthy food and expect to get away with it.  The same goes for our pets.  Unfortunately, they don’t have a say in the matter, so it is up to us to make the right choices for them.  Cutting corners with nutrition is not the way to cut costs.  It is like building a multi-story building on sand instead of concrete.  It won’t work.  It is better to save money by not over-vaccinating you pets or not spending money on toxic chemicals for fleas and ticks, keeping your pet exercised to reduce injury and keeping a happy, healthy home environment for them to live.

The veterinary profession has changed enormously since I started about 37 years ago.  Veterinary schools are teaching vet students to approach every patient as a potential liability lawsuit.  This generation of veterinarians have a “defensive” approach to medicine and will do everything to avoid making a mistake, which means running every test possible to make sure that nothing is overlooked.  If a pet requires anything but the simplest surgical repair, the pet is sent to a board-certified surgeon for surgery and the cost goes through the roof.  If the pet has a complicated disease, the pet will likely be sent to a board-certified specialist and the cost goes up enormously.  Are you starting to see how vet medicine is looking a lot like human health care?  It is because all of us are coming from the same, fearful perspective.

         The healthy status of the physical body begins with basic nutrition.  This is fundamental.  We cannot expect a healthy pet if we feed an unhealthy diet.  This is not the place that we need to be looking to cut cost for pet health care.