Caring for a Senior Dog … Without Breaking the Bank?

Every rambunctious puppy turns into a wizened senior dog someday. Along with a dog’s old age comes bigger vet bills and more complicated care as your young pup matures into a senior citizen.

By Guest Blogger, Jessica Brody

You can’t completely avoid the costs of caring for a senior pet. Old dogs need twice as many vet visits and more medications and accommodations than their younger counterparts. However, there is a lot you can do to keep costs down while giving senior dogs the care they deserve.

4 Ways to Save on Senior Dog Care

Keep vet bills down (without skipping the vet).

Veterinarians recommend twice-yearly wellness visits for senior dogs. This promotes the early detection of age-related illnesses like dental disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

Costs for preventative services like wellness exams, blood tests, and dental cleanings vary from vet to vet. Call around to find an affordable vet, and don’t be afraid to ask about cost when your veterinarian recommends a test or treatment. A good veterinary practice helps pet owners understand their options and the costs involved.

Most pet insurance plans don’t cover routine veterinary care. However, insurance can be a lifesaver in an emergency. Weigh the pros and cons of pet insurance before your pet reaches its senior years. Pet insurance plans are more expensive and harder to come by for senior pets.

Shop around for senior pet supplies.

Suddenly, your low-maintenance pooch needs a lot of special gear to stay healthy and comfortable. Pet stairs and ramps, orthopedic pet beds, joint supplements, and specially formulated diets are just a few of the supplies senior dog owners find on their shopping lists.

These products are a worthy investment in your pet’s health, but the costs add up. Rather than stocking up at the nearest pet store, shop online to find the best prices on the brands you trust. Online shopping makes it easy to compare prices from major retailers like PetSmart, Chewy, and Walmart. Need a Walmart coupon? Simply search for promos online rather than digging for coupons at the bottom of your purse.

Feed them a healthy and affordable diet.

Senior dogs have a range of dietary needs, and senior dog foods likewise vary in calorie, protein, fiber, and fat content. Some dog foods even require a prescription. Unfortunately, specialized dog foods can induce sticker shock. To save money on dog food, look for services like Amazon and Chewy that offer discounts on recurring orders. Pet owners can also get coupons directly from manufacturers like Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Blue Buffalo when they sign up for email newsletters.

Want to treat your senior pooch? Avoid empty calories and buy high-quality treats that support healthy nutrition. Senior dog treats are formulated to support joint health, brain health, dental health, and more. Not only will you get the most out of every calorie, but healthy treats let your dollars pull double duty.

Get in the grooming habit.

A reduction in physical activity and self-grooming can lead to matted fur and long nails in senior dogs. Luckily, grooming at home helps you go longer between expensive appointments with the groomer. It’s also a great opportunity to check for lumps and bumps and spend quality time with your dog.

Start by brushing senior dogs daily with a soft, gentle brush and clipping excess fur in the groin area. For baths, use a non-slip mat and a mild, moisturizing shampoo to clean your dog’s coat without drying its skin.

Next, it’s time for ear cleaning and nail trims. Some dogs tolerate nail trims at home. If yours doesn’t, schedule nail trims every 2-3 weeks. If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the ground, they’re too long. Ears are easy to clean at home with an ear cleaning solution and cotton balls, but signs of irritation or infection call for a veterinarian’s expertise.

Someday, you’ll have to say goodbye to your senior dog. Before that day comes, make sure you’re giving your senior pet the care it deserves. With smart spending habits and your dog’s best interests at heart, you can care for your good old dog and keep your budget intact.

For more pet care tips, advice, and inspiration, look no further than Spike’s Dog Blog!
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