Pet health: Protecting your furry family member can start at hom - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Pet health: Protecting your furry family member can start at home

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Let's be honest, for many of us our pets are part of the family, and like our other family members, sometimes they don't feel so well. But unlike our children, spouses, and parents, they can't tell us when they feel down.

Many people think, "If only we had insurance, we could afford to help them no matter what," but as cure-alls go, pet insurance is extremely pricey. 

"It was a huge expense when I finally decided to look into it, so we decided to not get insurance," pet owner Olivia Moore says.

Pet insurance can run you $500 a year for dogs and $285 on average for cats, and Moore says she is already paying hundreds of dollars to keep her beloved pets as healthy as she can.

"I take my female in every month to get an allergy shot because she has bad allergies," Moore says. "But other than that, I don't take them in unless there's an actual problem." 

So how can Moore tell if her pet is suffering allergies or an illness?  While pets are considered a part of the family, they can't communicate like we can.  

An annual checkup is necessary for your pets health, but what about the time in between? Here are a few tips you can keep up with their health at home: 

  • Check their teeth because they need them checked just like we do.
  • Check their eyes to make sure they are clear and reflective. 
  • Look inside their ears for discharge or irritation.
  • Check their nose for any abnormalities like dryness or change in color. 
  • You can monitor their coat and skin for dandruff or discoloration. 
  • Check under their tail to make sure their are no lumps or irritation.

"If you notice a lump or there's a change in appetite or they might be drinking or peeing more, don't wait. Come in sooner rather than later," Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Bruggeman says.

Even if you don't notice anything out of the ordinary, once your pet reaches about 7 years old, Dr. Sarah Bruggeman says you should bring them in for checkups twice a year. "Things start changing a little bit faster and then we could catch something sooner that we might be able to help them with," she says. 
     
So if you can't afford pet insurance for your furry friend, there are other ways to make sure they are healthy and happy.
 

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