PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you have a pet, you know caring for it can be expensive.

According to the ASPCA, it could cost you as much as $14,000 over a pet’s 15-year life span.

As for cats, make that $10,000.

One of the big expenses can be medical care, but Consumer Reports said there are ways to save hundreds, without shortchanging your pet.

When Candy Fisher’s dog, Chrissy, was attacked by a pit bull two years ago, she spared no expense getting her the best medical treatment at her vet.

“I don’t even think about these things. I take her all the time because I want to be sure that she’s taken care of,” Fisher said.

Fisher is not alone. Even during this recession, spending on pets grew to $48 billion last year. However, Consumer Reports finds there are plenty of ways to tame your pet costs and still get good care.

First, do some comparison shopping for veterinary care. A good benchmark is how much a vet charges for a physical exam.

“You probably won’t find huge differences in the costs, but this could be a good indicator of other costs, such as major procedures that can add up to a lot of money,” Greg Daugherty of Consumer Reports said.

Also, if your pet needs any medication, don’t automatically buy the meds from the vet. Vets typically charge at least 100 percent more than wholesale and sometimes even more than that.

“Some medicines have an even bigger markup, like a whopping one-thousand percent markup on the antibiotic amoxicillin,” Daugherty said.

If your pet is taking a medicine that’s also prescribed for humans, check into filling the prescription at your pharmacy. You may be able to save a lot of money.

Also, consider new money-saving options for flea and tick control treatments. Some highly effective ones are now available since the patent expired on a key ingredient in Frontline Plus.

A three-month supply of Walmart’s Pet-Armor Plus costs $28, which is less than half of what Frontline Plus goes for.

As for pet insurance, Consumer Reports said it’s rarely worth the expense.

In its latest comparison of pet-insurance policies, Consumer Reports found that only in the most uncommon cases – when medical bills reached the high four figures – did it pay to have pet insurance.


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