Vet with dog and cat. Puppy and kitten at doctor.

Annual vet visits are an important factor in ensuring your pet lives a happy, healthy life. However, what pet parents loathe are costly vet bills that can leave you with less money for treats and toys!

We’re sharing our top tips and tricks to minimizing vet costs and vet bills while keeping your pet physically and mentally healthy.

1. Regular Exercise for Your Pet

A study from the American Veterinary Medical Association shows that an overweight or obese dog’s lifespan is reduced by an average of 2.5 years. In addition, obesity increases your pet’s chance of injury. Because of the extra weight, they are more likely to tear a ligament or slip a hip leading to expensive surgeries, long recovery periods, and unnecessary discomfort for your furry friend.

We know we sound like a broken record, but it’s im-paw-tant to keep your pet active with regular exercise and fun activities that you can do together. Your pets love spending time with you, so the more you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine the better.

Want to do something besides your daily neighborhood walks? Take your furry friends to the dog park, find a scenic trail to explore, discover a dog-friendly lake for swimming, or invite their friends over for a play date. If your pet has some mobility restrictions, don’t you fear! Exercise their minds with interactive pet toys and puzzles, or play with them in the comfort of your own home (let’s be honest, their own home).

Even during these colder months, you can stay active with a variety of winter activities for your pets such as sledding, hiking, snowshoeing and walks. Before heading out into the blustery snow globe, make sure you’re bundled up to embrace the cold and keep your pet warm too with outdoor pet gear for the winter.

2. Healthy Raw Pet Food

The best diet for pet weight loss — and for overall health and wellness — is a nutritionally balanced raw meat diet. Since a raw meat diet is low in carbs and high in protein, your pet feels full longer. Raw food is naturally easy for your pet’s body to digest, easing digestive distress and soothing sensitive stomachs. Raw dog and cat food also helps provide relief for your pet’s dry skin and coat while improving their oral health.

In addition, raw pet food is full of natural nutrition so every bite is beneficial to your pet! Pet foods like kibble have to supplement their food with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Vital Essentials freeze-dried food and treats are made with fresh meat, organ and bone that contain vitamins and minerals your pet needs to thrive.

With all these possible health benefits, it provides a healthier lifestyle for your pet which in turn helps reduce the amount of money spent at the vet including vet visit costs, vet bills, and more.

3. Never Give Pets Table Scraps

And we mean it! As tempting as it is to give our cutest family member a taste of what we get to enjoy every day, it’s not good for their health. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, feeding our pets fatty table scraps can trigger a dangerous condition called pancreatitis. Just because us humans can eat what we want at the dinner table, doesn’t mean our furry friends can have the same foods.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that many people foods are bad for pets, including avocado, chocolate, grapes, raisins, nuts, onions, garlic, and dairy-based products. An important reminder: this is not an all-inclusive list so please avoid giving your pet table scraps altogether and reduce the chances of an emergency vet visit and costly vet bills.

By rewarding your pet with regular exercise, a healthy raw pet food diet, and no dangerous people food, your dog or cat will live a healthier, longer life with reduced vet bills. It’s a win-win for pet parents and their fur-kids!