If the “pandemic puppy” or “quarantine kitten” cuteness is wearing off, now is the time to establish a support system that includes your veterinary team.
One out of every three Americans have either adopted or fostered a new pet during the COVID-19 pandemic, or have considered it, according to a TD Ameritrade survey. The number is even higher for millennials: 50 percent got a new pet or thought about it.
But, as the newness of the pandemic pets wears off, some things that seemed cute at first might become frustrating. Aggressive behavior, health problems, and the pet growing larger than expected accounted for 47 percent of rehomed dogs and 42 percent of rehomed cats, according to ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey.
Pet owners don’t have to face these problems alone. The right veterinary team can help by providing quality healthcare, as well as giving educated advice on nutrition, vaccinations, and behavior-modification strategies.
Veterinarians can help
According to the National Council on Pet Population and Policy, 33 percent of dogs and 46.9 percent of cats relinquished to shelters had never been to a veterinarian. Reasons for not visiting the vet are likely to include cost and stress for you and your pet.
The cost of care
Contrarily, bringing your pet to the veterinarian more often can save you more money. Wellness exams help spot disease symptoms earlier, keep up with vaccinations, and monitor changes through different life stages.
Compare prices for the right pet insurance to cover wellness exams and cut the out-of-pocket cost for vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and emergency procedures. Without insurance, there may be payment plans or credit options to cover large expenses.
Visit your vet team
When it’s possible to do so safely, you can stop by pet hospitals to familiarize your pet with their veterinary team. Bring your pet in occasionally just to say “hi” and get a belly rub or a treat.
To ease your cat’s fear, you might leave their carrier out rather than tucked away in a closet or garage. Also, put treats inside to make it a less scary place.
Choose an accredited hospital
The quality of veterinary practices varies as much as in any other professional service. You might need to check out several before finding the right fit. This is going to be your support team throughout your pet’s life, so don’t hesitate to shop around.
Look for a hospital that is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). AAHA evaluates veterinary practices on more than 900 standards in areas such as cleanliness, safety, best practices in patient care, and disease prevention. If a hospital is accredited by AAHA, you can be confident that they have done the work to prove that they are upholding the highest veterinary standards. For help finding an accredited veterinarian in your area, check out our AAHA-accredited hospital locator tool.