Saving money on pet care

FRESNO, Calif.

There are ways to save hundreds, without shortchanging your furry friends. 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," said Fisher.

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

First, comparison shop 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," said Greg Daugherty with Consumer Reports.

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 1,000-percent markup on the antibiotic amoxicillin," said Daugherty.

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. The savings -- a three-month supply of Wal Mart's Pet Armor Plus costs $28, less than half of what Frontline plus goes for.

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