Every month I get questions on how families can save money treating a diabetic pet. Sometimes I even get suggestions on how to save money, such as from the client who found insulin for her dog, Molly, significantly less expensive at a big box store pharmacy compared to the neighborhood pharmacy. She was smart enough to call around town to find the best deal.

How I wish I could make diabetes-care free. I understand that treating a diabetic takes a chunk out of a family’s budget.

Here are a few tips that if adhered to may help you save some money:

  1. Run your own blood glucose curves at home instead of having your vet run them at the clinic. As I have said many times, glucose curves run at home tend to be more accurate because stressors are minimized when the pet doesn’t have to spend the day at the clinic. The pet tends to eat more normally when at home than when at a clinic setting. Clients can purchase blood glucose meters and test strips for nearly the same cost of a blood glucose curve run at most clinics.
  2. Prudently adhere to your pet’s schedule. A well controlled diabetic is far less likely to have complications. Complications mean money out of your pocket! Life is never perfect. Sometimes things come up that prevent you from getting home in time to give Fluffy his insulin injection. Still, in general, giving insulin at regular times, feeding measured portions, and avoiding treats are good habits that improve glucose regulation.
  3. Keep up with your pet’s oral hygiene! If you are willing and your pet is agreeable, brush your pet’s teeth a few times each week. Oral infection is one of the leading causes of insulin resistance. A little elbow grease can improve your pet’s insulin resistance and improve the breath and oral health too!
  4. Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian. I don’t make my clients come into the clinic each time they run a glucose curve. Often phone conversations or emails suffice. I do, however, like to lay my hands on a diabetic and examine the pet AT LEAST twice yearly. Owners can monitor the pet’s weight and blood glucose at home, but they didn’t go to vet school. Owners aren’t trained to look for subtleties. Your vet can likely pick up on an issue before it becomes catastrophic.

Communicate with your vet. Never feel like you are taking up his or her time. We joined this profession because we like people and want to help animals! I would much rather have a client who “over” communicates than one who doesn’t call until we have a big problem on our hands.

NOTE: Consult your veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your pets special health needs.