Why self-medicating your pet isn't cost-effective

In these days of cost-cutting measures, there are some things you still shouldn't do to save money, such as--self-medicating your pet.

There have been several stories in the media lately about how the tough economic has put some pet owners in a bind. SmartMoney in particular recently had a smart story about the dilemma of the high cost of pet care recently, and last December, Meg Massie of WalletPop wrote about the problems of cash-strapped pet owners. Then yesterday at the dinner table, my wife started telling me something that a close friend had written on her blog, so you can read about this tale here.

My wife's friend is a veterinarian in southwest Ohio, and last week, one of her patients brought in an aging, arthritic dog with some severe health problems: staggering and falling, not eating, diarrhea and vomiting blood.

As this vet always does, she inquired if his pet was on any medicine, and he replied that he wasn't. His four-year-old son, however, spoke up, reminding him that he had given their dog "a pill."

"Oh, yeah," the owner said. "I gave him an Aleve yesterday, and again today."

Well, as it turns out, Aleve is fatal to dogs. It's main ingredient is naproxen, which, according to the vet's blog, "is one of the most toxic of the NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) out there."

Now, I don't know if this guy gave his dog Aleve just to save some money. Maybe he's rich and would have done it, anyway. Perhaps he's just the sort of fellow who sees an animal sick and wants to help, not thinking that it would be smart to instead call an animal doctor. Either way, when I heard the story, I thought, "I'm sure some people might understandably give their dog some medicine, hoping to avoid an expensive vet bill." And so I figured I'd share the story on WalletPop.

Because not only did the man cause a lot of unnecessary grief for his family, the decision to give his pet Aleve didn't save him a cent. He still wound up spending money to visit the animal hospital, and while there, he also had to pay for the cost of euthanizing his dog.
Read Full Story