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You can’t put a price on the joy your pet brings you, butthere’s also no disputing the fact that owning a pet is expensive.Visits to the veterinarian, food and medications all add up and canput a strain on your cash flow. The good news is there are ways forpet owners to save money, particularly when buying common pet meds.

Whether we are purchasing medications for ourselves or our pets,our first instinct is not to worry about cost, only about gettingthe proper treatment. However, it’s possible to save money onfrequently recommended over-the-counter pet meds like Frontline Plus fordogs and Dasuquin, as well asprescription medications, without negatively affecting your pet’shealth.

Here are a few ways you can save when buying medication for yourpets:

* Buying in bulk. If you know you’ll be using a lot of a certainmedication, you will likely be able to save money when buyinglarger quantities.

* Buy the generic version. When receiving a prescription fromyour doctor, ask if there are generic versions of the drug that arejust as effective. As with anything else, you may be paying morefor the name than you are for the drug itself if you go with abrand-name medication.

* Shop online. Today, more and more online pharmacies, such asVetDepot, offer low prices on both prescription andover-the-counter pet meds.

While there are many reputable online pharmacies, there are alsosites that are out to scam customers with counterfeit orout-of-date medications. Therefore, it’s important to take someprecautions, whether you are buying drugs from a bricks-and-mortarpharmacy or online. The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationrecommends taking the following precautions when buying pet medsonline:

* Ask your veterinarian about the site you plan on using to buythe medications to find out if they have had any experience with ordirect knowledge of the site.

* Watch for red flags. Avoid sites that don’t requireprescriptions for prescription drugs and do not have a licensedpharmacist available to answer any questions you may have. Stick tosites that are based in the United States, as only those sites canbe regulated by the U.S. government.

* Report problems and suspicious online pharmacies. In additionto contacting your vet if problems occur after your pet has takenmedication you purchased online, you can also call 1-888-FDA-VETSto report any suspicious activity you encountered when working witha pharmacy.

* Educate yourself about online pharmacies. The Center forVeterinary Medicine offers a number of resources on its websitethat can provide you with information about online pet medproviders.

By being an informed and thrifty shopper, you can help your petstay healthy while saving a few dollars in the process.