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Pet Owners Aren't Skimping On Health Costs

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Despite the threat of a double-dip recession, America's pet owners are not skimping on the costs of caring for their animals.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates that people will spend over $50 billion on their pets in 2011. Of that figure, the largest cost stems from vet bills, which the APPA predicts will top $13 billion this year.

According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance, the annual cost of keeping a dog ranges from $310 to $7,100 -- or $4,070 to $101,070 over its lifetime.

As for cats? They can cost between $490 to $940 a year, and as much as $15,260 over the course of their lives. Those estimates don't factor in emergency care expenses, which are astronomically higher. 

One piece of advice for pet owners looking to minimize costs: don't forgo preventive care. According to Dr. Rene A. Carlson, president of the  American Veterinary Medical Association, "Despite the ever-increasing emotional bond we have with our pets, research shows pets are getting less preventive healthcare. Consequently, illnesses that are totally preventable, such as dental infections, intestinal worms and heartworms, ear infections and diabetes, are on the increase. Every October, we encourage pet owners to bring their pets into their veterinarian for regular checkups."
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