You're officially a pet owner - congrats! Now what? Here are some helpful first steps for new pet parents:

Step 1: Find a recommended vet

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) evaluates veterinary practices on the quality of their facilities, staff, equipment and patient care. Search in your local area for their recommended, accredited veterinary practices. We also suggest asking friends, family and trusted neighbors for recommendations -- especially if they are extra thoughtful pet parents! Pricing can vary significantly across vets, so don’t be afraid to call vets and ask for their rates. The things you’ll want to ask about are routine exam fees, vaccines, and bloodwork - those are the things you’ll end up using for sure. They may tell you it depends on the size of your pet / situation, but push them to at least give a range so you’re not going in blind.

Step 2: Microchip your pet

Microchipping your pet is a foolproof way to protect your pet in the case that they may run off! While it’s important to have a collar with a tag, microchips are implanted and will help you reunite with your beloved pet. If your pet didn’t already come chipped (many rescues will do it for you), this is something you can ask your vet to perform.

Step 3: Purchase pet insurance

Pet insurance gets a bad rap. Why pay a bunch of money towards something you’re not going to use for a while, right? The thing to keep in mind is that just like your human health insurance, you’re going to need it eventually. While you can generally sign up later, the younger and healthier your pet is when you sign up, the cheaper the cost. We recommend signing up right away to get the absolute lowest price possible. Plus, once you have it you never need to worry about running into a vet bill you can’t afford.

Step 4: Consider a wellness plan

If you haven’t already, you’ll quickly find that a single routine checkup at the vet can easily run you around $300. Depending on what pet insurance product you signed up for, that routine visit may not actually be covered by your insurance company. If you’re looking for help paying for the routine and preventative care, a wellness plan is a great option. Wagmo’s wellness plans cover the things traditional insurance doesn’t, like exam fees, vaccines, bloodwork, and even grooming and  flea, tick, & heartworm medication.