More than 70 million of us own pets and we’d do anything to make sure they’re safe and well cared for. However, there’s a lot of money to be made off animals and not everyone is on the up and up. So here’s what the bad-apples in the pet-care industry don’t want you to know, courtesy of Smart Money magazine:

  • Some of the unhealthiest dogs come from bad breeders. Breeding is totally unregulated and a lot of breeders are just in it for the money. They don’t care about the health of the animal. To make sure your new pet is healthy, do your homework. Find a reputable breeder who’s been screened by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Find one at OFFA.org. When you find one, go to their home and see how the dogs are kept. Or go to the pound and get a mixed breed dog. They’re typically healthier because they aren’t prone to genetic diseases.
  • That person training your dog may not have any training! Anybody can call themselves a trainer and charge you hundreds of dollars an hour. To avoid the guys who just read a book, look for a trainer who’s a graduate of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers – that’s APDT.com. Or one who’s a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get references and find out how many years they’ve been training. Also ask what your dog will learn. After six weeks of training they should be able to walk on a loose leash, sit and stay for three minutes in any environment, come from thirty feet away and leave the room when told.
  • Pet Insurance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If your pet is young and healthy you’ll pay more in premiums than you’ll get back in health care. If your pet is old and sick, they won’t cover any expenses for pre-existing conditions, if they’ll insure you at all. Your better bet is to start a savings account as soon as you get the pet and put 20 to 50 dollars in it every month. That way, if something happens you’re covered.