How much is your pet worth?

"End of life issues are very personal, and everyone is different in what they feel is best for their pet, themselves, and their family," says Dr. Tamra Rahn of Bramer Animal Hospital in Evanston. "After providing the information to make an informed decision, I try ultimately to support the owner's choice."

Here are five tips from our experts on keeping tabs on your pet's health.

Feed your pets high-quality food. Even scraps from the table can be better than some of the brands on the shelves. Check for dyes and chemicals whenever possible.

Take your pets to see a veterinarian. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pets have an examination twice a year.

Have your pet spayed or neutered. Consult with veterinarians and shelters about low-cost options in your area.

Provide your pets with adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

Purchase pet health insurance. But be sure to do the research to get the best rates.

And regardless of your spending limit, know that your pet's best medicine is taking the preventative route.

"Our pet is part of our family," wrote Corrin Foster. "By bringing him into our family we took on the responsibility of providing for him. I've been unemployed for nine months, but there is not limit. Different things are a priority to different people."

jweigel@tribune.com

Catch Jenniffer Weigel's TribU segments Tuesdays on WGN TV Morning News, and weekdays throughout the day on CLTV.

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