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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tips for saving money on your pets

It is a known fact that money is tight these days. With the economy constantly on a decline, it is understandable that most of us barely have the money to get by, much less take care of our pets. Animals are a huge responsibility. Having a pet is practically like raising another child. The truth is that it can get expensive, but luckily, there are ways around having to spend tons of $$ on your pet:

1. Instead of buying the usual, high dollar, brand name pet food, opt for the store brand. Most store brands contain the same amount of nutrients that the expensive name brands do and usually can cost up to $15.00 less. If you look at that from a bi-weekly stand point, that is $30.00 a month. Over the period of a year, that is $360.00. Of course your pet my have special dietary needs, but there may be less expensive options there too. To change to another brand of pet food ideally you should gradually do this over time.

2. It may seem like an expensive option in the beginning, but getting your pet spayed or neutered can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Luckily, many animal shelters do this for free or offer substantial savings vs the cost of doing this at the vet's office or animal hospital.

3. All dogs should take heartworm medication on a monthly basis in order to protect them from developing heartworms. A lot of times, you can actually save money buy purchasing these medications in bulk instead of individually. Another option is the online or mail order stores.

4. Ideally, cats and dogs need regular teeth cleanings. Instead of purchasing expensive pet toothpaste, try mixing baking soda with a little bit of water together to clean your pet's teeth.

5. If you are wanting to purchase a pet, to help your kids learn responsibility, but do not have enough money for an expensive one, then you may have to purchase something a bit less costly like a small gold fish, duck, rabbit, or mixed breed. pup. Also, watch for pet adoption specials, our local shelter frequently has specials on cats - like "Buy One Get One Free."

6. Make use of your old blankets and sheets when it comes to bedding for your pet. Some beds and fancy pet blankets can cost up to $50.00 or more depending on the size of your pet. They won't even know the difference!

7. Instead of taking your pet to be professionally wormed, purchase a de-worming kit from your local pet store and do it yourself. You will most likely save hundreds of dollars per year by taking this route.

8. Groom your pet at home instead of taking him out for a professional grooming, which can add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. You may even want to ask around to see if any of your friends or family members will groom your pet for free to save you the labor. You can buy hair clippers at pretty much any store and while it may take a bit of practice and time the savings is worth it. The first time I took my dog to get groomed and it cost $55 was the last time he was professionally groomed.

9. When it comes to vaccinations, you can check in with your local animal shelter to see when they will be performing these services free or at discounted prices.

10. As those cold winter months approach, many of us want to dress our pets up in cute little sweaters and other decorative outfits to keep them warm. To save money, a better alternative would be to knit their sweaters yourself, or only shop for pet sweaters at discount stores or online to find the best prices. Although, pets come with their own coat that doesn't cost extra money!

By putting these simple tips into action, you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year on your pet. The best part is that as long as your pet has everything they need, they will be perfectly happy. Animals never know the difference between what is name brand and what is not. Naturally, we want to give our pets the best life has to offer. But in the long run, it is better for the owner to be happy, as well as the pet.


Sarah Schwartz said...

I have 2-cents to put in on the pet food. I feed my cat "Science Diet". I watch for sales (petsmart), use coupons when available, and buy the largest bags. I know that we use LESS then we would with a 'cheap' alternative because it is more filling. Having to eat less volume also results in less waste coming out, which saves on cat litter. That's not to mention her coat is silkier and she seems healthier. Diet matters!

I completely support your suggestion of getting your pets teeth cleaned regularly!!! I wish I had. My kitty seemed sick for a week last month but then seemed to be doing better, but I noticed one of her 'fangs' was discolored and took her in to the vet. Turns out the dark tooth had abscessed and she ended up having to had to have 3 decaying teeth removed plus is on antibiotics $$$. Poor kitty. She actually has an easier time eating (hard) food now and has been so much happier since then. She is purring almost non-stop. I feel so bad for letting it get so bad.

PS. My Dad is a vet.

Unknown said...

i agree with you sarah about the pet food. i noticed i tried natural choice....which isnt the best but better than the store brand they did eat less and seemed healthier. the vet told me its bc they are getting more needed nutrition than fillers like store brand thus eating less. i also mix it with store brand to stretch it if needed.
..... side not.....

have to disagree a little with the home worming. those products are only good for that type of worm. if your pet doesnt have that type of worm or even a parasite the medicine wont help and most of time make pet sick. i think its better to go to vet or low cost clinic for that bc they can find out exactly what kind it is and what meds to give your pet.

Unknown said...

Sarah is absolutely correct, the cheaper pet foods have more additives and are less filling to our pets.

They can also cause a range of problems for the pet: a cheaper food is typically the cause of a pet eating their own feces, because there are mostly additives it tastes just as good coming out as it did going in. Another major reason not to skimp on your pet's food is that it may end up costing you more money in the long run - on vet bills. My husband has seen many animals come in for urinary tract infections, and almost always it is due to the cheaper food being fed to the pet.

My husband always compares it to a human eating hamburgers for every meal, although it might taste good ideally it is not the healthier diet.

I understand times are hard right now and a cheaper food is the only way some people can afford to feed their pet, however if you can spare the extra $$ it will save you even more down the road and it will save your pet the agony of problems caused by a poor diet.

Catey said...

You can also do your own vaccinations (except rabies of course). This saved us a ton when our own dogs were puppies, and when one of our dogs had a litter of her own last year. Check with your vet to find the right vax that you need, and then pick it up at IFA or a similar store. It is usually less than $10 for the shot, which is considerably less than a vet visit and vax through their office!


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