Research has proven that sharing our homes with animal companions is good for both our physical and emotional health. But, depending on our choice of companion, pet care can be expensive. The good news is that there are many ways to stretch your pet care budget. Here are some suggestions from a penny-pinching pet owner:
Spay or Neuter—NOW!
Not only does spaying or neutering your pet make good common sense, it makes good financial sense too! A spayed or neutered pet is less likely to roam and fight, and far easier to train. Because they are happier to be homebodies, they are less likely to need costly emergency veterinary care resulting from street fights, car accidents, etc.
Altered pets are also less likely to suffer cancer of the reproductive organs later in life. This can save you money in the long run.
Altered dogs and cats may also qualify for a reduced annual licence fee in your area. This will save you the entire cost of the spay/neuter surgery over the pet's lifetime—and then some!
Invest in Proper I.D.
Now that you have saved money on your dog licence fee, by spaying or neutering your canine companion, be aware that you can save time and money and reduce stress by ensuring your dog wears his licence tag. When your local Animal Services Officer picks up a dog, the first thing he will do is check for identification. If your dog is wearing his licence, the Officer can attempt to bring him right home to you. If a dog is NOT wearing a licence, he must be transported to the Animal Shelter or Impoundment Centre, and you may have to pay more to release him.
The cost of a microchip implant and/or tattoo is also invaluable, especially for cats, which are not required to be licenced in many municipalities and less likely to wear a collar and tags. In the event that your pet strays, there is far more likelihood that he will be promptly returned if he properly identified.
The more quickly your lost pet is safely off the streets and back home, the less likely you are to have to pay emergency vet bills or impoundment and boarding fees. Think of pet identification as a low-cost investment in "lost pet insurance."
Brush Up on Grooming
Have your veterinarian show you how to clip your pet's nails and check his or her ears for infections. Clipping nails at home can save you upwards of $50 a year. Catching an ear infection early usually requires minimal treatment at a minimal cost. Be aware that dogs with folded ears are more susceptible to suffer reoccurring ear infections. Left untreated, ear infections can be painful to your pet and your pocketbook.
You should also take time every few days to run your hands all over your pet's body to check for tender spots, lumps and bumps, cuts, or abrasions. Again, early detection of medical problems often results in less stress on both your pet and your budget.
And don't forget your pet's teeth. Regular brushing can lessen the need for costly dental care.
If you have a pet that requires professional grooming every month or two, you can reduce this cost by diligently brushing your pet between appointments. Because it takes more time and effort to bathe, clip, and style matted fur, pet groomers must charge more for ill-kempt coats. As a bonus, regularly grooming your pet can also lower your blood pressure!
Be sure to do price comparisons when buying pet food and pet supplies. There can often be a significant difference in prices from one store to another. (Be certain, however, that you are comparing the exact same brand and package size.) You should also ask each store what kinds of loyalty programs are offered. Some stores offer frequent shopper discounts on everything but pet food. Some manufacturers have a program where if you buy ten bags of food, the next one is free. Simply saving UPC codes and using "cents-off" coupons can save you the cost of your pet's meals for a month or more! Don't be afraid to ask.
Also, when possible, buy in bulk. Biscuits, treats, and food are less costly if you buy a larger package and store leftovers in an airtight container. Canned pet food can be stored for months, so case-lot sales are always a good bargain.
Yes, owning a pet can be expensive, but the financial sacrifice is worth it! For the price of a meal, a warm, safe place to sleep, and little attention, our pets offer unconditional love. This alone makes the privilege of owning a pet priceless!
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin