Don't let Fido chew up your budget
Money Saving for Dog Owners
by Pam Hutzler
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Can You Love Your Dog for Less?
According to the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook by the American Veterinary Medical Association, there were 69,926,000 companion dogs in the US in 2012. It's no surprise that we love our dogs. Walk the aisles of your local pet supply store and you'll find an abundance of fun things for Fido flying off the shelves. But, some of these supplies come with a hefty price tag. In fact, Americans spent over $61 billion on their pets in 2011, with the average household spending just over $500 on their pets during the year.
You love your dog, but you want to keep the family budget intact. So, what's a dog owner to do? Read on to discover what you can do to reduce the financial requirement of pet ownership without being a neglectful owner!
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Saving on Dog Food
Dog food can be a major expense. This is especially true if you own a large breed. The temptation for many is to buy the cheapest dog food available. However, food packed with unnecessary fillers may not be the healthiest diet for your beloved pet. A bad diet can lead to bad health, which may translate into more money spent on pet healthcare in the long term.
One solution may be to make homemade dog food for your friend. There's no need to be a gourmet to come up with a healthy diet that will keep your pup and your budget happy. You'll find a number of great recipes online.
If making homemade dog food is not for you, then possibly a cheaper, but healthy store bought option may be available. The key is in knowing the ingredients and their order in the ingredients list with the first several being of the most concern.
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Toys for Your Dog
There's really no need to spend large amounts of money on dog toys. In fact, you can DIY your own handmade toys instead of purchasing them. Start collecting your old socks, t-shirts and denims to make one-of-a-kind toys that your pup will love. Just be sure that the toys don't present a choking hazard and always supervise your dogs as they play with these handmade toys.
Sometimes toys are designed for a specific function. In the case of a chewing puppy, toys need to be durable and provide hours of safe chewing enjoyment, saving shoes and table legs from an untimely death. If this is the situation you find yourself in, visit "Homemade Dog Chews" to find ways to let your furry friend chew, chew, chew.
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Grooming Your Dog
Regular grooming is important. It keeps your dog clean, healthy, and manageable. The bad news is you'll be shelling out quite a bit to have it professionally done, but the good news is that it can easily be done by you, keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.
If you have a puppy, it's important to begin early. You'll want them to develop a level of comfort when it comes to bathing them, cleaning their teeth and ears, and trimming their nails. If your dog is older and has not been introduced to regular, at-home grooming sessions, you may need to practice patience, as this can be frightening to some dogs. With perseverance and patience, this just may become an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.
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Reducing Vet Bills
Routine veterinary care is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. With just wellness checks once or twice a year, you're looking at spending at least $150 to $300 per year. And, that's for a healthy dog. Introduce an illness and your outlay may increase exponentially, but there are ways that a dog owner can decrease these costs.
First, it's important to explore care options. Just like with any other product or service you buy, comparison shopping is key in finding the best price available in your area. Consider vets in surrounding rural areas as their prices tend to be less than their "citified" counterparts. Do you live in an area with a vet teaching hospital connected to a university? Give them a call. You just may find that you'll pay a fraction of the cost for service that well exceeds your expectations. And, remember that a student will provide the service (after all, it's a teaching hospital), but it will be done under the supervision of the teaching vets.
Flea and tick medicine can be costly, but it's far less than eliminating an infestation or caring for a dog that is sick with Lyme disease. Thankfully, you do have options. Visit "Inexpensive Flea Treatments" for ways to keep fleas, ticks, and mosquitos at bay.
Finally, if you have more than one dog, ask the clinic for a multiple pet discount before bringing in your brood. Most clinics will give a discount and the savings could be substantial.
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For the Love of Fido
Can dog ownership and a frugal lifestyle co-exist? Of course, they can. It'll just take a little time, patience and forethought, but isn't Fido worth it? Most importantly, your dog depends on you for everything, and you should never sacrifice his health or happiness for a few bucks. Now you don't have to with these money-saving tips.
Take the Next Step:
- Are fleas making both your pet and budget uncomfortable? Try some of these inexpensive flea treatments.
- These pet-safe dog repellents will keep other dogs away from your yard, which can also help control fleas.
- Don't let your pets take such a bite out of your budget! The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Frugal Pet Care can show you smart ways to love your pet while spending less.
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
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