Saving Money on Pets: 5 Ways to Reduce Cost

According to the American Pet Products Association’s annual survey for 2011-12 , 39% of Americans own at least one dog, and 33% own at least one cat. This survey also states that pet owners spend a little over $200 annually for routine veterinarian visits. I would like to show you 5 ways that you can save money on your pet bills . 1. Initial Purchase Our family owned a pure-bred Collie that we got free from a breeder that was having trouble selling the last two from a litter. While in a pet store my daughter saw a notice on the bulletin board, “Free Collie Puppies” and we were on our way to the farm. That dog was one of the most loved pets we ever owned. There is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for your new addition. Dogs and cats can be had for free all over the world. If you want to have a little assurance of its health, adopt one from the local animal shelter. There, all animals are given a physical check-up from a veterinarian and receive all their immunizations. Another thing to consider is size. A friend of mine, and former Labrador breeder, recently shared that when their last chocolate lab passes on (he is in poor health), they will never own another large-breed dog. She said the bills were just too much to keep up with. He requires several medications and because of his size, the monthly cost is just too much for them. Going from a Collie to a Miniature Pinscher, I would have to agree. We’ve never had to face monthly medication bills for our dogs, but the feed cost alone is enough to make me think long and hard before buying another 100-pound dog. Lastly, if you want to save money on your pet, do not purchase one that requires regular grooming. Grooming bills for long-haired dogs and cats, or ones requiring specialized haircuts, are atrocious. Groomers in our area wanted $50 and up to take care of our Collie. We had a sheep owner give him a clip each spring for $10. The rest of the year, the kids brushed him out whenever he needed it. 2. Immunizations Immunizations are a controversial topic when it comes to children. However, I don’t think that pet owners give it a second thought. The first thing I propose is that if you have convictions against immunizing your children, why immunize your dog or cat? That said, you can save money in this area. Breeders generally administer their own “puppy shots.” Except for rabies, all immunizations can be purchased from a pet or farm service store. If you’ve never given an animal a shot, have the breeder you purchase the pet from, or a friend or vet tech, show you how. World Rabies Day is September 28. To save money on this vaccine, watch the paper for announcements from veterinarian offices, pet stores, or local animal clinics participating in giving free or reduced shots on this day. 3. Spay/Neutering We currently own a Miniature Pinscher. Our veterinarian wanted well over $100 for neutering. I found a spay and neuter clinic that did it for $55. They also do check-ups and gave shots at reduced rates. But because my veterinarian is reasonably priced, doesn’t charge an extra fee for “office visit,” and is close to my home, I will stick with her for his annual check-ups. It pays to ask around, and make phone calls. 4. Food I buy 4Health dog food for my MinPin at Tractor Supply. A 4 pound bag costs around $7 and lasts several months. Of course, this 7½ pound dynamo only eats a cup or two of food each day. I also stretch this ration with my own homemade pet food. A quick Internet search will turn up several sites with instructions for making your own healthy pet food. Generally, the ratio is 60% protein, 20% grain, 20% vegetables for a dog. Because we raise our own meat chickens, and our boys hunt deer, we have access to a lot of meat scraps for free. I grind these scraps into burger and can them for the dog. If you do not have access to free meat like I do, try a butcher (or another homesteader/farmer) for scraps at a reduced rate. 5. Accessories I cannot believe how much a dog or cat toy costs. It’s positively criminal to pay $5-10 for a little stuffed animal for your dog to chew to shreds in a matter of days. Fortunately, I have a little boy that loves to make his dog toys. He takes old clothing or scraps of fabric, cuts long strips and braids a length. The same thing can be purchased for good money in the pet aisle at the local superstore. We’ve also picked up stuffed animals, Frisbees, or balls at the thrift store for a quarter. Hanging an empty thread spool from a length of cord from the door knob has kept my mom’s cat busy for hours. Dog beds and cat scratching posts are other things that can be made from re-purposed materials. So, if you’ve been putting off getting the boy a puppy because of the expense, I hope that you’ve got some ideas here to show you can do it for less—without sacrificing care. If you have any other ways of saving money on pets, we’d love to hear about it in the comments! Puppy image from Shutterstock Related Articles: How much do you spend on your pets? 10 easiest ways to save money How much does it cost to raise a child & 10 ways to cut the cost! A few great ways to save money

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Saving Money on Pets: 5 Ways to Reduce Cost

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