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Frugal Pet Tips

on February 12, 2009
Posted in Fun

Everyone is trying to deal with the current downturn in the economy as best as possible. Sadly, pets are affected more by a recession than anyone else. In fact, one of the main reasons why people surrender their pets to animal shelters is because they believe that they can no longer afford to take care of them. However, here are a few simple money-saving strategies that you can use to help you provide for your pets during these tough financial times:

Pet Food

The majority of ‘pet money’ is spent on food than on any other pet necessity!

  • Whenever possible, always buy your pet’s food in bulk. More often than not, the larger the quantity that you buy during a single shopping spree, the cheaper it usually is per pound.
  • Check with your family, friends and neighbors who have a similar breed of dog or cat as you, and discuss splitting the cost of bulk pet food with them.
  • All the major pet store chains run sales on their pet food, so keep an eye out for any pet food coupons in your mailbox!
  • If you can, try to buy your dog or cat’s food at a supermarket rather than at an expensive pet store chain. Especially if you are buying the same products. Supermarket stores will usually sell the same brand at a reduced cost than a pet store chain would.
  • Switch to a high quality food that needs to be fed to your cat or dog in smaller amounts. Usually, food that is of a poor quality will require that your pet get’s fed more – which can become quite costly in the long run. Another benefit of feeding a high quality food is that it will help to keep your pet at their optimum health and reduce vet visits.

Veterinary Care

Unfortunately, nearly all veterinary expenses that occur are often sudden and unexpected – and usually seem to always cost an arm and a leg! However, by being prepared the shock of such medical expenses can be reduced or even eliminated.

  • Before your pet has a chance to get sick, you should call around at the various veterinarian offices and pet clinics in your area and find out what their prices are for certain common procedures that you know that your pet may have to be seen for by a vet. You will be shocked to find out that not every vet and clinic charges the same price for the same procedures.
  • Find out if your local animal shelter, humane society or SPCA offers a low-cost clinic. Most of these types of animal organizations offer discounted veterinary procedures such as vaccinations (including rabies shots), micro-chipping, and spaying or neutering, as a service to the local community.
  • If your dog or cat is ever prescribed medication from a Vet, do not purchase the medication for your vet’s office. Instead, purchase the medication through a wholesale pet medication company online.
  • Consider taking out health insurance for your pets. You will be able to receive discounts if you insure more than one pet.
  • Another great idea is to set up a trust fund for your pets where you can regularly deposit a little bit of money to cover any medical costs should they ever arise. The trust fund can also be used to help take care of your pets should something happen to you.
  • If your dog or cat does become sick, and you know exactly what the cause is, try treating it yourself by using natural alternatives rather than taking your pet in to see a Vet. For example, do not take your pet to the animal clinic if you already know that he or she has worms. Instead, using a product like GI CleanUp Gold will help to get rid of the worms whilst saving you a lot of money at the same time. Remember that an ounce of prevention costs a less than a ton of cure.

Keep Your Pet Well Contained

Most pet owners do not think about the consequences involved in not making sure that their pets are properly contained. However, if your pet escapes from your home or backyard, there are a lot of costs involved should you incur a fine for your animal running around without a leash. Other costs could include medical expenses for injury or illness acquired while your pet was on the loose, as well as any damage to other people’s property.

  • If your backyard is fully fenced, make sure that are no holes in the fence for your dog to escape out of.
  • Make sure that all doors and gates are kept locked and closed when you are not using them. You could also think about installing self-closing mechanisms to all gates.


Instead of taking your pet to the grooming salon, learn to groom your pet at home yourself. You can buy professional grade clippers and give your pet a haircut yourself.

Pet Toys

Make your own pet toys. This is a fun project that every family member can get involved with! Just be sure to use your imagination. You can use regular household items, such as rope and old tennis balls to make a great dog toy. Roll up some rice into an old pill bottle for your cat to bat around!

Image credit: Yomanimus

Read also: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Pets

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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