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Spend Less on Quality Pet Care

By Delores Baugher
Updated: 2009-01-26 12:50 PM 3461 Views    Category: - General Pet Care
 
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Owning pets is expensive and in the current economy. Here are a few suggestions of how you can reduce the amount you spend on your pets this year without depriving them of the things they need to be healthy and happy.
 
Prevention is the Key
 
As it is in humans, preventive healthcare for your pets is key to avoiding dangerous and costly medical problems. Make sure pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and are spayed or neutered. You can find many of these services at low-cost clinics that specialize in such routine preventative care.
 
When you use these clinics, however, physical exams are often not included. Make at least one annual visit to the vet. Your vet can look for any problems that may be in the early stages. It is more affordable and safer to treat a health problem in the early stages than once it has advanced.
 
Also, keep your pets fit and trim. Measure the amount of food they eat and limit the treats you give them. Make sure they get plenty of exercise as well.  Obesity in animals contributes to other costly problems such as diabetes, joint troubles, and cancer.
 
DIY (Do It Yourself)
 
Learn to provide some of the basic services your pet needs yourself such as trimming your pet’s nails or giving him/her a bath. Regular brushing and a little trimming prolong the time between expensive grooming visits. If you brush your pet’s teeth yourself, you will cut back on the times you need them professionally cleaned.
 
You may find it more economical and healthier, to make your pet’s food and treats yourself. There are many recipes available online at sites like http://www.i-love-dogs.com/dog-food-recipes.html or http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/homemade-dog-food-recipes.html

Shop Wisely
 
If you buy food, buy in bulk.  Get the big bags of food and litter. If you feed canned food, buy large cans and store leftovers in the fridge. Take advantage of frequent buyer programs. Go to your pet food company’s website, look for downloadable coupons, and check the papers for sales at stores near you.
 
If you can’t resist doggie fashions, watch for sales near the end of the season.
 
Don’t cut toys out of the budget completely. Keeping your pet active and stimulated are important to its overall wellbeing. Chew toys for puppies are particularly important and less expensive than replacing a pair of shoes.
 
Prevent Accidents
 
Make your pet’s safety a priority. Keep cats indoors to avoid communicable diseases and injuries and make sure dogs are always on leash or in a fenced area. Remove houseplants that are toxic and secure items such as antifreeze, drain cleaners, and other poisonous substances in a non-pet accessible location.
 
This might be a good time to investigate pet insurance as well. Even if you cannot afford the type that covers office visits, for as little as $10 a month you can find policies that will pay in case of accidents or serious illnesses. VPI pet insurance is the oldest company offering coverage. PetPlan.com is another option and currently the largest pet insurance company.
 

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Delores Baugher, known as Dee to friends and family, is a freelance writer and a pet nutrition specialist for a major manufacturer of all natural cat and dog food. She shares her Indiana home with her family, which includes two cats and two dogs. See more information on Delores Baugher at http://www.yeepet.com/people/Dee/.
 
 
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