Money Saving Tips for Pet Owners #3

This is our final post in our per care money saving tips series. Utilize these tips and you could save hundreds of dollars this year alone!

 1. Compare prices on medications online.
Americans spent more than $11 billion on pet supplies including over the counter medications in 2011. If your pet needs a prescription to treat an acute illness, your vet is the best bet regardless of cost (faster treatment means faster recovery). Your vet may also offer the best price on routine medications as well, due to special deals, manufacturer rebates and no shipping costs. However, don’t hesitate to compare pet medication prices at online retailers. If you find a better deal, ask your vet if he will match it.

If you decide to buy pet medication online, such as flea, tick or heartworm protection, make sure the site is a Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site. This means it is accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Both 1800petmeds.com and petcarerx.com are Vet-VIPPS accredited.

2. Adopt a pet rather than buy.

As any pet lover can tell you, all puppies, kittens, dogs and cats are special –whether purebred or mixed. However, adoption generally costs less than buying a dog or cat from a breeder, and you’ll save a precious animal from an otherwise premature trip over the Rainbow Bridge. According to the ASPCA, five to seven million cats and dogs end up in animal shelters across the nation each year and three to four million are euthanized. Spaying, neutering and initial vaccinations are often included in the adoption fee. According to some veterinarians, mixed breeds are also hardier than purebreds, with fewer genetic health problems, so you’ll save money on vet visits over the lifetime of your adopted pet as well.

3. Hire a sitter.
Americans spent close to $4 billion on boarding and grooming services for their pets in 2011. If you’ve ever taken an extended vacation and boarded your dog or cat, you understand how this is possible; one day/night at the boarder can cost as much as $50 per pet! Consider a pet sitter, or a house sitter that also likes pets, as a money-saving alternative. You can find a responsible high school or college student to walk Fido and feed Fluffy in exchange for a place to hang out and pizza money.

4. D-I-Y grooming.
Save on grooming costs by doing it yourself or, if you’re not up to the full makeover, by keeping your pet’s fur in good condition between trips to see the pro. Bathe your dog with hypoallergenic pet shampoo and brush him at least once or twice a week. A wire-bristled slicker brush and double-sided stainless steel comb are perfect tools for most dogs. Ask your groomer to show you how to trim your pet’s nails, then invest in a good quality nail clipper. Grooming time may even become a treat for your pet –he’ll love having your undivided attention.

For the first two articles in this series, click here and here.

Share your own frugal insight in the comments!

Julie Perkins

About Julie Perkins

A self-professed "crazy cat lady" and slave to three furry masters, Julie loves all things fuzzy. Throughout her life, she has been owned by cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, fish and even a hermit crab. A freelance writer who has perfected the fine art of typing with one hand (because there is a cat on top of the other one), she lives in Colorado with her husband and a menagerie of critters.

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