By Jae Marciano
During financially challenging times, we tend to look at what we can do to reduce our spending. Pets are part of our families, but lately I have seen a lot of adoptions and selling of pets because it’s just too difficult to keep animals when you are trying to make rent/mortgages and feed your family.
Here are a few simple tips to help keep costs low and keep your pets healthy, happy, and a part of your family.
Keep up with preventive care so that you don’t have expensive vet bills down the line. That means protection from stickers, bites, fleas, diseases, etc. Groom your pets and check their ears, mouth, and skin frequently. Hair trimming in the summer months can be essential for some breeds.
Contact SNAP for very inexpensive spay/neuter procedures plus free rabies shots and licensing for local residents. You can also get discounts for multiple animals. North County Veterinary Clinic honors San Diego County prices. Check out options at www.northcountyspayneuter.com, www.spaylowcost.com, www.lowcostpetsurgery.com.
There are also low-cost vaccination clinics or you can buy many vaccinations at your local feed stores and do it yourself at home.
Adopt, never buy, an animal. Local humane societies need our help to keep animals in safe homes. Newspapers list adoptions to assist people in finding good homes for their pets.
Don’t overfeed in the summer. Feed once a day and know how much your pet needs to eat. Keep water fresh and full.
Compare pet food prices and buy in bulk when you can. Buy pet food from discount stores instead of pet stores. Apply for pet freebies on the Internet. Check out www.all-free-samples.com/pets, www.getfreedogfood.com, www.freemania.net/samples/pet.htm
Wash bedding instead of buying new. Many accessories can be washed and cleaned instead of thrown out.
Learn to groom your pets yourself instead of taking them into a groomer.
Resist the urge to buy accessories for animals at pet stores. People tend to spend too much money on toys. Pets don’t need clothes, raincoats, expensive toys, umbrellas, car seats, or other promotional items. You can use old shoes, clothes, balls, and rope for toys instead of buying new ones. Horses like rubber balls, dogs love old shoes, and cats love paper rolled up into a ball.
Find flea and tick products online instead of going through a vet or pet store. PetSmart has its own line called First Shield. Other pet stores are also coming up with their own line of flea/tick products, so comparison shop to get the best deal.
Use low-cost vets instead of expensive ones. San Diego County has a list of vets in our area that work with cash only patients and discount many procedures.
Browse Craigslist and use the thrift stores and garage sales to find needed pet accessories such as cages and toys instead of buying new. Make sure that you clean any products that you buy from others before letting your pet use them. Also, many 99 cent and dollar stores have pet products for a dollar.
I hope that these help keep your summer costs low and keep your family together!
If you have any suggestions/comments, please contact Jae at firstname.lastname@example.org.