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Dogs on a Dime: Caring for Dogs on a Budget

posted Feb 14, 2010, 8:06 PM by Angela G
[cross-posted from Dr. Jon's  Dog Crazy Newsletter]

Since the current financial situation isn't expected to resolve itself in the near future, we thought we would give dog owners some easy and effective ways to save money.
Here are some tips...

1.  Get Healthy . Pet health should be taken seriously. Your dog needs exercise to stay fit, just like you do. There isn't a 'magic pill' that can replace preventive medicine, but you can provide healthy exercise for your pets just by playing with them. Go outside and take your favorite 4-legged friend for a walk.  This will help both you and your dog, and it doesn't cost a thing. 

2.  Brush . Get a doggy toothbrush and brush your dog's teeth.  This is a simple and effective way to keep your dog's overall health on the up and up.  It also helps prevent tartar build up and gum disease, such as gingivitis.

3.   Wash, Wash, Wash. Bathing your dog at home will save you money. Bathe your dog with pet shampoo and make sure you rinse thoroughly.  You want to make sure you use a pet approved shampoo because it will lessen the chance of developing an allergic reaction.  It is also very important to rinse your dog thoroughly because if you don't, the suds left behind can cause itchy irritating dry skin.

4.  Get a Short Doo . If you take your dog to the groomer ask them to cut your dog's hair shorter.  This will decrease the number of times you need to get your dog groomed, and it will help keep your pet cooler during the summer months.  You can also trim your dog's nails at home instead of going to the vet or groomer.  We recommend the using a nail grinder.  It's a fast and easy way to trim your dog's nail safely and effectively.

5.  Feed Right .  Next, check how much food you feed against what is recommended by the manufacture and your veterinarian.  You could be feeding your dog too much, which could create problems - you could be creating an overweight dog and your food will not last as long as it could by just feeding the recommended amount.  Also remember to comparison shop.  Just because you have bought your dog's food at the same store for years doesn't mean they have the best price.  Check the food manufactures and pet stores websites often because they will often email you special promotions and coupons if you sign up for their free newsletter.  In addition to their discounts, you can usually find coupons in your local paper for many pet food brands.

6.  Yearly Exam . This is an important one. Take your dog in for a yearly physical exam.  The earlier you can catch any sign of disease the better.  The vet will also be able to inform you about your dog's overall health and give the appropriate vaccinations.  Before choosing a vet, call around your area and ask different offices how much they charge.  You may be surprised at how much different offices charge for the same services.  Some offices even offer special discounts to new clients, and clients that are in a difficult financial situation. You can also ask your friends for veterinarians that they recommend.  Remember to be on the lookout for discount vaccination days with your local county office and pet stores.  At these discount days you can get your yearly vaccinations and rabies shots for a fraction of the normal cost.

7.  Multi-use Toys. Finally, look for good quality multi-use pet toys.  Look for toys that are long lasting so you don't need to replace them often.

Hopefully these ideas will spark some thinking about how you can improve your dog's health and stay on a realistic budget.  I hope this was helpful.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon