The joys of owning a furry friend are just about endless, from wagging tails every time you come home to cuddly companions during your favorite show. Of course, this comes at a price, as pets require vet care, food, toys, and supplies. While any pet owner would agree that itís completely worth the cost, it never hurts to pinch a few pennies.
For starters, consider the idea of adopting a pet versus buying one from a pet store or breeder. Not only will you be saving an animalís life, but youíll be saving big bucks. Pedigree cats and dogs can often cost more than $1,000, whereas shelters typically charge an adoption fee of around $50. While that may seem like a no-brainer, you may be interested to know that rescue pets can also save you hundreds in vet bills. Specifically, rescue or shelter dogs are most often mixed breeds, which are proven to be more healthy dogs in general. This is because all breed-prone diseases and disorders have been bred out, leaving the dog at a lesser risk to develop serious illnesses.
Your new pet will likely need to be spayed or neutered, so skip the hefty vet bills and take advantage of subsidized services. Many organizations offer discount services, sometimes charging as low as $45 or nothing at all. Check out the ASPCA site for programs available in your area.
Speaking of vet bills, itís crucial that you do some homework and shop around before settling on a vet. While itís important you find one that is reputable, you donít need to go to the priciest clinic in town. Decide if pet insurance is right for you. Plan details vary, but good plans can cover a percentage of the costs for well visits, as well as the treatment of common illness and disorders. You may even consider taking your pet to a veterinary school clinic for discounted prices on basic shots.
The bottom line is that a healthy pet is the most inexpensive pet, so be sure to practice preventative care. Make sure your pet gets regular exercise, drinks plenty of water, and is fed quality food with important nutrients. Itís easy enough to find coupons on top-brand pet foods, and itís well worth the effort to get a brand that supports your animalís health.
A few final suggestions include doing your own basic grooming such as clipping nails, and making your own toys out of old socks. Remember, the thing your pet wants most from you is love, and that always comes free!