- Look into low cost or free programs for spaying/neutering your pet. http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html or http://www.petsandanimals.org/spayneuter_services.html
Altering your pet can prevent certain health problems, so spaying and neutering may be cheaper in the long run. Also, it make keep you from being driven crazy by your pet. I discovered it's no fun when a cat goes into heat or when a dog befriends the visitation pastor's leg.
- Don't neglect preventative care. It can keep your pet healthy and save money in the long run.
- Call your vet when you have questions or concerns. They can let you know whether it's necessary to bring a sick pet in. They can also give you advice to take good care of your pet, preventing unnecessary vet visits.
- Ask for a written estimate for veterinary procedures up front.
- Consider various options for paying your vet bills. Ask the vet office if there's any kind of payment plan or look into using a line of credit to pay your vet bills. It may be a lot more fiscally reasonable than paying with a credit card.
- Think about taking your pet to a vet school for vaccinations. Though veterinary students aren't as experienced, they do have a supervisor. But, don't do anything you aren't comfortable with just to save money. You may also wish to go to a more experienced vet for more complex vet visits.
- Research pet insurance at http://www.petinsurancereview.com. Depending on coverage and pre-existing conditions, this may or may not be worth it for you.
- Join the Walgreen's prescription savings club for families. At the family rate, they will cover prescriptions for your pet as well as you and your family. Visit https://webapp.walgreens.com/MYWCARDWeb/servlet/walgreens.wcard.proxy.WCardInternetProxy/RxSavingsRH? and click on drug pricing tool to see how much the prescription savings club will save you. You can also ask a Walgreen's pharmacy employee about the savings with a prescriptions savings club membership.
- Informative how to article on buying pet meds on-line.
- Buy pet meds on-line
Try http://1800petmeds.com or http://www.discountpetmedicines.com
- Try household objects for toys.
FOR CATS: milk rings, a crumpled up paper ball, untied shoes, a box, a paper bag, string (only with you holding it supervising, cat's could choke).
FOR DOGS: any kind of ball that's big enough to not be a health hazard, empty plastic water bottles, old socks or towels (make sure it's big enough to not be a choking hazard), homework (just kidding).
- Toys don't have to be complicated or expensive to entertain your pet. The best entertainment for your pet is you. It doesn't make much difference to an animal if you have a cheap little ball or mouse or some expensive gadget. Some sellers on Etsy make affordable and fun pet toys. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6941457
- Check out rummage sales and thrift shops for pet toys.
- Keep pets away from the following harmful foods and plants
CATS: Stay away from onions, garlic and related root vegetables, chocolate and caffeine, grapes, raisins, bones from meat, mushrooms, raw eggs,poinsettias and easter lilies. Dairy products and dog food can also be hard on cats over time. There are also many other houseplants and plants that are toxic to cats.
DOGS: Stay away from chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, mushrooms, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, baby food, raw fish, raw eggs, fat trimmings, poinsettias and easter lilies. Cat food and dairy products can also be hard on dogs over the long run.
- Here's a list of toxic plants at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants. It is long and not all-inclusive, so it's best to not keep houseplants around your animals.
- Also, try to pet proof your home as much as possible. From, personal experience, cats and glass vases with silk flowers in them don't mix well. Luckily, my cat was okay. Spray bitter apple spray on electrical cords. It can be a good idea to keep very young pets confined to a room without many electrical cords and other things they can get into when your not home.
- Keeping your cat inside can do a lot to help reduce costs. You could also try just bringing her outside on a cat harness. You may need less vaccinations and it can prevent a tragic vet visit. Not to mention a lot of stress!
- Keeping your dog fenced in can save money by keeping him safe from accidents. Ask your vet if this will reduce the amount of non-core immunizations your dog needs.
- Give your pet plenty of water to drink. Dehydration can cause an unnecessary vet visit.
- Feed your pet a good well balanced pet food.
- Research different brands of pet food. The most expensive brand is not always the best. You may wish to consult with your veterinarian. If you ever change pet food, do so gradually, a ding a little less of the old and more of the new every day.
- Avoid buying pet food from your vet. See if you can find the brand they recommend somewhere else at a better price. Also, consider buying the pet food in bulk at discount and warehouse pet stores.
- Visit your pet food company's web site. Sign up for newsletters and special promotions. Many companies will even e-mail you coupons and special offers.
- For an occasional treat: Bring your pet with you in the car to a drive up and ask if they have any food they can give your cute pet. My parents used to bring Benji with to Frostee Freeze and they got a free doggie cone for him.
- Groom your cat yourself. A good tutorial for cat grooming: http://www.geocities.com/catcare2000/grooming.htm
- Groom your dog yourself. A good tutorial for dog grooming: http://www.allsands.com/pets/dogs/howtogroomy_xcl_gn.htm
- Brush your cat regularly to prevent hairballs. If your cat doesn't like to be brushed, try putting a toy by her that she can bite. This may take some persistence and gentleness to get your cat used to being brushed.
- Brush your pet's teeth. You'll need special toothpaste for dogs/cats. Fluoride in human toothpastes can be poisonous. Here's a web site with instruction on trying to brush your animal's teeth for the brave at heart:
How to brush your cat's teeth: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=56
How to brush your dog's teeth: http://www.petplace.com/dogs/how-to-brush-your-dog-s-teeth/page1.aspx
- Play with your cat or dog to give them plenty of exercise. Playing with my cat can be good exercise for me too and a good source of entertainment.