Recession Survival Tips for Dog Owners

Everyone is looking for ways to cut back in these tough economic times. While you look for ways to save money, don’t forget to consider what you are spending on your dog. While you want to make sure your dog is healthy and happy, you may be able to cut back your spending on him with compromising your dog’s well-being. Here’s how:

Learn What You Can Do on Your Own:

Many pet owners turn to vets or groomers for even simple procedures that can be done at home, but there is no need to pay a professional for things like nail trimming, bathing, and ear cleaning. Nail clippers for dogs cost about $10 and will last for years, whereas professional groomers will charge $5-10 for each trim. If you are nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, ask your vet to show you how to do it at your next visit. Tips for grooming your dog can also be found online or in a book at your local library.

You can also clean your dog’s ears yourself with a bottle of ear cleaner available at any pet store and a cheap pair of tweezers. Simply remove any hairs growing inside your dog’s ear, and follow the instructions on the back of the bottle of ear cleaning solution.

To cut costs even further, why not consider trimming your dog’s hair yourself? A pair of dog clippers can be bought for little more than the cost of one visit to the groomer, and will likely last your dog’s entire lifetime. Worried you’ll hurt your dog? Most clippers are designed with guards to keep you from cutting your dog. If your concerns are mainly cosmetic, you should know that some clippers now come with booklets or even DVDs that offer detailed instructions on how to get the look you want. And remember that no matter what you do, your dog’s hair will grow out in time, so you may as well give it a try!

Ask Your Vet About Generic Drugs:

Pet owners in regions of the US where heartworm disease is endemic must give their dog heartworm prevention pills each month. Many dogs take other medicines as well. What you may not know is that, just like human medicines, both name brand and generic options are often available. If you buy your dog’s medicines directly from your vet, ask if you are buying name brand or generic drugs, and if there may be a less expensive option for you.

Get a live-in House/Pet Sitter

One of your biggest costs as a pet owner is probably pet care when you are away from home. Boarding your dog can cost $20 a day or more, and hiring a pet sitter is often even more costly. To avoid this expense, why not match up with a responsible pet/house sitter? There are many retirees, travelers and others who are willing to sit your home and pets for free in exchange for rent-free accommodation. This will save you both the cost of boarding, and you have the security of knowing your dog is kept in their familiar environment.

Practice Preventive Medicine

Another big cost for any dog owner is vet care. An unexpected illness or injury in your pet can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medicines and vet bills. To avoid these incidents as much as possible, it is important to practice preventive medicine with your dog. Make sure your dog stays up-to-date on all vaccinations and that he takes heartworm prevention pills each month. Prevention costs much less than treating an illness—not to mention the suffering you will save your dog! Also make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and that he maintains a healthy weight, as this can help avoid major health complications. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can also prevent dangerous infections that can result from bacteria in your dog’s mouth entering his bloodstream.

By switching your dog to generic drugs and doing most of his grooming yourself, you can save a lot on monthly pet bills. Combine that with free pet sitting and disease prevention, and you can count on saving hundreds of dollars a year on pet care without sacrificing your dog’s health or well-being.

Match with responsible House/Pet Sitters

Copyright © 2009, Ian White