Saving Money on Pet Supplies

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
May 28, 2009

It's that time of year again. Time to take our old friend, a mutt whom we adopted at the pound twelve years ago, to the vet. He'll be excited until he gets there, but when it's over he'll happily leave with a treat and new vaccination tag. For me, however, the pain of the shots lingers a bit longer.

Last year we invested more than $150 in one single visit to our veterinarian. Add onto that the year's supply of flea and tick medicine, and he's topping $200. This year, with the economy the way it is we decided that everybody was cutting back, everybody.

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The Shot

The first place we decided to cut our vet costs was at the vet itself. Knowing that our dog has been an exceptionally healthy animal who has been on routine worm medication, we opted to only have him vaccinated. At this point we'll recognize signs of serious illness; we've gotten to know him pretty well by now.

However, to vaccinate at our vet incurs a hefty office visitation cost as well as a slew of vaccines. Instead, we called our local chain pet store (Petco for our area) and asked about vaccinations that they offered. Luckily, they offer a Saturday clinic that provides all of the required vaccines for dogs and cats for $49. If we opt for the additional heartworm and other parasite check our bill still comes in under $75. The only cost? We have to arrive on a Saturday at 2pm and wait in line. Our trip to the vet takes well over an hour, so we figure we'll bring a book and find our place in line.

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The Maintenance

Again, luckily we have a healthy pet. However, a few years ago we cut the cost of our flea and tick medicine by ordering it online. The exact same box arrives in our mailbox (just like the ad on TV claims) and we save nearly half the cost of buying it at the veterinarian. By purchasing a year's supply at once we save even more, sometimes getting a full month free. It pays for the shipping. If we combine orders from our family and buy all the dogs' medicines for the year in one large order we receive free shipping and the months free. Not bad.

The Food

Before our dog became a permanent fixture on our couch (remember, he's twelve. That's the equivalent to an 84 year old man), he required more energy than a teenager. We were tempted by the ads for the high-priced dog food like Eukenuba and Iams. They touted benefits for the active dog and the growing dog.
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However, before buying we talked to a very down to earth veterinarian who offered this test: Lay a handful of dog food on a non-waxed paper plate overnight. In the morning if the food left some greasy marks, it was a valuable dog food. He claimed that the brand name foods are only selling the brand and not the benefit.

However, he cautioned against foods that didn't have the level of moisture that showed on his test. One such food we quickly found was Ol' Roy marketed for Walmart stores as well as our local grocery store's generic Dog Chow. The same veterinarian recommended Purina or Alpo, but warned that the dog would decide which he preferred (Dogs must be like people deciding between Pepsi or Coke; it's either one or the other but not both.) We've been cycling through Purina Puppy Chow (yes, he's a Pepsi type of dog), Purina Dog Chow, and now Purina Senior.

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He seems happy with it, and at $8 a bag so are we.

The Love

Regardless what level of care you give, your pet will appreciate nothing more than your love. If he needs veterinary care, give it. If she needs special food for a sensitive stomach, feed it. Just love your pets; they'll love you back! (It's also not a bad idea to invest in an at-home care book which can save many trips to the vet for silly doggie things like swallowing a bee or cutting a paw. We've been there for both. The bee cost us $120.)

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I took an old board, nailed leftover carpeting onto it for an 8 foot long climber and scratching post.

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Cat collars, on the cheap! Use plain elastic! Tie it. The beauty of a piece of elastic is that it won't choke a cat and works as an expandable "breakway" collar.

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To remove pet urine smells and stains from my carpet, I have always used a mixture of 2 parts distilled white vinegar to 9 parts water.

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When my daughter moved into a apartment recently, they wouldn't let her have a pet. So, I am now the owner of a little Yorkie.

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She is so sweet and little. As she is so little, so is her bladder.

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I found a great company to order pet supplies from. It's name is Pet Edge. It is located in Woburn, MA. It also has an outlet store there. Things can also be ordered online. Check out their prices, it's amazing!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 20, 2005

Do you have any money saving tips for pet supplies? Share your ideas with the ThriftyFun community by posting feedback below.

Answers

September 20, 20050 found this helpful

When out purchasing pet supplies, be sure to ask if they have any broken or torn bags or dented cans of hamster litter, kitty litter, pet foods, fish food, wildbird seed, etc. Also, might ask if they've got any doggie beds, kitty towers, bird cages, aquariums that might have a flaw, that could be purchased at a discounted price.

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Not necessarily all of those, just whatever you might be needing with your special pet(s).

By Terri

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Anonymous
September 20, 20050 found this helpful

I make my own beds-Polar Fleece [$6 @ yd, $1.29 for Polyfil]. Bought a fiberboard 24" in diameter from bakery store. Trace around fiberboard, cut out 2 layers, machine sew around edge leaving hand size opening to stuff it, turn right side out, stuff and hand sew opening closed. These go through the washer and dryer beautifully. Also they aren't stuffed with all the 'floor sweepings' that beds bought are!!!! Any left over scraps I sew as for the beds, stuff with polyfil and close. Can get 2-4 beds for the price of one bought in Petco! Fantastic site for pet things is UPCO.com. Top quality, low prices!! Joandogs

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May 11, 20110 found this helpful

For those of us that can't sew or don't have time or have access to a machine. I have found a new bath mat at Wal-mart that would make a wonderful pet mat for inside a kennel,or carry kennel and is nice enough to put just on the floor. It comes in two sizes and several colors. Great for small or medium size pet.. What I like is that it is made with memory foam and covered with a soft cloth. It is machine washable and dryable. I would air dry this mat. It is very soft and spongey. Dogs or cats would love it. It is called Cloud 9 made by Mohawk and found in the home dept at Wal-mart. The small one cost around $ 12.98 plus tax and I bought a small brown one, This is 10.00 to 20.00 less than I saw for a actual pet mat the same size in the pet dept or at a pet store and not nearly as nice. My Mini Pin really likes his. He used to scrunce every thing he laid on. Now he uses this pad flat. It might have to do with the memory foam and it is more comfortable for him.

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