Aug 31, 2010


Dog ownership can get expensive if you splurge on the latest toys and do not invest in your dog’s health. Consider these spend-thrift measures to cut the cost of dog ownership without compromising your dog’s wellness or happiness.


• Start your dog early on an exercise program, and try not to overfeed them. Health, exercise, and diet go hand in hand, and and a healthy dog will be less expensive to take care of.

• If you’re not attached to your vet, shop around. Prices can vary widely from one office to another. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations. But don’t choose a vet on price alone; the right vet will save you money in the long run. (See choosing a vet, day xx).

• Having your pet spayed or neutered is not only ethically the right thing to do, but can save money. Dogs who have been fixed are at less risk for many cancers, and don’t produce puppies that come with expenses of their own. Many humane organizations offer low-cost spaying and neutering—and low-cost vaccinations.

• Never be afraid to ask for discounts: some vets offer multiple-pet discounts as well as discounts for seniors.

• Ask your vet for a prescription for any medications as opposed to buying the medication directly from her. Most people don’t realize that 75% of the drugs that vets use are approved for people and can be purchased for much less in generic form at your local pharmacy. However, never give any medication to your pet without checking with your vet first.

• If your pet is ill and your vet is unable to arrive at a diagnosis, get a second opinion. This may cost more up front, but can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run if the second vet can indentify the problem sooner.

• Pet stores, dog parks, and even humane societies can help you find low-cost training classes. Be sure you always check the trainer’s credentials, and ask friends and family for recommendations. Every puppy should at least go to the basic puppy training classes. If you can’t afford a trainer, get a book on training your dog and do it yourself.

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Wendy Nan Rees uses her 25 years of expertise to answer pet health questions and offer expert advice for pet lovers.

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