Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Saving Money: Pet Care

Since the beginning of November, Todd and I have been scrutinizing our expenses.  We realize that our dream of full time RVing will not be possible if we are frivolous with how we spend money.  I am almost positive that my mother is rolling her eyes right now as she’s reading this (I love you, mom!) because she already feels that we go above and beyond frugality.  For us, we believe there is always room for improvement and we have found a way to cut down the expenses on one of our largest expenses: the animals!

Presently, we live amongst 7 animals.  Please do not report us to pet hoarders!  It’s not like that at all, though sometimes at night when we are all in bed (oh yes, we fit in a queen sized bed with two large dogs and 5 cats) it feels like we may have taken in one or two (or 5!) too many strays.  I believe that when we decided to take in all of these animals, we chose to take on the responsibility of feeding and caring for these animals to the best of our ability.

Recently, we have found ways to save money on caring for our critters.

Prices for spay/neutering can vary.  We have paid over $250 for one of our kittens to be spayed whereas we have paid less than that amount to have 3 kittens spayed/neutered at a no-kill shelter.  After being unhappy with our local vet, we decided to look elsewhere and found a place that spays/neuters cats for $35 (boys) to $45 (girls)!  They have a program that if you have more than one cat, you buy one spay/neuter and you get one free.  We have had 6 of our animals spayed/neutered at this no-kill shelter and have been very pleased with the results and how our animals bounced back after their surgeries.

Kitten Kaleidoscope!

We purchase very high-quality food for our dogs that is formulated for their breed to help keep their joints healthy and to maintain a healthy weight.  We could buy the food at a pet store for $55+/bag; however, Amazon carries the same brand for $44/bag! We also found that our cat food is $8/bag less expensive at BJ’s versus the same exact brand at WalMart.  In other words: shop around!

Our vet charges an arm and a leg to vaccinate our pups; however, there are clinics that are offered at Pet Supplies Plus that come around every few weeks to vaccinate dogs and cats starting at $10!  By doing this, you avoid the fee that the vet charges just to see your pet, and it helps your pocketbook!  Also, the no-kill shelter offers these vaccinations for a fraction of the price as well.

Flea Treatments
Flea treatments for the dogs are extremely expensive at $10/dog per month and we have been purchasing product from WalMart for the cats.  I found that Fipronil has the same ingredients as Frontline and Advantage flea and tick control.  This can be used for both dogs and the cats.  We purchase this product in bulk (30cc’s) from a seller on eBay at $52.97 delivered to our door and administer it ourselves.  The treatments last us 5 months for all 7 critters to be free of fleas and ticks.

Buddy and Lana on Christmas Morning

Cat De-wormer Treatment
Our cats are great hunters and because of this, they tend to get worms from their prey a couple times a year.  We have tried the $8/bottle over-the-counter product from WalMart and Tractor Supply with no luck until we take the cats to the vet to get treated.  After doing some research, I found that Praziquantel is a generic form of de-wormer that kills tapeworm and is used in many vet clinics and shelters to help cut costs.  We now purchase 20 capsules of Praziquantel a year from a seller on eBay to keep on hand and administer to our cats when they have worms.  The cost is $19.99 and each of our 5 cats can be treated 4 times!

Being Labs, our dogs do not need groomed; however, they need their nails trimmed.  Lana has black nails so it very difficult to cut her nails without having a bleeder.  Buddy’s nails are easier to trim because you can see the quick; however, he cannot stand to have them done.  I wait until he is zonked out before I can cut his nails.  We didn’t purchase any fancy schmancy nail-clippers, just regular ones that can be found at the dollar store or WalMart. 

I have yet to find an alternative for the dogs for their heartworm medication: if you know of anything, please let me know!

I want to make it clear that even though we save money on flea treatments and de-wormers, we take our dogs to the vet twice a year (for their heartworm shots and general checkup) and cats when needed.  I believe that when we took these strays in, it became our responsibility to care for them and to keep them healthy!

DISCLOSURE:  These items have been provided for informational purposes only.  Please note that I am not a veterinarian.  Please consult your veterinarian before administering these items to your pets.

What do you do to save money on your pets?

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