With the current economy, we are all looking for ways to save money. It is hard to make ends meet and cutting costs is a priority for everyone. However, short-term gains may result in long-term negative consequences for your pet. Take a look at our handy tips and see where you can save and where to invest for the long-term health of your pet. Stop and think the next time you buy your pet’s food. Look at the label. What’s really in there? Is there corn, wheat gluten, brewer’s rice and other fillers? Are there names you can’t pronounce such as ethoxyquin? What are they doing in your pet’s food anyway? Your pet’s food label should list fresh ingredients such as meat, fish, vegetables and healthy omega 3 fats. Invest in a high quality brand and you’ll find that instead of spending more on the high quality brand you’re actually SAVING money because you’ll end up using about ½ the recommended amounts (it takes a lot more food to fill up a pet using food that is loaded with fillers) AND the long-term benefits to your pet are immeasurable. Please visit the Animal Protection Institute to learn more about pet food and how it is prepared.
Avoid purchasing those cleverly marketed, commercially prepared treats that make you think you are actually doing good for your pet. You know—the ones in pretty shapes and colors (e.g. orange carrot-shaped treats made to give you the impression you are giving your pet a carrot) or with dogs begging on the front of the package. Don’t be fooled either by those “all natural” economy packs (sold at the big warehouse stores). Many of these “all natural” jerky treats are manufactured with harsh chemicals and contaminants. Pets can get upset tummies and health problems from eating them. The “bargain” treat bag can actually end up costing you money because of the long-term health consequences on your pet. Instead, use fresh ingredients right from your kitchen. There are lots of affordable, healthy options. For dogs, give them apple slices, baby carrots, a slice of potato, a piece of hardboiled egg or a piece of fresh, LEAN meat. Your cat would much prefer a piece of salmon or fish anyday over a treat that looks like fish made with corn flour, by-products and syrup.
Veterinary bills will most likely be the single largest expense for your pet. By far though, the highest veterinary bills arise from emergency, unplanned visits. You can actually keep your veterinary bills under control by planning ahead and making smart choices NOW! With a bad economy comes bad decisions that can have permanent effects on your pet’s quality of life and longevity. How many of us have thought about switching to a lower cost food, skipping on the vet exam or delaying much needed laboratory work for our pets??? DON’T! A penny saved today will not result in a pound tomorrow—just the opposite. There are plenty of other healthy ways you can save—e.g. drinking less coffee, bringing lunch to work, cutting back on alcohol, candy bars or cigarettes and still do your best for your pet.
Exercise! Exercise with your pet and you will see the dollars flow in over the years. Want to know one of the main reasons pets end up at the veterinary office with emergency, unplanned visits? Well, many of the them have diabetes, cancer, joint problems, liver problems—all have strong correlations with obesity and being overfed and underexcercised. Obesity, lack of exercise is not just a matter of style or looks—it is a matter of good health. Take out a feather or laser toy for your cat— go for a walk with your dog and everybody benefits! Not only will you save money on your veterinary bills but you will build a stronger bond with your pet and give them a happier, healthier life!