July 27, 2010Tip of the Week: July 8th, 2005
Pets On A Budget
by Jonni McCoy
Getting a family pet can be one of the most rewarding things for a child. The pet provides companionship, entertainment and exercise. But sometimes the wrong pet for the family style and needs can be disastrous.
Many pets require a certain type of care. Some dogs, for example, require more money as well as physical interaction and attention. Without proper attention, they can start to act strangely, chewing up things and sometimes even biting or growling. Some other mammals, especially the small ones, don't demand as much and may be better suited for certain people. The smaller mammals, such as rats, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs, are not only less demanding, but also less expensive to care for. Food can be homemade healthy items such as vegetables, grains and fruit. And vet bills are usually minimal. How does one decide if they can afford a pet?
When deciding if you can launch into this addition to the family, don't forget to factor in the pet's love it will provide in return. This is something no one can put a price tag on. After deciding what the initial purchase fee will be, the prospective owner must look at food, vet bills, cage (if required), and any accessories that may be needed.
Another consideration is if your family is away from home much. Will pet sitting be a regular expense? A dog can cost $13,000 over it's lifetime. A third of that goes to food, and another third for the vet bills. The other third is spent on training, collars leashes, toys, etc. A cat will cost significantlyless, with small mammals, reptiles and fish trailing behind.
Vet bills can be an expense we forget to plan for. The average family spends between $100 and $350 per year on their pet. Those unexpected expenses like broken legs, etc. are just things we have to plan for.
There are ways to cut some of the routine vet expenses. Here are a few:
- Ask around at pet stores if they host a mobile vaccine clinic in the area. These are usually 75% cheaper than a vet office visit.
- Ask around what vet prices are. They vary greatly.
- Practice good health and hygiene. This preventative measure can save hundreds of dollars.
- Healthy food is one of the most important items pets need. Cheap food may not have the right amount of protein or essential oils that theyneed. Do some research on your pet's needs.
- Get videos from the library on dental cleaning grooming, and clipping at home.
- Get books at the library on simple home remedies for common ailments.
Food can be an overwhelming expense if you have a large and active animal, such as a dog. There are ways to get around this expense if you are creative. These have helped us in the past:
- Buy in bulk quantities at discount pet superstores.
- Avoid buying food from the vet. Their brands are good, but the mark upis high. Excellent quality pet food is available for less at most large pet stores.
- Don't over feed the animal.
- Learn to make some of their food - this is easier than you think. Most recipe are simple and can be made in bulk. That last suggestion may surprise you. When we lived in Nigeria and Pakistan we didn't have the luxury of a supermarket, or canned pet food.
Instead, we made all of our pet's feed. It is simple, healthy and very inexpensive. It sometimes is better food than store-bought pet food.
For dog food, we boiled some meat and a bone with some rice and herbs. We would add some healthy oils (olive oil, etc.) to the mix for the dog's coat and skin.
For a cat, we chopped a few teaspoons of fish, chicken, or egg yolk and mixed it with a tablespoon of cooked rice or oats, a teaspoon of milk or sour cream and a little oil for its coat.
There are several recipe books in the library with various meals to make for pets. You can even make your own dry pet food. Whichever pet you choose, taking care of them shouldn't break the bank.
Good basic feeding and loving care should help them go a long way.
Jonni McCoy and her family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is the author of Miserly Moms, Frugal Families - Making the Most of Your Hard-Earned Money, and Miserly Meals. You can visit her website at www.miserlymoms.com
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
Posted by Staff at 7:21 PM