According to a recent survey by the Humane Society of the United States, 62 percent of American households own at least one pet. Pet owners spend more than $50 billion per year on their pets, too! Certainly, that’s a lot of money. How can we save more money on our furry, feathered and scaled pet friends?
One tip I’ve seen before is 'don't buy dogs that have to be groomed.' More importantly, 'Don't BUY dogs or any pets.' Adopt, adopt, adopt.
This is a great tip – I think nearly everyone is aware of the pet overpopulation issues in our country. There are far more dogs and cats looking for homes than there are people willing to adopt them. I understand that some people are tied to wanting specific breeds of dogs or cats, but breed-specific rescue groups abound for everything from Jack Russell terriers to Labrador Retrievers.
We recently adopted a new dog through a local rescue group. Our dear senior dog passed away after more than 13 years with our family. After grieving for a few months, we were ready to open our hearts to another dog. The Internet makes it easy to find a local animal shelter or rescue group in your area – many offer online profiles with photos of their adoptable pets. After connecting with a local group and deciding which dog we wanted to meet, the rescue group brought the dog to our house to meet our family. We were able to see how he interacted with us in our house and yard. Well, we were all smitten with the German Shepherd mix with big brown eyes that curled up in on the living room floor and seemed to be “home!” Less than a week later, we welcomed him home to stay.
Our first dog came from a local farmer whose dog had puppies, and I learned of the advantages to adopting from a dog rescue this time around. With our “farm boy,” we were responsible for all of the costs of vaccinating and neutering our dog. These expenses quickly added up to hundreds of dollars the first year – not including the $400 I paid the farmer for the dog. When we adopted our new dog from the rescue, our $325 adoption fee included all of his necessary vaccinations and his neutering procedure. They took care of all of these procedures with a local veterinarian before the adoption was finalized.
Another benefit? Adopting from a rescue group meant that our dog had lived with a foster family for a few weeks prior to coming home with us. We were able to get a sense of his personality and behavior by talking to the family. We don’t know much about his previous life, but he arrived at our door completely housebroken and knew some basic obedience commands. (That’s a plus you can’t put a price on!)
Of course, sometimes you don’t choose a pet – they find you. Last summer, a feral cat showed up in our yard and began living under our deck. She was afraid of people, but she also didn’t seem in a hurry to leave. After a few months, we realized she was likely here to stay.
I don’t mind having a cat around, but I also wasn’t keen on spending more than $300 to have a stray cat spayed. I called our local county’s extension office and learned about their feral cat catch-and-release program. For $35, they would trap, spay and return the cat to the property. This seemed like a small price to pay to ensure that we didn’t end up with more cats living in the backyard – especially when I was informed that female cats can have a litter of kittens every nine weeks.
I mention this as I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had a pet “find” them unexpectedly. There may be discount spay/neuter programs you can take advantage of if you find yourself in a similar scenario.
Next week, I’ll share more pet-savings tips from readers.
© CTW Features
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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