As worldwide financial panic continues, so does our series on pet ownership in a down economy. Last time, we talked about making pet toys at home. That’s a great way to save some money, but you can’t make everything your pets need. For example, vet care is an absolute necessity. This time, we’ll look at ways to save on the necessities that you can’t make at home.
Vet Care Deals
In an emergency, there’s no time to worry about price. But when your pet is due for a routine procedure like a spay/neuter or vaccinations, you have many options. Start by throwing the idea that your pet needs to get all his or her yearly vaccinations at once out the window. It’s easier on the immune system to give vaccines one at a time, with about three weeks between jabs to recover. Unless doing vaccinations separately would result in a larger total number of injections, it’s okay to do one at a time for adult pets. This gives you the leeway to budget monthly for shots, and to go to monthly low-cost clinics for those immunizations. For example, Petco stores host vaccination clinics monthly in most areas.
As for spaying and neutering, there are low-cost or even free pet sterilization programs in most cities. Don’t let the expense stop you from altering your pet. An unwanted litter or a Caesarian section is much more expensive! In Denver, Planned Pethood Plus offers inexpensive spaying and neutering, as well as other low-cost veterinary services for sterilized pets only. Use Google and/or Yelp to search for a similar clinic near you. If an internet search turns up no leads, start calling the biggest animal shelters nearby and asking for referrals. Many shelters have mobile spay/neuter programs or can at least refer you to an organization that does.
Taking the time to hunt for deals on things like pet carriers, cat condos, and even litter can pay off big time, both for you and for rescue animals. Many shelters and rescues sell donated supplies that they can’t use for the animals in their custody. These supplies are generally very reasonably priced, and the proceeds help to fund the shelter’s operations. Other shelters have volunteers who make or donate supplies specifically for the purpose of selling them to benefit the shelter.
Shelters aren’t the only place you can find a deal on supplies. Some vet clinics also sell certain items cheaply. For example, one clinic near me accepts used pet carriers in good condition. They clean the carriers and sell them for $10.00 each to benefit a fund that pays for emergency care for pets whose owners can’t afford needed treatment. Start by checking with your vet to see if they know of any programs that sell affordable pet supplies to benefit a good cause.
You can even find certain items for your pets for free. Sign up for your local Freecycle chapter– but remember to recycle your own unwanted items through the group. Taking without ever giving is lousy Freecycle etiquette. Craigslist also has a “free” section, as well as a “wanted” section where you can make a post asking for things you need for your pets.
Finally, make sure that you check couponing websites (there are too many to list here) before going to a chain pet store or placing an order online. Particularly when ordering online, there’s almost always a usable coupon code to take 10-15% off your purchase.
If you’re willing to put just a little time and effort into finding bargains, you’ll never have to pay full price for most pet supplies again!