Are you pinching pennies as the recession drags on? If so, don’t skimp on essentials like vet care and premium food, which save you money in the long run. However, you can save money in other, non-essential areas of pet care. We’ve talked about homemade pet toys in the past, along with other ways to save on pet care costs. Today, I’ll share a few more tips for frugal pet parents.
Dogs Can Help You Garden Cheaply
If you grow flowers in a garden separate from any edibles, you can compost your dog’s waste to help you grow beautiful flowers while saving on fertilizer and avoiding disposing of dog waste in the trash, which can negatively impact groundwater. Just remember never to spread composted dog waste on anything you plan to eat! You can compost food scraps, coffee grounds, and various other items separately to feed your edible garden.
Cheap Kong Stuffing
If you’ve been filling your dog’s Kong toys with expensive canned food, commercial Kong stuffing, or anything else that strains a tight budget, you can reduce your pet care expenses by using the kibble meals you already feed to fill a Kong. If you make a slurry of kibble and water in a Kong toy, microwave the whole mess for a minute or so, then freeze it for a few hours, you’ve got a Kong full of frozen-solid kibble goop that will keep your dog occupied for hours. Remember to reduce the amount fed in your dog’s regular meals to account for the food eaten from a Kong, and be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
Exercise with Your Pet
Shelling out big bucks for a gym membership? If you’re just trying to keep fit, not training for a competitive sport, you may be able to reduce your gym workouts to occasional pay-as-you-go sessions at the rec center while continuing to burn calories by increasing your exercise with your pet. Long runs and walks with a dog are great exercise. Burn extra calories by carrying hand-weights as you walk (talk to your doctor first if you have joint problems). Extra bonus: A tired dog is a well-behaved dog; if you replace some of your gym workouts with a few miles of jogging with your dog, you’ll see behavior problems disappear and obedience increase. To keep your muscles toned, keep up with some simple exercises at home, including push-ups.
Don’t be afraid to use the internet wisely to save on necessities. For example, if your vet prescribes a medication for your pet, ask for a week’s supply to start, then immediately price-match your vet with reputable online pet pharmacies like 1-800-PET-MEDS and Drs. Foster and Smith. The same goes for items other than medication. If you see an item in a retail store that you’d like, but don’t need urgently, jot a note to look it up using froogle.com later.