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Fido, Spot, or in military households more like Tank, Arty, or Sarge - animals have a special place in the hearts and homes of our families. Having a pet can bring many hours of enjoyment, stress relief, and a constant, unbiased, and loyal friend. I know you couldn't convince me that my Bobby Joe (German Short-haired Pointer) and my Ellie May (Australian Cattle Dog) are anything short of family members in our home. We love those dogs like they're our children.

 

Taking care of a pet properly though can take time and money. Something most people don't realize while they're staring lovingly into baby puppy or kitty eyes. So when they bring home their bundle of fur they are in for a surprise. One trip to your local pet store for "essentials" and you'll learn quickly that things start to add up. And it's not just those initial costs that are associated with your pet that count. According to the ASPCA the long-term costs can be at least $400 or more annually. It's not hard to save money when it comes to your pets, though some of the tips experts offer may surprise you - on most accounts the verdict is spend a little to save a lot.

 

Vet Care

 

Most people don't realize how important it is to keep up on yearly exams and care. Never skip core vaccinations, annual checkups, flea-and-tick treatments, heartworm drugs, or spaying/ neutering - they save thousands down the line. Also, check into on-post veterinarian availability. They typically do not do full hospital procedures but vaccinations, micro-chip, preventative medication, and routine exams are common and offered at discounted prices.

 

Food

 

Food costs are probably the highest cost associated with your pet outside of any unplanned veterinarian visit. It's something you will be forking out funds for constantly. Experts say to purchase a high quality (be careful of generics that are just fillers), nutrient rich food and buy it in bulk. Additionally, they say to be sure you're monitoring your pet's intake of food. Giving them too much will not only cause you to spend more on food but will make them overweight thus more expensive trips to the vet.

 

Extra Advice

 

To save on grooming take a DIY approach - get a pet shampoo, and a good set of grooming tools. It may set you back a few bucks to start with but in the long run you'll save a bundle.

When it comes to toys, less is more. Dogs don't care if they've got the latest designer toy. They'd be just as happy with a stick. Cats are just as low-maintenance. They love to play with wooden spools, crumpled tinfoil or paper, knotted socks stuffed with catnip or anything else they can bat around.

 

In the spirit of "spend a little to save a lot" we have purchased Bob & Ellie several Kong toys. Initially, they are an investment but every one of them has lasted for years and they keep the dogs occupied for hours.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Tell us about your furry family members.

How do you save on pet care & supplies?