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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Money

These ideas can put a leash on high pet costs

Cash-strapped pet parents can reap big savings during these hard economic times with do-it-yourself care on their pets and practicing some savvy shopping techniques when buying food and products, animal welfare advocates say.

Those who make their own toys, do their own grooming and buy food in bulk can to can save a bundle, they told My Setter Sam when being surveyed about their money-savings tips.

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Beth Cochran, an official with the Phoenix Area Animal Care Coalition, says pet parents can reap huge savings on food with some careful shopping. She advises checking the weekly store ads, clipping coupons, and searching for discounts and coupons online.

"I recently found the food I buy was half price, so I stocked up on it," Ms. Cochran said. "I also found a great deal on treats and was able to use coupons, so I saved nearly $10 on three bags of treats."

Brenda Barnette, chief executive officer of the Seattle Humane Society, offers another trick to save on food. "You can also call the company who produces the pet food you buy and ask for coupons. They will often send a generous supply."

Ms. Barnette advises buying food in in bulk, because "you may pay up to 40 percent less per pound." The key is to use a large airtight container to store the food and preserve its freshness, she said.

She also advises "investing" in quality food to avoid costly health care costs that can later occur by feeding a pet inferior quality products.

Grooming is another area where pet parents can save a lot, Ms. Barnette said. "Learn to groom your pet yourself. Your local library or the Internet will have information on how to properly groom your pet. Although certain pets need special grooming care, most pets you can groom yourself and save the expense of paying a professional."

Pet parents also can save money by buying second-hand toys, Ms. Barnette said. "Shop for pet toys and equipment at garage sales or flea markets and get them at a fraction of the price of new items."

Making homemade toys is one of the simplest ways to save money and keep a playful pet happy, according to Brandi Hand, an official with the Ashville Humane Society in North Carolina.

Toys can be made from household items that are bound for the trash, Ms. Hand said. Her tips include:
  • Using empty plastic water bottles to toss around for the dog. "Dogs love empty plastic water bottles."
  • Stuffing an old pillowcase with dead leaves and tying the end. "Cats love the sound the leaves make as they pounce and wrestle on the pillowcases."
  • Using old socks to play tug-of-war.
  • Stuffing the cardboard tubes from paper towel with treats to offer a challenge for a playful pet.
  • Recycling children's stuffed animals (remove the plastic eyes and nose).
But health care is the one area that pet parents should avoid skimping, Ms. Cochran, the Phoenix Area Animal Care Coalition official, advises.

"Never forgo vaccinations or getting your pet spayed or neutered," Ms. Cochran said. "There are plenty of clinics that offer this at a discounted rate and some will even do it for free depending on the breed. Besides, it will be much more costly in the long run to care for a litter of puppies or the serious medical issues that could arise from not getting the proper vaccinations."

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Book sets signed by the author available here!

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SERIES: Order your set signed by author Joseph A. Reppucci! The Original will touch your heart and the Sequel will lift your soul. *The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Signed Set
*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Holiday discount Book Sets

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SET (unsigned) is offered for a limited time each year at a special holiday discount rate of 25% off. The discount applies to orders received from November 1 through December 24.

We suggest getting discounted copies on Amazon this year. ORIGINAL book at 56% OFF and SEQUEL at 46% OFF. Order both books and qualify for free shipping!

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