The first thing a person should do, if they wish to save on expenses, is to adopt a pet that is already up to date on its medical expenses, including the fact that it is already spayed or neutered. Not being able to afford to spay or neuter a pet, such as a cat or dog, is inexcusable when many pets who are already fixed are eagerly waiting to be adopted. Yes, there is a cost for adopting pets, however, in most places the adoption fee is lower than taking a free pet and having all the medical done to it.
Other than adopting a pet from a proper shelter, buying one from a reputable seller is the next best way to save money long term, particularly on medical expenses. A reputable seller stands behind their animals for their lifetime. They offer genetic health guarantees and will not breed any animals in lines where problems have occurred. Reputable breeders do not sell pets cheap, but they have show records and health checks done on the parents proving they have put in an effort to reduce any genetic health problems from occurring in a pet.
Photo by Author – This is one of my cats, I adopted her from a shelter over 10 years ago. At $35 she was already spayed, vaccinated, and dewormed. She had been health checked and came with a 2 week health guarantee. This was certainly less than what it would have cost me to take a “free” pet for medical care, a spay alone was over $120 at that time. Certainly many shelters charge more, but as they are non-profit their fees are usually lower than what it would cost a person do get the care done.
Ignoring a pets basic medical needs, such as spaying, neutering, vaccinations, and deworming, may save money in the short term, but all of these things are preventative to further medical expenses. A spayed or neutered pet has a reduce risk of some cancers, and since they roam less they put themselves at less risk of being hit by a car, or getting a fine for being at large. Some areas can fine owners of pets that are not up to date on their Rabies shot, particularly if they bite somebody.
Proper identification is fairly inexpensive. This can be either a tattoo, microchip, or tag on the collar. If a pet is lost, the identification will hopefully hep a finder to reunite it with you, thus saving the expense of it going to the city pound.
Photo source http://www.flickr.com/photos/themacinator/3547048471/ An identified dog is a loved dog.
Having a pet licensed also saves money in the long run. If a pet is picked up as a stray, the fine for having a unlicensed pet can be quite heavy in some areas. Additionally the license, when worn at all times, can be identifying and helps a pet be re-united with its owner (you) quicker, thus you should not have to pay high boarding fees if the pet is kept in the pound for a few days until you find it there.
Buying a top quality food for a pet saves money in the long run, although people find it hard to believe. First of all let us note that not all expensive foods are good quality, one must become familiar with ingredients, but as a rule none of the foods sold in grocery stores and department type stores are of good quality. Foods that have commercials to promote them, are putting money into advertising, not ingredients. Some pet foods even pay for vets to promote their food, again they do this ahead of putting money into quality ingredients. When you feed a top quality food the pet actually needs to eat less because it is not having to eat a lot of filler to get its nutritional needs met. It will poop less to, and ideally have fewer health concerns (some ingredients are known to be suspected for contributing to cancer in pets, while others make digestion more difficult or contribute to urinary tract problems). While all commercial pet foods must meet minimal standards, few exceed them. Look for a pet food that contains no “By-Products”, has human grade ingredients, and is naturally preserved.
Proper Obedience training and socialization classes are a very important expense for dog owners. Unfortunately a lot of people do not see more use for these classes than teaching the dog to “sit”, and since they figure they can teach the dog to do that themselves, they forget about classes. Obedience classes are far more than basic commands. They teach dogs to be social to other dogs, to listen to their owner in commotions, and they give the dog a much needed mental stimulus. Many dogs who become destructive at home, become this way purely because their mental needs are not being met. Obedience classes are a doorway of opportunity to take an intelligent dog into agility, or anything that challenges the dogs mind.
Photo by Author – Well socialized dogs have a better quality of life.
Building a safe pet area, or pet run, is a good way of keeping your pet safe, and contained in your yard. Sure some areas do not have laws restricting a cats movement, but that does not mean a cat is any less likely to be hit by a car in those areas, or not at risk of being poisoned by an angry neighbor. Similarly dog runs are a better option than tying a dog in a yard where there is no proper fence.
Sometimes we try too hard to cut corners, while this might be okay when buying a breakfast cereal, it is not acceptable to do with a living animal who is in our care. Veterinarian attention should never be compromised or withheld, in fact in most areas a person who does not take a suffering animal to a vet can be charged with neglect. Failure to feed a pet a proper diet also is criminal. Prior to even getting a pet, money should be set aside for emergency expenses. If a person truly is so concerned about money that they cannot provide proper care to a living creature, they should not consider getting a pet at all.
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