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How to Save Money on Pet Care

Michelle Stinson Ross

Pets are often as important to us as the human relationships in our lives. We tend to lavish our animal companions with all kinds of treats and toys, but that can get expensive. There are ways to save on everything from pets' daily food needs to grooming, toys and travel. Here are a few money saving tips that don't skimp on the affection we share with our pets.

DIY Grooming:

For many pet owners summertime is also shedding time. Our cats and dogs give their heavy winter coats the boot in order to stay cool and comfortable during the long, hot days. Rather than take Fido to the groomers, take the time to bathe and clip him yourself. You'll be far more aware of the state of your pets' skin and coat, as well as any issues with fleas and ticks, if you're grooming them yourself. All the tools you need for the job will cost you less than one trip to see a professional pet groomer. And, it's one less errand to take up time and gas.

Buy in Bulk:

That warehouse club membership is worth its weight in pet supplies. Things like pet food and cat litter can get expensive in a hurry if you keep buying it one small bag at a time in the grocery store. When you consider that your pet's food needs could only cost you a few cents per bowl, that 50 pound sack of kibble becomes worth the effort to wrestle into the car. But don't forget; if you have to switch brands to buy in bulk, slowly change the food to avoid sick pups and kittens.

Shop Online:

There are a wide variety of pet supplies available from retailers like Target and Amazon, as well as specialty pet sites like PetCareRx and PetSafe. Creating a subscription for food and litter can help keep you from running out of supplies and save time. Combine subscription service discounts with free shipping and online coupons to really put the bite on your pet expenses. These sites are also a great option for getting the grooming tools mentioned earlier.

Repurpose and Reuse:

Consider giving old socks, forgotten stuffed toys and all kinds of other odds and ends a second life as pet toys. The best fun our family cat ever had was playing with a brown paper sack left on the floor and chasing twisted pipe cleaners. Tie up those worn out athletic socks in knots and see how much your dog loves a game of tug-of-war. Even the old plastic kiddy pool can become the outdoor pet's favorite hangout. Plus, it'll be great for keeping them cool and safe in hot, summer months. Playtime, a cool-down and a bath all at once. What could go wrong?

Travel Trade:

As much fun as it might be to take the family pet along on the summer road trip, accommodating Fluffy will increase your travel expenses. Although lots of hotels welcome pets, you will have to pay extra fees to keep them in the room with you. Kennels are a great option when visiting places your pet can't go, but here too you will be charged extra fees for the convenience.

Consider trading pet sitting duties with friends and family. Our family dog has enjoyed spending time with other pets and families, and we have had a blast keeping an additional pet friend from time to time. The trade enables both families to travel knowing that their pets are well cared for.

Preventative Care:

Shop around among you local veterinarians. Many of them are willing to bundle services and give special discounts to pet owners that sign up for wellness packages. Our last vet had great deals on packages that included office visits, vaccines and dental care. The peace of mind to know that we could come into the office with any issue and know that the visit was already paid for was worth the cost of the package deal alone.

Saving money on pet care is easy. And putting our focus on the time and attention we give our pets rather than splurging on toys and treats will lead to a happy and healthy pet relationship.

Michelle Stinson Ross is the social marketing manager at Offers.com. She's a working mother of three teens and a digital diva who loves a great deal.

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