Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't let this recession force you to part with your pet... here are some cost saving ideas:

As discussed earlier, financial times are tough—the markets are down, inflation is becoming a greater problem, and we are in a full blown recession. There is no concrete end in sight; with so many unknown factors coming into play it is difficult to even speculate what direction our economy is heading.

In tough economic times, people cut costs. The easiest way to tighten your budget is to remove luxury items—you know those things you can really live without. Unfortunately, as people move from more materialistic lifestyles to frugal ones, pets are often the luxury that is cut. I see this everyday in rescue emails, on Craigslist under the pets section, and in overcrowded shelters. Owners are surrendering their pets, because they no longer can afford to care for them. People are posting re-homing threads on Craigslist, because part of saving has been downsizing to a smaller apartment… one that doesn’t accept pets. This absolutely infuriates me, as pet ownership is a lifelong commitment.

If you know you will have to move… take the time to look for apartment complexes, houses, etc. that allow pets. If they allow pets on a case-by-case basis, consider taking the Canine Good Citizen test, and explaining to the landlord or property manager that you have a CGC certified dog. If you look hard enough you will find somewhere your four legged friend is allowed.

I know many readers of this blog would rather go hungry than see their pet have a less than stellar meal, and I applaud you for that. But, if you are faced with needing to cut some expenses with your pet here are some things that while not the absolute best quality, are still better than most to try.

Invest in a dog cookbook (you can even buy them used on Amazon.com)—for the cost of 2 boxes of milk bones you can have enough ingredients on hand to make hundreds of dog treats. Or, better yet, cut the treats from your dogs diet—your pet can live without them, and if it means keeping the pet, paying your mortgage, or being able to pay for your prescriptions… the treats can go.

Switch from your top of the line food to a lower quality cheaper food. If your financial situation looks like it will bounce back relatively quickly—feeding a decent (but not fabulous) food for a short period of time can really help out the budget. Costco’s Kirkland brand, while not on par with foods I have written about in the past, is much better quality than many grocery store brands. A large bag (I believe 50 pound bag) is about $20. You can supplement this food (or any other) by mixing in 100% pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix (both are found in the baking aisle near the pie crusts), cracking a raw egg over the food, adding carrots or green beans (if you go the canned route make sure they are “no salt added”), adding some non-fat plain yogurt, or non-fat cottage cheese. I buy a large tub of yogurt for myself, and give Milly a spoonful of it with her dinner sometimes. A little yogurt is very good for a dog’s digestive track.

I promise to give more cost saving tips in future posts!

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