The following is a guest post by Mary Jane Humes.
As a pet owner of seven little house pets, I have researched and found some simple ways to save on pet care beyond using coupons.
Here are some tips that I personally use to help with expenses in owning animals:
Cat Litter. When our kittens first came to live with us, I was concerned about our tight budget. Now we would have to spend money on buying “toilet paper” (litter) for the cats. I have experimented with several kinds and brands and here is the money saving solution that works for us and our three cats.
Spend money on the most expensive, clumping-variety cat litter that you can find in the stores. Use coupons and stock up when you can but only buy the more expensive stuff . My favorite is Arm and Hammer brand. Head over to their website to grab some coupons. The baking soda that is already in the cat litter will absorb odors. Fill your litter box about 4 inches deep with the cat litter and forget about it. While the box directions tell you to scoop every 24 hours and add litter as needed, I have found that you only have to scoop every two or three days. Completely change the litter once every two weeks. The better litter seems to last longer and odor-free. Obviously, if you are experiencing odor or the cats will not use their litter box, scoop and change more often.
Pet Odors. To eliminate pet odors caused by pet accidents, fill a spray bottle with a solution of half water and half vinegar, usually white vinegar, and then spray the portion of stained carpet. Let the carpet dry, vacuuming is optional. This works well to rid your car of “doggy smell,” too. Ever since I found this trick, I have had my spray bottle filled and ready.
Fresh Carpets. The very best carpet odor eliminator that I have used is made by Arm and Hammer. Their formula for pets results in a very strong fresh, clean, soap and water just-scrubbed smell. This is great to use right before having important company. Your house will smell soapy clean for up to 3 days.
Fleas. Fleas are every pet owner’s nightmare. No matter what you do, if you have animals, there may be a few fleas lurking around. I have found that most chemical flea treatments do not work, so I give my doggies a daily garlic capsule. Do not give garlic to cats since garlic is poisonous to them. I do not have any good flea solution for cats, except to vacuum daily. A good (and inexpensive) flea bath for both cats and the dogs is washing them with diluted Dawn detergent. Dawn kills fleas. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse your animals after using the detergent on them
First Aid. Pets can get itchy skin related to flea bites, cuts, scrapes and so on. There are a lot of expensive remedies in your pet store. After you put the stuff on Fido, you feel you have to follow him around to make sure he does not lick if off. But he hides and licks and then you worry about what is he eating and is it helping or hurting him since he is taking it internally; this is a vicious cycle. Here is what I found that works wonders and is relatively cheap. The best money-saving pet first aide is simply coconut oil. At temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, coconut oil is a liquid and at lower temperatures it is a solid. Solid or liquid, simply and generously rub coconut oil on the problem. What is left will nourish and heal their skin and since coconut oil is very healing internally, you don’t have to scold Fido for licking off the coconut oil. Reapply liberally since it is good for so many things for both your dogs and cats. If you prefer your cocoanut oil to be in liquid form, gently heat the container in a pan of water on your stove. NEVER microwave coconut oil, since that will destroy most of its healing properties.
Shots or Not? Vaccinations are a hot and controversial topic for both children and pets, too. Vaccines are costly, but you want you pets to be in the best of health. I totally agree, yet I choose not to have my pets vaccinated, except for the mandatory rabies vaccine. I don’t have children, but it’s probable that I would not have them vaccinated. Not only does not getting shots save money, I believe that the vaccines actually interfere with the natural immune system functioning of our pets.
Worms, etc. Internal parasites are a real concern to any pet owner. To save on costly worming treatments and trips to the vet’s office, I use a cheap product called diatomaceous earth, or “DE.” Suggested amounts for adding DE to your pet’s food is for cats and dogs under 35 pounds, 1 teaspoon daily, and for dogs over 35 pounds, 1 tablespoon. For more information on the benefits of feeding DE to your pets, places where you can purchase this excellent food additive cheaply in your area or on online and a wealth of more information, check out the Yahoo talk group The Golden Secret.
Safe Pet Food. Lately, there has been a real concern about pets getting sick from pet food and treats. Cleaning up after a sick pet is no fun and neither are costly vet bills. It seems that the culprit in unsafe pet foods are those originating from China. Check your label to make sure that none of the food you are feeding your pets comes from China. Even if the label reads that is it “Distributed In The USA,” to be on the safe side, make sure that the pet food product is “Made In The USA” before you purchase it.
To save more money on pet foods, consider making homemade dog and cat food. Search the internet or ask your local veterinarian for recipes on making your own healthy pet foods. Feeding your pets homemade food will help you save money on buying food, save on vet bills and give you the sense of satisfaction of really caring for you furry friend.
I am not a vet. In the event of any serious problems with your pet, please consult your veterinarian immediately. These are just some of the tips I have used to help me save money while owning happy and healthy little animals.