Happy and HealthyDogs ~ they’re sweet, slobbering, sincere bundles of joy. As a pet parent, of course you want only the best for your four-legged friend, but dog care can get expensive. Here are a few tips for saving money on your pooch’s care without sacrificing quality.

Doggy Dining ~ Should You Splurge or Save? There are so many brands and types of dog foods out on the market today that it’s hard to keep track. From allergy blends to the “Zignature” brand, how do you know which one is best for your pet? Well, when it comes to dog food, you get exactly what you pay for.

First and foremost, avoid the cheap grocery store brands. The quality is inferior, meaning more poop from your pooch and more upset tummies. Reserve your money for good-quality food (with a high-quality food being the preference); even brands like Purina make good-quality foods at more reasonable prices. Consult with your vet to determine the most economical yet healthy option for your pet.

Can You Skimp on Vaccinations? Sure, there are some things you can skimp on, but vaccinations are not among them! Vaccinations keep your dog safe from dangerous and deadly diseases. But, keep in mind, you don’t have to visit your regular vet for the necessary vaccinations for your pet. Many pet stores have clinics on site that offer significant savings over a standard vet visit. And “Luv My Pet,” a nationwide company, holds vaccination clinics in a variety of settings, such as Tractor Supply stores, and provides discount packages for puppy and adult dog vaccinations.

Heartworms, Fleas and Ticks ~ What Should a Pet Parent Do? Surely you’ve heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, that saying holds true when it comes to heartworms, fleas and ticks. It is much more cost effective to prevent these parasites than it is to treat them after the fact. Resist the urge to purchase the less expensive store-brand preventions as they are less effective than veterinarian-recommended brands. Discuss the best prevention plans with your vet – there are types to fit all budgets.

Toys Bring Joy to Your Dog, but They Can Also Break the Bank! If you’ve visited a pet store lately, you know that dog toys can be astronomically expensive. While that self-propelled, interactive treat dispenser for $99 may be appealing, keep in mind that dogs love the basics. They love to chase tennis balls; play tug-o-war on a thick, hardy rope; chew on an empty plastic water bottle stuffed inside a sock. And there are plenty of ways to entertain your pet without spending a dime. Long walks, time at the dog park, and running around in the backyard are more gratifying to your precious pooch than any expensive toy.

In Case of an Emergency… Accidents do happen, no matter how careful we may be. Prepare yourself; create an emergency fund for your pet and add some money to it every month, no matter how little the amount. You may even want to check out pet insurance. It’s becoming more widely available and can help offset the cost of an emergency situation. And, best of all, it’s more affordable than most people realize, with the average cost in the U.S. totaling only $384 per year.

A dog is a marvelous companion. Hopefully these tips will help you keep your furry friend happy and healthy, while reducing unnecessary costs!

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