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How to Keep Pets on a Budget

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During the recession of the last couple of years, people have lost their jobs, they’ve had to endure foreclosures, and have had to move back in with family just to get by. But there are thousands of other victims of the recession who can’t speak for themselves. They’re the pets abandoned in those foreclosed homes.

Pet abuse and neglect is not a new phenomenon, unfortunately. Every day, dogs, cats, and other companion animals are neglected, abandoned, injured, and even killed by the people who are supposed to care for them. But the recession has increased the instances of pets being left behind in homes with no food or water, even by those who normally wouldn’t purposely injure an animal. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re trying to keep a pet and make ends meet, here are a few tips to help you continue to care for your beloved pet during these tough times.

Find Low-Cost Veterinary Care

Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay and neuter services, low-cost vaccinations, and other veterinary services at much lower prices than regular vets. These services are not always widely advertised because funding is usually so limited with non-profit animal care facilities, so you may need to call around to get more information. Some animal shelters will even sell pet meds such as flea and tick treatments or heartworm preventatives at discount prices. It’s worth checking into to keep your pet healthy and avoid even bigger bills if they get sick.

Clip Coupons

It’s not usually a good idea to switch your pet’s food very often. But being able to feed your pet something is better than forgoing his food altogether because you can’t afford what he normally eats. Every little bit helps, and if you can find coupons for pet food, you may just have to buy whatever brand the coupon is for, or whatever is on sale. Look in Sunday newspapers for coupons. You can also print coupons you find online. If you don’t have Internet access, visit your local library. You’ll find coupons on sites dedicated to saving money, but also check pet food for printable coupons.

Be Realistic

One of the most difficult things to admit may be that you can no longer afford to feed or take proper care of your pet. But admitting it can be the first step in making sure your animal can find a new home. If you can no longer care for your pet, abandonment is not the answer. Call local animal shelters to see if they will accept your pet. If they don’t have room (as is becoming an issue with so many people giving up their pets), they may be able to refer you to another facility that has space. Also talk to local veterinarians. They may know of people who are looking to adopt a pet, and may be able to help you.

Giving up a beloved pet can be heartbreaking. Several resources exist to help pet owners, particularly those with low incomes. If this still isn’t enough, and you do have to give up your dog, cat, bird, or whatever pet you have, don’t beat yourself up about it. Finding him a new home, or asking for help to do so, is the most responsible thing you can do for your pet.

Jackie is a writer for 1-800-PetMeds, and loves to help and support the pet community. You can find PetMeds on twitter @1800PetMeds or connect with PetMeds on Facebook.

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Melissa Garcia AKA The Consumer Queen has been featured in All You Magazine,Wall Street Journal,Ladies Home Journal, The Today Show, Oprah radio Network & More. Melissa is also now blogging full time from home as a career.

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  • Kathi Barfield-Marchiano via Facebook November 16, 2011, 8:19 PM

    Are we on a budget or are we now teaching Fluffy to ballance the checkbook?

  • Cristina November 17, 2011, 9:00 AM

    Some vet offices offer payment plans if your pet needs an expensive procedure or operation. I don’t recommend just going with the cheapest spay/neuter you can find – you still want a good, experienced vet. If there were any issues or mistakes your pet could end up with further health problems.

    Also, I know that taking your pet to a shelter seems like the humane thing to do. But be aware that almost ALL shelters in the United States will put down animals due to overcrowding, which is the state that almost all of them are in. For example, there is only ONE no-kill rabbit shelter in Oklahoma. They are (and have been for a while) over capacity, so they are not taking any more rabbits. So if you take your rabbit anywhere else, there is a 99% chance it will be euthanized. Most shelters aren’t equipped to care for rabbits, and their chances of adoption are so low anyway. That’s just one example. I’m sorry that it’s hard, but the truth is your pet may not being going “to a better home.”

    • Princess Karen November 17, 2011, 9:07 AM

      The Oklahoma Humane Society also has a list of low cost vets also. I had one but I misplaced it. The Oklahoma Humane Society also has a low cost spay and neuter clinic for cats and dogs. I got the stray cat that adopted us all of her shots, got her fixed and her pain meds, tag, collar, and a carry case for her all for under $50! ~Princess karen


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