Money Saving Tips for Pet Owners - 5 Smart Things You Can Do

More on PawNation: budget, cheap, discount, discounts, pet care, PetCare, saving money, SavingMoney

cute puppy picture

This cutie could cost a bundle if you're not careful. Beverly & Pack, Flickr

In today's less-than-robust economy, everyone is trying to find ways to save money, and pet owners are no exception. After all, owning a pet can be expensive. According to an American Pet Products Association survey, we spend over $45 billion a year on our pets. But having a dog or cat doesn't have to be a pricey proposition, here are our top five budget-friendly tips for getting and taking care of that animal family member.

1. Start By Rescuing A Pet
If you are pinching pennies (and even if you aren't), go visit your local animal shelter. They have animals of all ages, temperaments and sizes and often only charge what it costs to vaccinate and spay the animal.

If there is a specific breed that you absolutely adore, you still may find your true love at the shelter as pets of all breeds end up needing new homes. Or reach out to the breed-specific rescue organizations. For example, you might find the perfect pooch at Chihuahua Rescue, PugRescue.com, or French Bulldog Rescue Network. You can also search for dog-breed clubs in your area. They often have rescue or fostering organizations that can help connect you to the breed of your dreams while also giving a home to a pup in need.

2. Take Advantage Of Subsidized Spay/Neuter Services
At your local vet, paying full price to get your dog fixed can cost up to $200-300. But many organizations offer discount services, sometimes charging as low as $45 or nothing at all. Check ASPCA's special search function for low-cost and free resources in your area. SPAY/USA and Friends of Animals also provide great lists of low-cost services.

3. Buy Discounted Pet Food
Sites such as Pets Warehouse, PetFooder, PetFoodDirect and large retailers such as Costco, Petco and PetSmart may offer big discounts on your favorite brand of dog food or even special bulk pricing. You should also check out some of the online coupon web sites such as couponmountain.com, slickdeals.net and fatwallet.com or register at your pet food company's site for email newsletters and discount offers.

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