Pet ownership in an economic recession – Part 5

Economic hard times affect our furry and feathered friends. As pet owners lose jobs and homes, many pets find themselves in shelters, or worse, abandoned in foreclosed homes. However, with a little planning, you can ensure that your pet will have adequate food and health care, even in difficult times.

Food is likely the biggest expense for any pet owner. Consider switching your pet’s brand to a lower priced but comparable brand. Many store brands, for example, offer adequate nutrition and cheaper prices. Buy the largest bag available to save cash and look for sales for further savings. To keep food fresh, divide the large bag into smaller, gallon sized zipper bags at home (and remember to re-use the bags to cut costs). Introducing your pet to the new food slowly and mixing it with his old food, will help make sure the new brand is not rejected. Finally, don’t overfeed your pet. Obesity is dangerous to animals and overfeeding is wasteful.

For cat owners, litter is another expense. Store brand, scoopable cat litter will cut down on costs. Shredded newspaper is also a substitute for cat litter. Training your cat to use the toilet is a final, litter free alternative for those with patience and determination.

Health care for your pet is also a necessity. However, affording veterinary care during hard economic times is difficult, but not impossible. Many communities have low-cost options. Contact your local humane society and ask about the availability of low cost vaccination clinics and veterinary care. If your pet requires emergency care or if you cannot afford his regular medications, talk to your veterinarian. Programs are available to help pet owners in need, and your veterinarian may be able to recommend a lower cost medication or subsidy program. Buying medications on-line also significantly reduce expenses. If you cannot afford to pay the cost of your pet’s vet bill all at once, be upfront with the vet. Many are willing to work with you to arrange a payment plan so that your pet can get the care he needs.

Finally, don’t overlook the value of your pet during hard times. He is a great listener to your economic woes. Use the recession as an excuse to stay home and enjoy your furry friend. Playing with your pet, curling up to watch a movie together are great ways to spend a cost-free evening at home.

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