Pet ownership in an economic recession – Part 7

During economic recessions we seek ways to cut back on expenses without drastically affecting our standard of living. We might even look askance at our pets and wonder if they fall into the luxury category and need to be forfeited as one more way to conserve spending.

If we are responsible pet owners, we understand that regardless of the state of the economy, our pet companions still require adequate diets and preventive medical care. We wouldn’t dream of neglecting them, but we might consider giving them away.

Before taking such drastic measures, let us remind ourselves of the true value of our pets. Not only are they loving and loyal companions, but they often provide positive health benefits that far outweigh the drawbacks and cost of ownership.

Consider some of the health benefits our pets provide:

* Reduced stress

* Blood pressure control

* Exercise

* Assuage loneliness

Owning a loyal pet companion during difficult economic times actually enhances our mood and wards off potential depression. When we feel like the world has turned it’s back on us, a steadfast, non-judgmental four-legged friend will entertain us, keep us company and help us refocus our thoughts on the good life has to offer.

Having a pet actually lowers blood pressure and heart rates significantly and can be considered a cost-effective health benefit, as opposed to potential expensive medical check-ups and blood pressure medications.

Pet owners exercise more frequently as they walk their pets and play with them out-of-doors. The health benefits of increased exercise more than offset the costs incurred by keeping our pets healthy and well fed. This also affords the opportunity for more contact with others, a particular benefit to those who live alone or have no family nearby.

In spite of all the known benefits of owning a pet, the fact remains that they come with work and responsibility which can translate into a chunk out of our already strained budget.

Here are some tips for cutting back on the cost of pet maintenance while retaining the same quality of care:

* Spayed or neutered pets have fewer health problems and eliminate the expense of potential additional expense incurred with pet offspring. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter for free or sliding scale clinics in your area.

* Preventive care is the most cost-effective pet management. A sensible feeding schedule and adequate exercise will reduce obesity induced health issues. Take advantage of low cost clinics sponsored by the humane society and animal advocates for low cost or free vaccinations, medications and medical care.

* Buy pet food in bulk and switch to dry food, as opposed to canned, which is more expensive and not as conducive to tooth health and weight control for your pet.

* Swap pet sitting with friends and neighbors rather than using costly boarding services.

* Take a new approach to grooming your pet. Nail clipping, teeth brushing and bathing are all skills easily learned. Do-it- yourself grooming will be a satisfying bonding experience for both you and your pet. A professional grooming can be a every six months experience, rather than once a month, resulting in considerable savings.

Caring for beloved pets during economic harsh times can be accomplished with thoughtful planning. We can continue to be the recipients of unconditional love, non-judgmental companionship and immeasurable loyalty; benefits that come with no price tag.

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