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Ask the Readers: How do you save on pet care?


Emily emailed in the following question:

I’m writing because there is an area of our budget I haven’t been able to trim: pet care! Our dog was our first “baby” and we got him when we were both employed. Since that time, I got laid off from my job in sales and chose to stay home with our two small children.

While we’ve adjusted our food budget, as well as most other areas of our finances, I’ve yet to adjust our dog food. We raised the dog on Iams, which is good food but quite pricey. We’re hesitant to switch, as dogs normally don’t fare well during the switch. And some cheaper dog foods are just JUNK!

I’d love suggestions on where to find high-value coupons or how to cut our spending on dog food. Thanks so much – Emily

While we don’t have any dogs–yet!–I do know that My Pet Savings is a great blog to follow if you have pets of any kind. You’ll find lots of ideas, coupons, freebies and more for pets there.

Aside from that, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to saving money on pets. But I have no doubt that my readers are a wealth of wisdom when it comes to this subject.

So chime in with your great ideas on saving money on pet food and how to trim the budget when it comes to pet care without sacrificing quality.

Have a question you’d like me to pose for our weekly Ask the Readers feature? Email it to me and I’ll be glad to consider doing so.

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220 Comments

  • Cathy says:

    I have found there are some great Vet Techs that do services out of their homes! And, they are usually much more attentive & caring than the vet offices…plus, they are more economical! And, once you create a good relationship – maybe there’s something you could ‘swap’ for their services (just general nail clipping, etc. services).

  • Stacy says:

    One thing that works (sometimes at least) is writing a letter/email to the company. We fell on hard times and I wrote Purina about getting coupons/free samples to help us out with our cats. I got some GREAT coupons and a very sweet letter. It is always worth a try. My mom always told me, “Ask, the worst they can do is tell you no.”

    • Alice says:

      @Stacy,

      I completely agree. I emailed Yesterday’s News telling them how much I like their cat litter (which I do), and they mailed us some nice coupons.

      • Jaime says:

        @Alice, My cats eat mostly Iams and when I sent Iams an email to tell them how pleased we were with it, they sent back several coupons! I’ve also got coupons from the P&G Brand Sampler and they’re sometimes in the newspaper inserts as well!

    • Heather says:

      @Stacy,
      As far as food goes, I am also clueless. The Sunday coupons only get you so far. But as far as heartworm, or any other medication etc. goes, I use Petmeds. They WILL price match to your vet or any other vet around that has a cheaper price.
      I called around to our local vets and found one that had VERY cheap prices, (tiny town vet) that I do not take my dog to, mind you, and got a price quote for the exact heartworm, and ear medication/earwash that I knew I needed (my dog has alot of ear issues) and called (you have to call them) Petmeds and let them know which vet you contacted – they will call to verify the price, but then they will match it for you. (I hope they still do this, as this was over a year ago I did it. But hey its worth a shot!)
      I saved probably over $80 or more for 7 months worth of his heartworm pill and medication!! That was HUGE for us!!
      Hope this helps a little bit 🙂

  • P&G brand sampler often has IAMS coupons you can request to be sent with your samples. The last one I got was worth $3 off and I found a large bag of IAMS on clearance at Target for $25. Still expensive but the price per pound was cheaper than Costco.

    This is something we struggle with too but the P&G coupons do help!

  • There is also a $3 off Iams P&G e-coupon available. Buy dog food at Safeway and get up to $6 off a bag if you have both coupons!

  • Eleanor says:

    Join the free customer rewards/perks programs through stores like PetCo & PetSmart. You’ll get store coupons to help with your savings. 🙂

    • Tammy says:

      @Eleanor,
      The Petco prgram is buy 10 bags get one free but only available on premium foods which Iams is not. They sell several other brands that are considered premium (better protein sources, less fillers, highly digestible ingredients) for about the same price as Iams.

  • Colleen says:

    I have a very dear friend with an 80lbs pitbull. She actually makes his food for him. It might take and extra step but in the long run for her it is cheaper than kibble. Every couple of days she makes a big ‘stew’ of white and sweet potatoes, carrots, onion celery, garlic, and chicken necks/livers. She gets the necks and livers for a pence at the butcher because for most it’s really just scrap. The vet told her it was a good mix because it is most likely what he would be eating in nature anyway. ‘Petey’ seems to love it and is a very happy healthy boy!

    Good Luck!

  • Laurie says:

    How exciting to see a question like this! I read your blog daily and have never commented before but I just can’t resist!

    As an animal physiologist I just can not stress enough the importance of maintaining a high quality food diet for your pet. While IAMS is not an ideal product, it is better than the “bargain brands” you will find at places like Walmart (Old Roy brand is about as bad as you can get).

    These foods contain a majority of “filler” which bulks up the food for consumption purposes but has little to no nutritional value and wreaks HAVOC on your pets digestive system. A dog’s intestines were not made to handle these complicated grains and bulk products. This is often why dogs will itch or have runny stool.

    While I understand you made a personal sacrifice to stay home with your family, your dog shouldn’t be punished for that decision. I see the only option as cutting back in another part of your budget to find the income to afford a high quality dog food. The Pet Savings site is a good option to find coupons and sales.

    The ideal dog food should contain a single protein and single grain, such as Sweet Potato and Venison or Duck and Potato. Although you’ll find these to be a higher cost than your IAMS product.

    • Dawn says:

      @Laurie, GREAT comment!! I’ve learned a few things here & I hope others did too!! We have 4 dogs & 1 has an itching problem, thanks!

    • Tammy says:

      @Laurie,
      To expand on this post, when you feed your pet a highly digestible food, it will take less food to fill it up so the cost per serving will probably be only slightly higher than what you are currently paying. The best bonus for you, dogs who eat less and digest more of what they eat produce less waste! The food she was referring to sounds like Natural Balance.

      • Desire' H. says:

        @Tammy,
        They eat less and poop less! That’s a win-win situation all around. Best yet, its healthier for them! If Laurie hadn’t posted this info about dog food, I would have. Thanks, Laurie for educating!

  • Anna in IL says:

    If you have a vet school in your area, you might put a “wanted” ad on Craigslist. At least several years ago, pet food companies gave each student a large bag of food every month, to build relationships. Some students found that they had an excess and were willing to share.

  • JennyM says:

    Pet Care- What are you using for flea preventive? We used to use a much pricier brand, but have since switched to Hartz. We also make our own dog biscuits- the kids love to do this as they can cut them out- I save bacon/hamburger grease to make them with and the dog loves them.
    Have you checked into the local humane society/petco for vaccination? Sometimes ours offers low costs than our vet.
    We do buy our heartworm preventive from the vet- our pup was form the humane society and we found that he did have heartworm-8 months after we got him. The company ended up paying for his treatment- 1,000 plus as we had bought and used their heartworm preventive.
    Also some petstores do offer a free bag after you buy 12 or so there- its typically like your petco/ or local stores that offer this deal- Im not sure how their prices compare to where you typically buy.
    Also, dont switch- you’re absolutely right with pet food- you dont want junk. our dog has been fairly healthful with that. He also gets fiber cereal every day per the recommendation from our vet as he was prone to infections and he hasn’t gotten any since.

    • Kelly says:

      @JennyM,

      What is your dog biscuit recipe??

      • Nicole says:

        @Kelly, Kelly, the dog recipe that I use and my dog LOVES is

        2 cups flour
        1/2 cup corn meal
        3 tsp oil
        2/3 cup liquid (you can use water, broth, or blenderized leftovers)
        1 egg

        I add the rice we have leftover from meals. I don’t blend that.

        Mix on low and add more liquid or flour as need to make a dough. Roll out to about 1/2″ thick. Use cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 30-45 min (depends on size) until golden brown. Let cool, air dry for 24 hours to harden. Freeze or refridgerate. I hope your dog likes these too! Mine waits at the fridge for his treats! 🙂

      • Nicole says:

        @Kelly, I only use the 3 tsp of oil, I don’t use bacon or hamburger grease, I am guessing that if you wanted you could use that instead of the oil. I usually use broth or boullion for the flavoring of the liquid. I don’t think that you can really mess up this recipe. My dog loves whatever way I make them. He waits at the oven when I cook them. 🙂

    • DeAnna says:

      @JennyM, Please don’t advocate using Hartz products- there have been so many deaths because of people trying to save a buck that I’d feel guilty not saying something. The EPA is even trying to get the products off the market! I’m glad you are lucky, but it’s not worth saving a few bucks if it harms your pet. I buy frontline online in bulk and it actually comes out cheaper than buying the hartz poison. Check out this website for why Hartz is dangerous- I once bought the stuff for my cat, who died within hours of using it, after going into a seizure.

      http://www.hartzvictims.org

      • charlene says:

        @DeAnna, I have been a vet tech for 7 years and we see many cases were pets get sick or die from hartz products. If you are going to use them please follow the directions carefully. It is very easy to overdose your pet. Never use on puppies or kittens.

        • Danielle says:

          @charlene, My friend just had this happen to her dog. He went into a seizure and was foaming at the mouth. It ended up costing her so much in vet bills. She was very lucky that her dog did not die. I would rather cut the medication out then use such a dangerous and inferior product.

      • Faith says:

        I also wouldn’t recommend Hartz because of seeing animals overdosed and ended up with very serious complications and death. 1800Petmeds and costco.com often sell Frontline or Advantage cheaper than your vet. You can call your veterinarian to see if they have any promotions, like buy 6 months get one free too. Shop around for the best price, just make sure you are getting the real thing. There are many scams on the internet.

        • Laura says:

          @Faith,
          Speaking of scams on the internet,
          1800 Petmeds is a scam. My vet would not send in my dog’s heartworm prevention prescription to them himself but had to call me to explain why. Their products may have the name brand on them but may not be anything in them at all because they can come from out of the country. Only the heartworm prevention through your vet will insure that if your pet gets heartworms while on it that the pet will be covered for treatment.

    • Lorie says:

      There was a HUGE news story in our area just last week about the dangers of using flea/tick preventions that are not considered prescription. According to the news report from our local Fox news, it has caused several deaths and there is a possibility of it being regulated more severely in the future. I had bought some Hartz on closeout at CVS a few months ago and it was still in date. I’ve used it once on my 2 cats, but I have since thrown it away and will use the kind from the vet although it is a lot more expensive. I do find that I do not need to use it every month on my cats during the winter since they are inside-only cats and NEVER go outside. I do use it every month in the summer in case we are bringing fleas from the outside. As far as catfood, I try to look for the best deals I can with coupons. Sometimes Food Lion has HUGE bags of name-brand, nice cat food for buy one get one free and if you just buy one, its half price. This is what I am currently still using and we bought it 2 weeks ago!

  • Antonella says:

    well my “stepdog” (my fiancè’s pitbull, a medium weight race) simply doesn’t eat dog food.
    She’s 11 years old with great teeth and fur. She eats stale bread (hard as a rock) in the mornings and a mix of boiled rice, veggies and meat at nights. I usually buy special grind meat for dogs at the butcher’s (weird cuts, entrails etc, they’re cheap and nutritious), use ends of vegetables or wilted but still good ones (not onion/garlic as it’ss bad for dogs, like chocolate which is a poison! beware of kids trying to be kind to the doggie! dogs love chocolate but is deadly!) and the cheapest rice I can find.
    I cook everything together and put i in the freezer in portions.
    Hope this helps.

    And look out for specials at the vet’s for yearly appointments.

  • Melanie says:

    Switch to a cheap food and mix with an egg everyday or every other day. The savings on the dog food will far outweigh the cost of the eggs and your dog will receive the health benefits of real food. I am not quite sure IAMS is as good of food as P&G’s marketing is making it out to be.

    • susan loeffler says:

      Melanie,

      I agree. Iams was a good food many years ago, but not so good now. One thing we recently found out is that corn is not a good ingredient in dog food as some dogs are allergic to it. Imagine our surprise when we read the ingredients on Hills Science Diet and found it was the first ingredient. Our old dog is now on Kirklands brand which is cheaper and has better ingredients (or at least I think it does after my research). Dogs are expensive!

    • Andrea Q says:

      Ask your vet about feeding raw eggs to dogs. There’s a lot of mixed information out there, but my sister’s vet feels that dogs shouldn’t get more than one raw egg per week. (My sister makes all of her own dog food which is mostly chicken, rice and vegetables.) The egg white blocks absorption of an important nutrient.

    • Madison says:

      I’m going to school to be a CVT right now and continuing after to become a DVM and I would dissagree with this. If you do switch to a “cheap” food mix the best one out is Purina One. Just make sure to slowly mix the foods and make it a gradual transition. I HIGHLY advise you NOT to put an egg in with the food unless it’s maybe once a month. It can help my the dogs coat nicer but your also risking the animals health since raw egg can carry salmonella. This would be much pricier to fix than a good bag of dog food. Salmonella is zoonotic also so if the dog were to get it, you may get it as well.

      • Jen says:

        @Madison,
        Thank you for speaking up Madison. I have been a Veterinary technician for 7 years and it’s scary what is out there. Everyone needs to know that there are NO regulations where pet food or many products are concerned. Anyone can put anything in food and sell it without any repercussions. Stick with a high-quality brand and you will spend less on vet bills in the end because you will avoid health problems that come with cheap food (including hyperthyroidism, obesity, liver disease, and kidney failure). Purina One is the best low-cost food on supermarket shelves. Also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not put your pet on any Hartz products. I would rather you not use any heartworm/flea/tick preventative at all than use that. I have seen severe reactions to this in MANY animals, including rash, hair loss, seizures, and death.
        Our pets are our babies and they trust us to take care of them, but we also have to put our family’s health and budget ahead of their needs sometimes. Just do it wisely and seek the advice of people that are in the profession. For me this is not just a career, it is a passion.

      • Gwen says:

        @Madison,

        The actual chance that an egg contains Salmonella is low–like 0.003%. Eggs purchased from a quality company will increase the chances of having quality hens that aren’t allowed to live in “dirty” quarters.

    • Melanie says:

      @Melanie,

      I’m replying to my own post, how strange is that? :o) I do realize feeding eggs to dogs is quite controversial. Like anything anymore in this information age, everything you read and hear seems to conflict. Just wanted to follow-up with a bit of info. from a site I find to be pretty balanced with their studies/info. It might be helpful to someone.

      http://www.westonaprice.org/Trends-in-Home-Prepared-Diets-for-Pets.html

      No one wants their pets to suffer health problems resulting from what they’ve been fed, but I sometimes wonder if the almighty dollar is more behind the push to feed dog foods rather than “real food”. The cereal makers were behind the big push to make people scared of eating eggs for breakfast — could it be that dog food companies are behind the info./studies scaring people out of feeding their dogs regular foods? When most Americans were farmers, what did they eat before bagged dog food came along? Just some “food” for thought – no pun intended. :o)

      • Tammy says:

        @Melanie, As more health research is done, for humans and for pets, we can learn how to lengthen our lives and theirs, there are as many nutritional needs for pets as there are for people. Certain breeds/sizes of dogs need special diets to keep them healthy and happy, this is fact and not the almighty dollar. While feeding them nutrious homemade meals may not be “bad” for your pet, research needs to be done to ensure your pet is getting proper nutrition.

  • Michelle says:

    Our pet store has a “ripped bags” corner where they sell just that 🙂 at seriously reduced prices. Probably missing about 1o nuggets of food and they sell it for 1/4 of the original price.
    We have cats so I don’t know dog specifics but we switched out cats to Aldi’s brand cat food and they are doing great (their coats looks awesome) at half the price that we used to pay for cat food. And we have a cat who had previously had to eat sensitive stomach food so it’s still pretty decent food (there is a ton of stuff he can’t eat).

  • Amanda Myers says:

    We switched from Iams to Purina One, which seems to be a high quality food but at least a little cheaper. Purina One goes on sale pretty often and I often see coupons. In fact, I used 3 coupons valued at $3 each last week and Petsmart used them all towards one bag. I saved $9 on one bag! If you do switch- SLOWLY begin mixing the two types of food together, or your dog may not eat it at first.

    Another way that we actually save is by buying “tough” brand toys. Our dog is 70 lbs. and he’ll chew through a $5 toy in a day. Buying a $10-15 dollar toy will last MONTHS rather than hours!

    The last thing we do is tear up the puppy treats. We break them into smaller pieces so that they last much longer.

  • Andrea Q says:

    I would stick with Iams. As other people have said, P&G regularly offers coupons and freebies. If you have enough room in your budget, buy a second Sunday paper on the weeks that it contains Iams coupons.

  • Kathleen says:

    We use IAMS as well. We have had really good luck with our local grocery store (Price Chopper) as they put out their own coupons for Iams which can be stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon. The last time I bought it there, it was on sale, and I doubled a manufacturer’s ($3 off to $6 off) combined with a PC ($3off) and it was a bag on sale for $14! a smaller bag but brought the unit price down to the cheapest I’ve gotten it for.
    BJs wholesale club puts out coupons for Iams that can be stacked with a manufacturer’s as well. The best advice I have is look for sales, combine with coupons, and stock up. The dog food doesn’t expire quickly. Oh- and keep an eye on the unit price. You can often do well buying a smaller bag with a higher value coupon.

  • Lori says:

    We have a Maltese so she needs regular haircuts. Where we live, one haircut for her costs about $45 plus tip. However, my parents live in a much more rural area and to get her hair cut there it’s only $26 plus tip. Almost half price! So, our little Reese gets to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s every few months for a visit and a haircut. 🙂

  • Kristine says:

    We budget $40/month in our envelope for our dog (he is an adult Husky, about 65 pounds). Although, this month we are going to lower that to $30/month and see how we do!

    We use this for his food, vet care (check ups – if he had a major issue I don’t think the envelope would cover it), heartworm meds and flea meds. We don’t usually have all of the expenses in the same month so we just keep rolling his envelope and it accrues quickly! Then we have it when the “big bills” (why is heartworm/flea medicine so spendy!?) come along.

    We use Iams too, and my target price is around $30 or less for a 40lb bag. I usually wait until they go on sale at Petco (every couple of months or so). I usually can get a $5/$25 Petco coupon from the mail/newspaper by then. I also use a P&G coupon – although in my area it is usually $1/1. Plus, like the previous commenter said, you acrue points towards a free bag by buying at the same store (although, I always seem to be just shy of my free bag before the end of the year!)

    Sometimes you can also find a good catalina deal at the grocery store on Iams (although you really have to crunch the numbers b/c often it is still more expensive). Then I try and be sneaky and work it into our grocery budget for the week 🙂

    I rarely ever buy treats. I request all of the free samples or wait until I can get them free on some kind of deal. I got a bunch of rawhides after Christmas this year when the candy cane shaped ones were 50% off….those are his favorite shape anyway so it worked great! We also have a family that gives him a little gift for Christmas too – so they usually will buy him a new toy/rawhide/bag of treats for Christmas.

    I understand where you are! He was our baby too before the kids came along. We used to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy toys for him, etc.

    Good luck!

  • Kate says:

    Be careful about switching flea meds. I work at a vet and see a lot of pets come in with neuro damage due to Hartz and sargentz flea and tick meds. They don’t monitor the ingredients and are really harmful. I recommend buying flea meds in bulk. Its a little more expensive but you usually get 1-2 doses for free : ) Also I have two cats & when ever I see their food on sale I buy quite a few bags then I don’t have to buy any until I see it on sale again!

  • jennie a says:

    Okay, dont laugh or think I am crazy….

    We shop at petsmart and buy Euknauba (sp?) for our 2 shih tzus.
    Pet Smart had a Promo where you could get a $5 off Coupon in the 6lb bags. When they would go on sale for 6.99 or 7.99 I would open the bag dig out the coupon and buy the food. I ALWAYS buy the bags I open! Just sayin… So I would get a great dog food for really cheap…

    My 13 year old step daughter told her reading class about that…LOL They think i am interesting to say the least….

    • Cara D says:

      @jennie a, That really doesn’t seem like an ethical way to use the coupons… 🙁

      • jennie a says:

        @Cara D,

        What is not ethical about it? I buy the product and use the coupon. There is no rule that says if you purchase the product you can’t use the coupon. That is kind of what it is there for. As a matter of fact, many people do the same thing with the glade scented oil coupons…. Open the package get the coupon by the product with the coupon. Would it make you feel better if I bought 1 package for 7.99 and took the coupon out then buy another with the coupon and repeat the process? This way would cause the cashier and myself many unneeded transactions and work. No shame in the coupon game!

        • Cara D says:

          @jennie a, I just think that it’s fairly obvious if a coupon is hidden inside a bag of food that you are not meant to use it to buy that bag. It’s meant to be used on a future purchase of the same food. If they wanted you to use it on that bag they’d stick it to the outside, like so many companies do. Obviously…

  • Michelle says:

    We have a friend that works for a vet at the front desk. She told us that they go through and inventory each month. They can’t sell what is expired so she has passed the expired bags of cat food (Science Diet) onto us and others that have fallen on hard times. You might contact your vet and see what they do with expired bags of dog food. They might even be willing to sell them at a reduced cost if not give them away since you do business with them.
    *These bags were not huge so we were able to use them rather quickly. The expiration date was no more than a week out of date.*

  • Kathye says:

    Hello~
    Great question. I went through a week+ long search for the best food when we got another large breed dog. I wound up getting so quilt ridden I started buying holistic dog food for my pups. They reacted poorly. Loose stool and lazy. All dogs are different and keep in my this is just my opinion. I just use Purina One and all the dogs eat it well. Nice poopies not alot of them. Less food required per serving . And it isn’t generic brand and it isn’t High end.
    If a dog was in the wild. IT WOULD eat all the things (bi-product, beaks and feet) that we gross out about. It would not be turning down food searching for foo foo organic fruit and veggies.. Right?????
    Plus I think I am the only anti-IAMS u

  • Kristie says:

    Try your local feed mill. They have quality food for all types of animals (including dogs) at a great price. You do have to buy bulk (25 to 50 lbs), but the food does not go bad so why not? Plus, I feel like I am helping out a small business when I shop at our feed mill. It is so much more personal than the large chain stores.

    • Andrea Q says:

      Pet food will go bad if is improperly stored. Keep the bag tightly closed and store it like you would human food. Sorry to be gross, but I’ve seen maggots in dog food before 🙁

    • Kathryn says:

      @Kristie, If you don’t have an actual feed mill near your home, you can try a farm-supply or feed store. They often have better prices on animal food than pet stores do.

  • Ann B says:

    Our dog is on Science diet. For a while, we were able to get it from our nephew who was in vet school for $5 per 40 lb bag.
    Now, I usually wait for a sale/coupon from PetSmart, but still usually pay about $40 for a 40 lb. bag.
    He is 45 pounds and a 40 lb. bag lasts us about 3 months. I was wondering if dogs go through cheaper food faster??? I’ve heard this, and was wondering if it was true. To me, $40 every 3 months for dog food isn’t too bad, if it keeps him healthy.

    • Madison says:

      The more expensive foods have a higher amount of calories and fiber to help them feel fuller longer so they don’t need to eat as much. Cheap foods tend to just have empty calories leaving the animal wanting more food and feeling hungry faster. I have my pets on Science Diet as well, if you go to the website you can sign up for the 3 bag challenge and they give coupons for 5$ off each bag I believe. Pairing it with a sale at Petco and with the coupons I earn from them already it makes it seem not too bad since the food last me a few months also.

    • Marnie says:

      @Ann B,
      It’s so true that cheap food goes faster! When our dog (75 lb German Shepherd) started on adult food, we went through bag after bag of Purina Dog Chow so fast, and her “droppings” were HUGE! We had to swtich to a premium dog food (Purina Pro Plan) at the advice of our vet, which costs more, but she eats so much less, and her “droppings” are so small for a big dog! Easier clean up! She is so healthy at 8 years old. now, and not at all overweight. We had to switch from the Dog Chow, because she kept getting a belly rash, and was having weird bowel issues. After switching-no problems EVER! I totally am sold on the premium foods-that huge bag lasts us at least three months! For a large breed dog! I also write for coupons. Sometimes, the pet stores have freebies when you buy the food, like biscuits, plastic food containers, etc.

      • Danielle says:

        @Marnie, I recently switched from Purina One to Purina Pro Plan and have really noticed a difference in my dogs energy levels and their coats look amazing. It’s not that much more than the Purina One and they have $5off coupons in the paper sometimes.

  • Kalla says:

    I know how you feel… we have three dogs. The best I can do is when there is a sale stock up. We use purina and Target every once in a while has buy 2 get a -$5 Gift card. When there are coupons this can be a good deal.

    Also about switching food… maybe its just my dogs… but we have switched them so much over the last three years. First they were on Science Diet, then Beneful then I said screw it those are way too much and just went to Purina but I did get over 50 bags of Chefs Michael dog food for free about a year ago. We are still using them but I normally mix it with a regular bag of purina that way it stretches my money!

    • Jaime says:

      @Kalla, Target has had the Iams cat food on Buy 2 get a $5 gift card a few times in the last few months. Maybe they do with the Iams dog food also.

  • Kris says:

    I buy my Frontline and heartworm meds at http://www.JoesPetMeds.com. I highly recommend them to everyone as it’s the least expensive price I can find for name-brand meds. They do ship from Australia, but the shipping isn’t pricey and the package arrives pretty quickly.

    • Laura says:

      @Kris,

      I’ve also used JoesPetMeds.com, not for myself, but I’ve orded Frontline Flea & Tick for both Cats & Dogs. Tons cheaper! 1st order took awhile to receive, but reorder came very quick.

  • nicole says:

    Stick with IAMS. It is a higher quality dog food and you actually don’t have to feed them as much because it doesn’t have all the fillers in it. I actually found a great company to buy flea medicine from it is, Petsuppliesnet.com. There are the cheapest company out there for medications.

  • Joy says:

    We don’t use Iams, but frequently get coupons. If you want them, I will be happy to send them your way. Just email me.

    • Desire' H. says:

      @Joy,

      Ditto! I’d be happy to save pet food coupons (such as Iams) for anyone interested. I get 4 Sunday papers thrown in my driveway every week…..why, I don’t know, but I appreciate all the coupons!

  • Cathy says:

    Even the “better” foods are still not ideal, since the heating and extrusion process messes with the proteins. A raw food diet is theoretically best, but messy and inconvenient. We’ve compromised after lots of research and trying both, and now do a homemade food. It’s not a lot cheaper for us since I use good-quality meats in it, but if you’re not opposed to storebought ground beef it could be made inexpensively. This recipe is my jumping off point: http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2007/06/homemade-dog-food.html We try to keep our dog wheat-free since it’s a common allergen for dogs, so I sub extra rice or a cup of millet for the pasta in this recipe. It’s pretty simple and feeds our 67 lb dog for about 2 weeks.

  • Kellie says:

    I have one dog and one cat, and between their food, kitty litter, and health care, we easily spend $75+ per month. We use Iams for both, and I’ve been able to request coupons from the Iams site. I think you can only request once per quarter, but they are high value – $3.00 off. I also frequently get Target coupons for Iams and Tidy Cat, so by combining the manufacturer and Target coupons with sales, I save the most. Our vet also carries a generic heartworm pill, that usually has a $5 rebate if you buy 12 at a time. Still expensive, but it helps some!

  • Lele says:

    A store in our area thats a chain “Quality Farm and Fleet” which is geared toward farms carrying horse/cow items including antibiotics etc. has a rabies clinic twice a year (for cats and dogs) and for $5 I can get my cat shots. I can also buy from them without a prescription the prescription strength cat flea treatment, which is well worth the money! If you buy a year supply it’s even cheaper. Pet’s in our house are under an entertainment expense, they do cost money!

  • Ashlee says:

    We have kitties, but no dogs. Cat litter is easy to save with through coupons and sales. We use a more expensive litter because it is fits well with our lifestyle (i.e. I forget to scoop it everyday). But if I can’t find the litter on sale or coupons are hard to come by I mix it with a less expensive litter and get similar results.

    I really agree with other people and sticking with expensive food. We usually only buy cheaper food for the stray kitty outside and if we forget to pick up the better kind. I actually find getting specialty foods at Petsmart to be cheaper. They have high quality brands that are less well known to IAMS, but are just as good. And they do have sales once in a while.

  • Sheri says:

    Target.com has $2 off snausages dog treats and coupon.com has $1 off one bag of snausages. The bacon and egg snausages treats at my target were $2.36, you have to buy two for the deal making it 36 cents a bag!!! Target.com also has a cat treat coupon right now that I often find a manuf coupon to go with it making them almost free.

  • Heather says:

    We just recently switched to Iams after having our 55lb, Pit Bull mix on Purina and we are using less food to maintain the same body weight. Because there are less fillers, he doesn’t need as much. That is helping us save money right there.

    I also shop at Target for his treats and stock up when a sale comes along that combines Target Qs and Manu Qs.

    Someone else mentioned buying a large amount of Chef Michael’s. I did that as well, but I use it for his treats. He loves it and it was an inexpensive way to treat – grab a couple pieces of kibble and he’s happy.

    Recently, our Petsmart has had the 48lb bags of Iams marked down lower than the 40lb bags so I bought two of those using coupons. It was a lot at one time, but my husband and I don’t have any kids so we have the leeway… but we’re always trying to trim so I do search out bargains.

    For toys, check amazon first and use swagbucks if you can. I had been dying for one of those FUR-minator tools, but they were $40 – one morning, DSM posted that they were $19 on amazon so I bought one with $15 in SB. I LOVE it and it saves me $40 on those same “treatments” from Petsmart. I still won’t trim his nails, but at $10/time, I’m getting a little braver! 🙂

    I do have one of the wellness plans from the vet – it always scared me that something would come up, but I like the idea of buying my heartworm meds and that online… I hadn’t thought of that and it would save me $25/mo!!!

  • Christine says:

    We have a 10.5 year old beagle and he’s been on Pedigree since he was 1 years old. He still acts like a 2 year old though! He barks and runs around like he’s still a pup. We were giving Iams when he was 0-1 years old but switched to Pedigree when he was 1. He loves the food and chows down like there’s no tomorrow. I think that’s how beagles are in general.

    But we get our Pedigree food from BJ’s. They usually cost $21.99 for a 52 lb bag and usually there’s a $2-3 coupon out for Pedigree in the Redplum inserts making it only $19 for 52lb bag. I haven’t found it cheaper than that elsewhere even when there’s a sale. We stick to the dry dog food as I think that’s better for their teeth.

  • Angela says:

    This might seem like a no brainer, but feed your dog the correct portion. My husband sometimes gives our dog more or the kids feed the dog and don’t give the right portion. Over time this could really add to our bill.

  • Jessica Riggins says:

    I agree with those who said switch to Purina One or Pro-Plan. This was my (very well respected) vet’s opinion. He did not like Iams anymore due to some recent quality changes. I have also found that some discounted stores (we have pet supplies plus) will take competetors coupons-one plus a manufact. coupon, so that helps a little-usually can get $5 off a bag plus sale.

  • Suzette says:

    I would NEVER fed my dogs cheap food! That includes just about anything that you can buy at a grocery store or at Walmart. I am unemployed and I cut back on my own grocery budget before I’d ever feed Purina or any ‘over the counter’ dog food. I spend $50 for a 35 pound bag of food. One bag lasts me 12-13 days.

    Do research on ingredients in dog food. Take that list with you when you go to the store. You will be surpised at how many of them are filled with junk that dogs shouldn’t even eat.

    I buy all of my dog treats during the Kmart doublers event. I never pay more than $1 for a package of dog treats. This week I’ve already gotten several boxes free.

    • DeAnna says:

      @Suzette, I agree. My rule of thumb is if it says Science Diet on it or is something you can buy at Walmart, we don’t buy it. I think people who follow dogfoodanaylsis.com suggestions would be shocked at how ignorant people are when it comes to animals. It breaks my heart everytime I see someone put a bag of kibbles n bits in their cart, or use hartz meds on their pets. gaw!

  • melissa says:

    I hate to burst any assumptions about Iams, but it’s actually NOT good dog food. Most pet foods that you can buy in the grocery store or places like Target or Walmart are not actually “good” for pets, no matter the difference in price. The really good dog foods are ones where actual meat (not by products, or any type of meat “meal”) are at least the first two ingredients, and these mostly can only be bought at specialty pet shops. With that said, I think you could (gradually) replace the Iams with any cheaper dog food – because there’s very little nutrition in even the priciest bag of Iams.

  • Stephanie says:

    Our cat has gotten a much more sensitive stomach as she aged and so I can no longer switch brands around for the cheaper ones since her food is now vet prescribed. We save money by making her toys ourselves and using coupons for the cat litter and buying it on sale.

  • Heather says:

    As far as food goes, I am also clueless. The Sunday coupons only get you so far. But as far as heartworm, or any other medication etc. goes, I use Petmeds. They WILL price match to your vet or any other vet around that has a cheaper price.
    I called around to our local vets and found one that had VERY cheap prices, (tiny town vet) that I do not take my dog to, mind you, and got a price quote for the exact heartworm, and ear medication/earwash that I knew I needed (my dog has alot of ear issues) and called (you have to call them) Petmeds and let them know which vet you contacted – they will call to verify the price, but then they will match it for you. (I hope they still do this, as this was over a year ago I did it. But hey its worth a shot!)
    I saved probably over $80 or more for 7 months worth of his heartworm pill and medication!! That was HUGE for us!!
    Hope this helps a little bit

  • Patty says:

    We go to Chuck and Don’s and are a member of their buyer’s program. We get $5 off coupons once a month, plus we feed a food where you get a bag free after so many purchased. Another good place to get food is http://www.petfooddirect.com/, they routinely send 15% off coupons to your email. You can use Neem oil for flea & tick prevention as well, that’s generally cheaper than Advantage or Frontline.

  • Rebekah says:

    Just a tip – check your local Humane Society & see what services they offer. We get our dog’s flea medicine & heartworm pills there for MUCH cheaper than anywhere else I’ve found. They also have a clinic once a week for routine vaccines – it’s super fast & you just pay the $10 for the vaccine, no charge for an office visit.

    We have had to take our dog to the vet a couple times for a more serious problem – but just remember that all vets do NOT charge the same prices. We’ve found a low cost clinic nearby with a vet I really trust that’s been a huge blessing. Paying $25 for a visit as opposed to the $40 charged by other places makes a big difference.

    Just like anything else – you have to shop around. Petsmart is not the only place to purchase supplies & services for pets!

  • Rachel says:

    I find that PetsMart is typically cheaper than our grocery store, Target, and Walgreens. They also have big sales on pet food about once a quarter. I’m also stocking up on dog food cans this week at KMart, using double coupons. I’ve saved up quite a bit of B1G1 coupons for canned food, which I am getting free this week.

  • Mandy says:

    My best advice is to check out a warehouse store. We have a HUGE boxer that is almost 3 years old. She goes through a giant bag of food every month. We have found a food that she does well with at Sam’s Club. I have found Sam’s to be far cheaper than pet food stores, or even Walmart/Target. I can’t remember if they carry Iams or not, but I know they do have a pretty good selection premium brands available. I imagine that Costco would be the same. We store the food in a large garbage can with a tight lid (with the food still in the original bag) in the garage to keep bugs out of it. I also purchase her treats and rawhide bones at Sam’s, too. And a few weeks ago, I picked up a new huge pillow for her for $26 or so.

  • Jen says:

    I’d argue that you should switch from Iams to a higher-quality dog food. While Iams has a reputation of being a “high-quality” food, it’s really junk. Read the ingredient list…do you see many recognizable ingredients on there? Do you know what “by products” are? (Hint: Skin & bones & fat & gristle & tumors & all of that other stuff that you’d never feed yourself or your family.)

    Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s “veterinarian recommended.” Ask your vet how many nutrition classes he or she had in veterinary school. Most only have one or two, and they’re sometimes sponsored by a pet food manufacturer. If your vet is completely honest with you, he will probably tell you that he doesn’t know that much about nutrition (and if he does, he’d probably steer you away from Iams).

    I had two cats (unrelated) who were fed Iams exclusively. Both came down with cancer. An animal with cancer can cost thousands of dollars to treat. Once I started talking to other pet owners whose pets had cancer, I discovered that Iams was one of the most commonly fed foods. It’s impossible to prove the cause and effect, but I decided at that point that I wasn’t going to feed my animals that junk any longer.

    For 6 years now I’ve fed my cats what’s known as a super-premium food. There are lots of great brands out there, and they don’t cost that much more than Iams. But if you read the ingredient labels, you’ll see the names of ingredients you recognize, like free-range chicken, blueberries and sweet potatoes. I directly attribute my animals’ great health to the quality of food they’re fed. (And, incidentally, one of my cats is now a 6-year cancer survivor, which is almost unheard of.) I’m not alone in my advocacy of super-premium foods…most pet owners who feed super-premium foods will never go back to cheaper stuff, and will tell you the slightly higher cost pays dividends because their animals are healthier.

    You won’t find superpremium foods at your vet’s office, grocery stores or large-chain pet stores. Instead, look for a locally owned pet store. These are the types of places that sell super-premium foods. The owner usually works behind the counter and is knowledgeable about the food he or she sells. The owner can point you to one of the less-expensive brands that’s also more filling, so your dog eats less.

  • You could also start supplementing their dog food with your leftovers. We give ours lots of little bites of things, and they always get to “pre-wash” the dishes. I find that after a meal, there are always some people’s plates with a few bites of food leftover (especially if there are kids), and it is wasteful to throw it away, so whey not give it to the dog(s). If you do a lot of cooking, there are many things that are less healthy for us to eat that the dogs love, like chicken skin and fat trimmings from meat.

    You can even find lots of “free” toys / treats instead of paying big bucks at the pet store. I actually just put a post up this morning on my blog about my homemade Kong’s.
    http://www.boymeetsfood.com/2010/04/pb-recycling/
    I will sometimes rinse out an empty milk carton, and they LOVE to chew on it, and kick it all over the house.

  • hannah says:

    I scour ebay for free bag coupons. I feed purina pro plan selects fish and rice formula. It is pretty pricey, but my dog has allergies. I can usually buy a coupon for about $20 for a $40+ bag. This does not go on sale much so combining sales and coupons would not net me this much of a savings.

  • Madison says:

    Make sure to check your dog food companies site for coupons, keep an eye out for sales at multiple stores to compare prices. I try to buy the larger bags since it tends to be cheaper if you compare prices by the ounce. Sticking with a high quality food your animal shouldn’t go through food as fast as a cheaper brand. I don’t recommend making your own food, the food you’ve been buying has been tested and contains key nutrients homemade food may not. Petco gives 5$ reward bucks whenever you spend 100$ at there store and it doesn’t have to be at one time. Also, a lot of times the will give a 10% off coupon with your next purchase on the reciept. Check the website to see what deals and coupons they may have online also. You can also search around to see if there are any dog food pantrys around. In my area there is a company that sponsors a doggy food pantry once a month where families can get a bag of food for free.
    I personally wouldn’t order any flea, tick, or heartworm preventative offline. Some can be expired and from other countries that don’t have the same testing regulations as the FDA or USDA which is why they can be so cheap. If your dog were to get heartworm the company may not cover the cost of treatment even if it was on their product unlike if you were to get heartgard from your vet.
    Hope this helps some. It’s not bad to try to save money, it can be hard making sure to do it the right way though. They aren’t just pets they’re a part of the family.

  • Kelly says:

    I used to work at an animal shelter and at a veterinary office as a veterinary assistant. One major lesson that I have learned is that each animal is different. I know dogs and cats that have lived to be 20 years old on “cheap food”, and ones that have died of cancer at 6 years old on the “premium food”.
    I personally, and the vet that i worked for also did this, is that we mixed food types. We both have pets that do not have particularly sensitive stomachs, so this worked for us. One big tip though, is to always transition a new food in slowly, a little bit at a time.
    Another thing you can do in terms of pet food is to ask your vet if they get any coupons, rebates or samples. We used to get LOADS of boxes of samples of Science Diet and Iams every month, and we would give them all away to whomever wanted them, even the homeless people off of the street. You can mix this into your food, or use as treats.
    I have also never spent more than 25 cents for a bag of cats treats, or more than $1 on a package of premium dog treats. Watch for sales matched with coupons, and even double coupon days to get free or cheap treats to stock up on. Just make sure that you check the expiration dates before buying and using, and store in a cool place out of the sun.
    Finally, it is never advisable to skimp out on veterinary care, but ask what is necessary. In many parts of the US, vaccinations for adult pets are recommended every 3 years instead of annually. Talk with your vet about your situation and see what is appropriate for your pet.

    • Karen Rucker says:

      @Kelly,

      I agree wholeheartedly! I have had pets who did very well on cheap Wal-mart brand food supplemented with table scraps. And my parents had a pet who had perpetual health problems fed exclusively on premium brands. A big factor is the breed of the pet. Our pets have always been mixed breed strays that we took in. They seem to thrive on the cheap stuff. Our friends and family have pure bred dogs who need a much higher quality of food.

      If you think about it, it’s natural selection at work. In the wild, the ability to live well on a poor diet would be the biggest factor in many offspring the animal has. But breeding a dog to look a certain way means that have a certain length tail or a certain color coat becomes the deciding factor on how likely they are to have offspring. Over time, you’ll breed an animal who has the outward appearance or behaviours that you want, but their health may have suffered in the process.

      If you’re looking to cheaply supplement your pet’s food, try boiling potato peels, chicken skin and fat, oatmeal, veggie trimmings, and eggs all together in a big pot. Pour it over their dry dog food and let it cool a bit before serving. The cost is only a few pennies a serving but it’s a cheap and healthy treat for them. Just be sure that you don’t feed them table scraps with bones or chocolate as both are serious health risks for most pets.

  • joanne says:

    We have a 15 yr old Australian shep mix that we have had since a puppy. She gets pedigree and does very well on it considering she is 15!! and I have never had to take her to the vet for any illness. I do give her daily milkbone type bones as she is constantly barking at me for them. Yes she is 15 so i give in!!!! She loves the chew eez rawhides that are chicken flavor. They are a bit pricey but she has very good teeth. We also have a nine year old Lhaso Apso and he eats the same way and so far we have had no problems with him either. I get the 40 or 44 lb bag and keep it in a huge plastic tub in the bottom of my pantry. I try and get a sale and if I have a coupon i use it. Walmart and target recently had it for $19 and I had a $2 coupon=$17 for 40 lbs. One other thing I do if give teme a bite of meat every now and then. If we eat steak they get a small piece. The same with chicken. I dont give them meat bones at the 15 yr old almost choked on a ham bone she took out of the garbage one year ! I rescued her just in time. Needless to say we fixed that problem so she could never get in the kitchen trash again. Hope this helps!!!

  • Stacie says:

    Healthwise by Natura is one of the high quality but affordable foods I have found

    http://www.naturapet.com/brands/healthwise.asp (there is a store locator on their website)

    also if you are near a Costco their Kirkland and Nature’s Domain brands are good food for a good price

  • Tammy says:

    When it comes to dog food I read labels! I carefully go through the labels as I would if I was buying for my own family. I insist on only feeding top quality food. The problem is that premium dog food prices kept going up each month. Out of desperation I took the label from our premium dog food an started looking at the labels at Costco to find a cheaper alternative. I was surprised when a label inspection of the Kirkland Signature Brand revealed that one for one it was the same as my premium brand for 50% of the cost. I have a dog who gets sick very easily from the “wrong” food but since the switch six months ago she has been as healthy as can be.

    • Lauren says:

      @Tammy,

      I was going to comment about Costco’s dog food also. We buy the lamb variety, and my dog loves it. It is much better than Iams (which I’m convinced only costs so much because they advertise the heck out of it- it is junk) We used to buy Eukanuba or Nutro Naturals, and the Costco brand is just as good, and half as expensive. Same with the cat food. My show Persian has been eating Kirkland instead of Royal Canin- and I think he looks even better! They both get raw eggs as treats occasionally, as I have chickens.

  • Coleen says:

    I would never feed my dog Iams or Purina, or anything else you can buy in Target, Walmart, Kmart or any grocery store. They’re so full of junk – the markup (based on what they actually pay for the ingredients) is ridiculous! Yes, my dog’s food costs over $50 a bag, but because there’s no junk in it, she only needs 1.5 cups a day (she’s 40 pounds). One bag lasts me months, sealed in an airtight container.

    Her treats are carrot sticks and blueberries, or applesauce, yogurt or mashed bananas frozen into a KONG toy.

  • Lisa says:

    We buy pet supplies/food at oour local farmer’s co-op. Most of the items they sell are much less expensive then a retail or pet store. I buy a 50 lb bag and store it in a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.

  • Sheila says:

    Stay away from food with these ingredients. http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=badingredients
    If the food has corn, by products or gluten, run away from it (this includes Iams, Purina, Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Pedigree).

    Buy food with little to no fillers, grain-free is prefered. If the dog is large and under the age of 2 years old, make sure you are feeding an “all life stages” grain-free, if you decide to go the grain-free route.

    Because the food has less fillers in it, you will feed less. There are less allergens, too so you can possibly make less trips to the vet. Not to mention, less injections of chemicals into the dog/cat if the food has low allergens.

    Check out http://www.dogfoodproject.com
    http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com
    http://www.petfoodratings.net/
    and http://www.dogaware.com

  • Laura says:

    We had issues with our cat many years ago, the vet claimed it was due to the food we we’re feeding her (Meow Mix) I switched to Purina One, her coat became shiney and we didn’t have any issues after that. Our cat is now 13.5 years old and still look great. Also, no coloring is added to the food, don’t really think about it until you have to clean up a hairball on light carpet, but the “red” dyes other foods use stained.

  • Patrice says:

    Ooo, ooo! I got this one! I usually go to the local feed store rather than Wal-Mart or Target. A lot of times they have a big bucket out front with free samples. A few years ago I was there and asked about the samples and they said that the company just sends them box after box of samples that they never even asked for and they really don’t want them (takes up too much space). So…every time I go in to buy horse feed, they also give me a big bag full of free dog food samples. Since we have a little dog, it’s been more than enough to feed him for free!

  • Renee says:

    I have purchased very good quality pet toys, collars and leashes at various Dollar stores. If we lose a toy or collar it’s no big deal – just buy another for $1!

  • Kandice says:

    We buy our Frontline and Heartworm at either discountpetdrugs.com or VetDepot.com. Depending on which brand you buy and how many you want, I would be sure to google the brand and size (3 -12 month supply) and check to see where is the cheapest place to get them is.

    Also before placing the order do another Google search for coupon codes for the place you are purcahsing them from. A lot of times you can get a % off as well as free shipping.

  • Laura says:

    I would be VERY wary of using a generic or store-brand pet food! Many of them have mostly “filler” ingredients, and those empty calories may fill tummies, but sure don’t build health, energy and strength. (My brother learned this lesson the hard way.) Before making a switch to a cheaper food, check with your vet to find out what to look for in a good, basic food for your pet: What should be the main ingredients and at what percentages? The content analysis is printed on the bag and can vary a lot between brands.

  • Stefanie says:

    Please do more research about the foods you’re (all of you!!) feeding. Check out dogfoodanalysis dot com. Purina One, Iams = 1 star foods. You could be buying Kirkland brand at Costco or their new Nature’s Domain food and feeding your dogs essentially a 4-5 star food for LESS money! Not to mention that over their lifetimes, it will be cheaper to feed them better foods and have a healthier, more well-behaved dog overall. Please reconsider. Iams is horrible, horrible food. Contains lots of fillers. It’s expensive, and for NO good reason.

  • Katie says:

    When we used to buy our dog food at the local feed store the man who worked there told us to look for pet food that contained animal meal, not animal by-product. He said that animal by-product is basically ground up beaks and hooves. Ick!! Also, avoid corn in pet food. Our golden retriever would not stop itching and the man at the feed store said that cheap pet foods made with a lot of corn release a lot of heat and irritate the skin. We switched from the cheap Walmart brand and no more itching!

    Tammy is right, Costco is a great spot to buy pet food. It is very reasonably priced. My husband did some researching and found that the Kirkland brand is the exact same as the more expensive brand we had been buying from the feed store.

  • Kaylene says:

    we have one dog and found the cheapest yet healthiest way to feed our Mastiff (95 lbs.) is Members mark at sams. about $18 for a 55 lb bag, which last us a month and 2 wks. We also feed him apples which he loves and give him Apple cidar vinger in his water, to help w/ fleas. Plus we have our yard treated too.

  • cmbcall@excite.com says:

    Be careful with the food you feed your dog — the first ingredient should be some kind of meat (not meat by-product or meat meal). For many, including premium brands like Science Diet, the first ingredient is corn by-products.

    We use Authority, which is carried exclusively by PetSmart. The price isn’t too bad and it comes in lamb or chicken variety. We use the lamb because our dog is prone to skin issues and a trainer suggested that a lamb based food could help with that.

    We also use Chef Michael’s as training treats.

  • Courtney says:

    We buy our Science Diet at Petsmart and they will frequently have $3 off store coupons taped to the bags, or they will give them to us at the register. Also, I check coupon clipping services (like thecouponclippers.com) often and if there are good pet food coupons, I load up on them. We have several dogs and cats and go through food fast, so we can stock up and not worry about it going bad. Same thing with treats – I stock up when I can get them free or almost free with coupons, or we just make our own. For very cheap toys, check Petsmart after holidays. They put all their Christmas, Halloween, etc. themed toys on clearance. The toys only cost a fraction of the original price, and our dogs really don’t seem to care if they’re playing with a Santa Claus-shaped tuggy toy in the middle of summer 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    I agree with not feeding junky dog food, but I don’t think that means it has to be expensive. We feed Costco’s Kirkland Chicken and Rice formula. It is $24 for a 40 pound bag and when I compared ingredients with much more expensive dog foods I found the Kirkland’s to be far superior. HEre are the ingredients and nutritional info:
    Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearl barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin E), egg product, beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, carrots, peas, kelp, apples, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

    Guaranteed analysis
    Crude protein 24% min
    Crude fat 16% min
    Crude fiber 4% min
    Moisture 10% min
    Calcium 1% min
    Phosphorus 0.8% min
    Zinc 200 mg/kg min
    Selenium 0.4 mg/kg min
    Vitamin E 150IU/kg min
    Omega-6 Fatty Acids 2.5% min
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids 0.4% min
    Glucosamine Hydrochloride 300 mg/kg

    If you do switch, do 75% Iams, 25% new food for 5 or so days, then go 50-50 for 5 or so days, then 75-25 for 5 days. You shouldn’t have any problems.

  • Tracy says:

    It’s great to see many other thoughtful dog owners out there!

    While I’m a long time raw feeder of my 4 dogs, I teach dog training classes and a lot of folks are asking about lowering their food costs after lay-offs or our state furloughs!

    I recommend 3 mid-range dog foods to folks through word of mouth of other dog professionals: Purina Pro Plan, Purina One and Diamond Naturals (which is also Kirkland Signatures).

    IMO, the lower quality foods are just fillers. They result in large, fluffy, smelly poops – I’ve seen that the higher quality food the less “waste” you are picking up out of the backyard everyday. Heck, maybe I’m just lazy but all 4 of mine (3 are 50 pounds) can use one pick-up bag everyday!

    One thing I do not skimp on is flea preventative. There have been a number of issues with cheaper brands including dogs having seizures and dying so I stick with the more expensive stuff that has been tested. But I see how far I can stretch both flea and heartworm meds. 6 weeks seems to work best.

    BigLots tends to have fairly good treats regularly and we’ve started making our own out of bits of pantry ingredients.

    For inexpensive vet care, price compare! Our local humane society and SPCA have vet clinics (including free spay and neuter!). Also, look at locally owned and operated vet offices. These folks are getting squeezed by the VCA corporation and are often cheaper.

    We also do some first aid at home rather than heading to the vet for every little thing. We also do preventative stuff like brushing teeth and doing a regular inspection of the dogs. Recently, we found a tumor that while it cost us a bit to remove – was cheaper and curative because we found it so soon!

  • Courtney says:

    One other thing I just thought of – if your pet is on any kind of nonprescription medication or supplement, check online for prices before you buy from your vet. Two of our dogs are on a nonprescription supplement for arthritis and we had been paying $98/bottle every few months from our vet. I finally got smart and checked online and found out I can get the exact same bottle from Amazon for half the price!

  • Amy says:

    we have 1 cat & budget $12/month for all toys/litter/food/vet appts…we take her to Petco or Petsmart for shots, they have a mobile vet unit that comes every few weeks and does shots super cheap!! $10 for a rabies shot!! you wait in line for over an hour, but it’s cheap!!

    I’m hoping to go way under budget this year because I picked up tons of free bag of purina cat food coupons and got her food for a year at just $12. A $130 value!

    I agree on the raw meat diet–it is best for pets–I read the book on it, just don’t want to spend the money 🙂

  • nancy says:

    Wow, some great posts already, I posted on how to frugally keep your pet smelling sweet without bathing so much – you can read it here: http://ragingbearranch.blogspot.com/2010/04/thrifty-frugal-tip-sweet-smelling-pets.html

    In addition, check with your local humane society or veterinarian to see if they have Vaccination clinics – these are usually reduced down to next to nothing to get the needed vaccinations.

    Do you buy chicken with skin only to pull the skin off and throw it out? That is a very easy way to put good fat in your dogs diet – put a blob of the fat in a bread bag and tie it off and repeat – you’ll have a bread bag that looks like sausage rolls – next time you are baking snip off one of the sections and bake that fat up into crinkly chicken fat strips ( you know the kind that you pay a fortune for in the pet store) and see if your dog just goes crazy for it!

    I am going to be doing a dog training post weekly with frugal ways that we save on dog care and supplies (we have 4 and 8 horses). I am a professional trainer and work with behavior modification as well so I’m looking forward to this new article each week and what we can do to help each other.

    Fan the major dog companies on their facebook pages, Follow them on Twitter and sign up for them on their websites. Hint: Set your dog up with a free e-mail account so all these go to him!

    Sometimes saving money means making the investment up front. I opened the savings account when Orange was offering the free $50.00 for signing up! So the account started off $50.00 ahead which we all know can decrease very quickly. Here is a post I wrote regarding my animals have their own bank account – Read it here: http://ragingbearranch.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-animals-have-bank-account.html

    Check us out we are always looking for safer, better, and frugal ways to save for our pets!

  • Strawberry says:

    My favorite way to save money on pet care is to groom my dog myself. I have a pomeranian so I have to brush him at least once every two days, and trim his hair every couple of weeks. Taking him to the groomers would cost me at least $40 and this way I save the money AND get to bond more with my dog (he definitely appreciates not having to be in a crate at the groomer’s for half the day, too)

  • Julie says:

    Iams is not a good quality food. You are better off spending the money on a better brand. Canidae is a good value for the quality. It costs a little more (though not much), plus once your dog gets used to eating more nutritious food, he will actually eat less since he is getting full faster. So, you will come out about even cost-wise or even save money as you’ll be buying fewer bags over time. (check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com)

    You can also find lots of great recipes online to make your own treats. That will save money and also be of much higher quality than anything in the store. You can make big batches of cookies and freeze them.

    • Idaho Jill says:

      @Julie, I use Canidae, too – and my dogs are 16 and 10. They are in great health. I also got my info from dogfoodanalysis.com – love that site!

    • Audrey says:

      @Julie,

      We use Canidae too and have been very pleased. It is not much, if any, more expensive than Wal-mart brands. No wheat or corn or fillers. We buy it at our local “Wag n Wash”. I’m not sure if that is a chain or not. They have a buy 12 get 1 free program, but in 1.5 years I think we’ve bought 4 bags. (He weighs 13 pounds). I recommend you look for it and compare it to what you are using now.

  • Cam says:

    I wrote a post on this a few weeks ago. Feel free to check it out. Our dog is huge and high maintenance! I know it’s hard to be frugal when it comes to the family pet! http://bit.ly/aiNNCV

  • Trish Sawyer says:

    Hi Crystal,

    My cat was a strictly Science Diet cat, but the cost doubled, and I couldn’t swing the cost. Thus, I buy a small bag of Science Diet, a small bag of a natural cheap food, and a medium bag of Iams. I also try to always use coupons. I spend less, and get 3 times the food. My cat loves, and so does my wallet.
    For dogs, my old roommate used to feed her dog a mixture of rice & chicken. She would make a large batch, and freeze it, and mix it with the dry food. Her dog loved it, and she did not have to buy dry food as often.

  • Christina says:

    Like others have noted, we use Purina One as recommended by our vet. She said almost all the foods cheaper than that contain a lot of corn, and large amounts of corn are bad for dogs (just like it’s bad for cows, but that’s another topic). We typically buy it at Sam’s club. a 40-something pound bag costs around $29, and it lasts our pomeranian almost a year. Several weeks ago, Publix had the four-pound bags on sale for $5 and there were $3/1 coupons. We bought about 12 bags, which came out to $24 for 48 pounds. We keep his food in the original packaging, inside rubber storage bins. We also have a stand-up-style pet food storage container with locking lid, which holds about 12 pounds of food – we pour the loose food into their to scoop, so we don’t have to access the large bin as often.

  • Mary Ann says:

    We use Purina or Petsmart’s dry dog food, both of which have been recommended by our vet. I only buy Purina if I’m able to combine sales and coupons for a good deal. Check your grocery store ads each week. They often have dog food for B1G1. Often it’s the smaller bags but I do the math in my head and stock up if the price is right. Sam’s Club and Costco have great prices on large bags of many leading brands of food.

    He does not get canned dog food unless it’s free, and then I just add a spoonful on his dry food for a occasional treat.

    Treats are purchased for $1 a bag or less. Our dog’s favorite’s are the GoodLife Recipe treats which can be expensive to buy at regular price but they go on sale often and I usually have $1 off coupons for them.

    Ask people to save extra coupons for you. My sister often sends me coupons since she doesn’t have a dog. She also will pick up treats and dog food when she can get it for free and then gives it to us. In turn, I give her my baby coupons.

    Our dog is large(65 pounds) and can chew up a new toy faster than you can unwrap it. We stick with bones (usually beef bones from cooking; we get them from a local farm) and a large rope that has lasted for a long time. Anything else is destroyed very quickly so it’s not worth paying money for. We picked up a bucket of baseballs at a yard sale for $1 a bucket that he’s still using over a year later. If your dog likes stuffed animals, pick them up at yard sales or thrift stores and not in the pet aisle. The price will be so much cheaper! A friend suggested Teletubbies for dog toys since they’re made with sturdier construction; they are often available at yard sales.

    Our dog is short-haired and low maintenance (lab mix) but can be a chore to bathe. Our kennel offers a grooming service and they do an awesome job so we used to get him bathed while he was there for $30. Definitely worth every penny but when we had to cut back on expenses, that was a “luxury” that could go. So we bathe him at home for nearly free. We’ve been using the same $6 bottle of shampoo for over a year and it’s not even half gone yet. A rinse of apple cider vinegar and water (3 parts water to one part vinegar) is a great conditioner and helps to keep him shiny and smelling better longer. We’ve also gotten a few coupons from Petsmart’s birthday club for a free bath or nail trim.

    As far as boarding goes, you can save a bunch of money by shopping around. The kennel we use charges only $10 a night which includes food, treats and some play time if they’re not busy. Friends highly recommended this kennel to us and we have since referred others there. Our dog gets very excited whenever we take him there. Our vet also offers boarding but for $12 a night and then extra $$ for other services, which can add up quickly.

    Hope this helps!

  • Lynn says:

    We feed our dogs Purina or Pedigree because they usually have coupons and are the best dog food for the money. We also DO NOT give our dogs canned food. It is a waste of money and bad for their teeth. We also give them any of our leftover meat scraps only. And we measure their dogfood by their weight. I do not buy fancy dog shampoo I use Parents choice baby shampoo it works just as well and still kills some fleas by suffocation. Also we only take our dogs to the vet when we have to. And we do their shots every two years. Our dogs are super healthy happy dogs and seem to be happy with this set-up. Hope this helps.

  • Christina says:

    *their* should have been *there*

  • Laura Davis says:

    I’ve also had success contacting companies to receive coupons. But what saves us the most is shopping at PetSmart. If you sign up for their e-mail and snail mail mailing lists, they’ll send you $5/$25 coupons that scale up to $15/$50. They will also accept Petco coupons, which are more readily available online. This has saved us a great deal of money because we have a cat and a dog and when I have good coupons, we stock up on big bags of food and cat litter. The prices at PetSmart are actually quite reasonable to begin with, at least in my area. Good luck!

  • Christina says:

    Wow, there are places where boarding is only $10-12 a night?! Our vet charges $25, which is the going rate – non-vet kennels are $20-22 here. And those are for small (under 20 lb) dogs.

  • Sherry says:

    FOR TEETH CLEANING:

    February is “Pet Dental Month” and most vets offer 15-20% off during the month of February.

  • Leslie says:

    This is actually a subject that I know something about… =)
    My family has raised Goldens for close to 20 years – I breed, show, and train a few litters every year. We give medications and vaccinations ourselves, except rabies (state laws vary regarding the rabies vaccination). We order these vaccinations and medications online. Try http://www.jefferspet.com They usually have the best price. We use injectables for heartworm preventative as well as use natural and holistic treatments for fleas and ticks. Many vets are over vaccinating our dogs – this has been directly linked to cancer. Keep that in mind while talking to your vet – see what is absolutely necessary and what isn’t. Finding a GREAT food/vitamin is key. Great nutrition will save you money and heartache. Excellent foods save you a lot of money because you feed so much less. It took me a couple of years to figure that out, but now my dogs are healthier and it shows – and I’m saving more than half on their food bill. We lso found a great company that offers a wonderful holistic food and they pay a commission for referrals. We make enough now from commissions to pay for our dog’s food ( with 6 adult dogs – that is a lot!). It has also been a big savings for us to purchase Pet Health Insurance. It has helped a lot with emergencies that come up from time to time and it is fairly inexpensive. Please remember that dogs should NOT ever be eating corn. If corn is listed in the first five ingredients – you should never feed it to your dogs. You might save money now – but you will pay later – or even worse…your dog will.

  • Ginger says:

    Our cat is on prescription food so we don’t have the ability to get coupons so what I do is, buy the larger bag (3 month for $55) vs the small bag (1 month for $25) and go on plastic jungle and get petsmart gift cards for 6% off. Every little bit help keep out budget down.

  • Nicole says:

    I am an ER LVT with 15 year of experience, and my biggest recommendation is to maintian good health care for your pets. Yearly wellness exams can catch problems early and thus save you money in the cost of treatment. Same with any illnesses, go to the vet at the first signs so it doens’t get to the point where major treatment is needed. I think many people are shocked to find out the cost of veterinary medicine. What they dont realize is that we use the same medications, machinery and treatment as human medicine, but most do not have insurance to offset the costs. Average cost of a stay in the ER is $800-$1200 a night. You should be prepared with a savings account for such an occurence, or invest in pet insurance. Like another poster said, some vets are cheaper than others, but just like any other product or service, you get what you pay for. There are good vets and there are bad vets. Don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian what they do to stay current with medicine as it changes, as the things they may have learned in school may not apply 20 years later. In regards to online pet med ordering services, I think this is a great option for many, but be aware that purchasing them online may nullify any guaruntee they have. For example, if your pet in on Heartgard and gets heartworm (not common, but it can happen) and you can prove that you purchased the product from a veterinarian, Heartgard will cover all costs of treatment (which is upwards of $1000), many other flea/tick/heartworm med companies have a similar promise. A lot of money saving advice is simple and easy to do. Be educated in things that are harmful to pets (toxic plants, medications, food etc) and make sure their enviroment is free of these. Make sure your pet is kept at a healthy weight, is current on vaccines and is spayed/neutered. Follow your veterinarians advice, and never EVER attempt to treat your pet for illness or pain with human medications.

    One last thing, a poster above recommended switching to Hartz flea products. Both Hartz and another common OTC flea product, Sgt’s Gold, have a known history of causing terrible toxicities. The chemical in these products is an organophosphate (insecticide) and is NOT the same as prescription medications. Both of these companies have hotlines set up for these events (what does that tell you?). Google either product and you will see this is not an uncommon occurence.

  • Emily says:

    Wow!! Thank you all so much for your insight. It will probably take me a bit to get through all of the comments. You guys are so great! Thank you all fory our help!
    Emily

  • I saw some comments about mixing dog food with other fillers like eggs, but I didn’t see anyone mention rice. A few times when my dogs have been sick my vet actually recommended giving them plain cooked white rice to calm their stomachs, and it occurred to me that since rice is so cheap I could probably mix it with dog food. My dogs actually like it if I give it to them slightly warm (not hot!, think baby food temp.) So I’m now experimenting with mixing it with the dog food from time to time. Also don’t forget to check the damaged sale items, I just got cat food for about a quarter of the price because the box was torn, but the cans inside were just fine. 🙂

    • Ann B says:

      @becomingfrugal, Our last dog, unfortunatley was very ill. Our vet recommended equal parts of cooked ground beef and white rice with a pinch of garlic salt. He said it was basically the same as what he would have prescribed for a prescription food, but obviously much cheaper.

  • amber says:

    Cutting costs with cats can be as easy as lining the litter box with newspaper (several sheets) and then putting shredded paper on top. Computer printer paper or newsprint works well. Avoid the glossy stuff. Change every one to three days. You can go longer if you really double up the paper on bottom and the shredded paper. Then lift bottom newspaper out and place in a wal-mart sack and you are done! I buy the newspaper for coupons and get free shredded paper from work.

  • Kerry D. says:

    We found out that Costco (Kirkland brand) dog food is good quality, and is used by people who care for dogs through our local German Shepherd Rescue. It is about HALF what I paid for premium food at Petco, and after a couple years, our two dogs are immensely healthy and have beautiful coats. They also have quality dog biscuits at a great price.

    • DeAnna says:

      @Kerry D., The Costco pet food is amazing, and I look forward to being able to save some money one day by living close enough to one that I can buy food there! Even the website dogfoodanaylsis.com recommends it asa budget friendly food.

  • Marion says:

    I just bought off eBay 20 coupons for Mighty Dog 5 cans for $3. My grocery store sells the cans 5 for $3. I paid $4.75 (free shipping) for my coupons. Giving me 100 cans for $4.75! I mix it with dry Pro Plan that I also scored for FREE w/ coupons off ebay.

  • Paige says:

    My mom and I used to make our own dog treats because she has three dogs and it seems like everytime they even LOOK at you they get a treat! We just googled dog treat recipies..the one we found had two types of flour, peanut butter and I think it was corn oil. We usually double the recipe and cut the treats into little squares instead of the whole dog shaped bone from the store that’s $3 or $4 a box with less than half of what we make!

  • Lealad says:

    Call around vets before deciding on one. Vets prices can vary greatly!!!!!! We have a great dane (a high maintenance dog) and a cat and we recently had to put a cat down. We found in the last year that vet charges for tests, treatment and surgeries can vary hugely. My great got spayed and her stomach tacked and the price range varied from $499 to $2,300 for the exact same procedure between 5 vet offices!

    I echo the sentiments about sticking with really good food, it fills them up better and is healthier. If you give them food with fillers they will eat a ton more and poop a ton more! My 5 month old great dane eats 5 to 6 cups of food a day……its not worth it to buy the cheap food even though she eats a ton!

    I also utilize my local humane society for cheap vaccinations and flea and tick care.

    You can make your own dog treats and even dog food if you really want to.

    There are lots of websites offering discount pet supplies. Check local pet supply companies that sell wholesale to vets, etc. They will often sell to you but you must look through the catalog and call in the order as opposed to walking around a big store like Petsmart. The local one in Phoenix is Ryan’s Pet Supply.

  • marney says:

    Here is a list of resources for helping with pet care finances:
    http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html

  • Jen says:

    IAMS IS GARBAGE! PURINA IS GARBAGE! SCIENCE DIET IS GARBAGE! EUKANUBA IS GARBAGE!

    Ingredient lists do NOT lie – those foods are FULL of fillers and by-products. GROSS. Go to http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com and see that all of your “good” brands are actually ONE STAR foods! Nasty!!!! Sure your dog *seems* fine to you but it’s AMAZING what a difference an ACTUAL good food does for your pet!!! And despite seeming to know their stuff, most vets have VERY limited nutrition education and chances are their courses were sponsored by Hills!!

  • Ann Newhouse says:

    My dog is also eating IAMS and we are hesitant to switch. Lately, at Kroger we have seen several bags on Manager’s special and I have been able to stock up on dog food for almost free with coupons. When it comes to vet care and pet meds we use a discount vet and generic flea and tick treatments and have been happy with both. I haven’t been able to find discount kennels-other than willing family members:)

  • Thanks Crystal for linking to My Pet Savings! I am loving all of the comments on here and will definitely be doing some research and integrating what people want/need for their pets into My Pet Savings. 🙂

  • Kristine says:

    My suggestion is to make sure that you are feeding your dog the right amount of food; and nothing more. Sometimes we feed our babies more than they are suppose to have. Measure out the amount that is required for him and seperate it into baggies, or small containers. This way he can eat several meals a day, (i.e. breakfast,lunch, and supper,) and feel fulfilled. He’ll feel special, and you won’t be wasting money feeding him more than the portion that he’s suppose to get. This information is usually on the back of the bag; but can also be obtained through a Veternarian. Good luck!

  • Sara Conley says:

    Unfortunately we just had to give our sweet 5 year old labrador retriever to another family because we could not figure out how to continue to afford her. However, here is one tip I can suggest for annual vaccines/shots – call your local humane society and see if they have discount shot clinics. It’s a great way to support a nonprofit and get discounted shots. Also, check out local feed stores (like farmers use) for food. Some have programs if you buy with them a certain number of bags of food they give you one free. It is a small discount, but a discount none-the-less.

  • Erin says:

    I’m in the same boat! I fed my dog Nutro for years, and it’s expensive. You didn’t mention what size your dog is, but even though a large bag of Nutro is expensive, it lasts a long time with a small dog (beagle) like mine, so it doesn’t seem like a huge expense. I made my own biscuits for my first dog after getting a houseful of moths after buying Alpo biscuits (yuck!), but I’ve been too lazy with my new dog. Plus, with just one small dog, you don’t need a ton of biscuits, and I can find reasonably good deals on Milk Bone and Hartz Crunch and Clean. Although thinking about it, making dog biscuits with my four year old might be a better idea than making cookies with him (always seems to sneeze in the bowl!). What I would like to find is deals on veterinary care–that’s what really costs us. When I lived in the DC area, I dropped about $400 each checkup, and I’d keep my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t have to go again that year. But with a dog with chronic ear infections, fat chance! Now I’m in a less expensive market, but you can really rack up the charges after just a couple appointments!

  • If you sign up for PetSmart email alerts, they periodically send out $5/$25 purchase coupons, which will definitely help you purchase the kind of dog food you want, but at a discounted price. Also try to purchase your dog food at feed stores (larger animal stores for farmers) where you can purchase the bag in bulk. This will cut down on your price.

  • Julie says:

    We have cats, no dogs. Our previous cat ate only Science Diet, but we had her at a time we had much more income. When we got our current kitties, we fed them whatever was cheapest with coupons. One of them developed a problem and, at the vet’ s recommendation, they eat only Science Diet now.
    I tell all this because now that we have switched to the “better” food, they don’t eat as much of it. Also, since they’re not eating as much, they don’t ummm “process” quite as much either.

  • Andrea says:

    I was using Iams until one week I started using their Iams Healthy Naturals instead of the regular Iams and my dog (a miniature pinscher) who normally scarfs ANY food became sick and refused to eat it. She had loose stools, vomiting, lost hair and became very itchy that she scratched till scabs formed. I thought it might have just been coincidence so to check I switched her food after finding through a search of reviews online that I wasn’t the only one that had this problem with Iams (http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews12624.html) and also that they put animals through horrible conditions to test their food (www.iamscruelty.com). I’m not a vegetarian or an animal activist but just a quick search made me sick to think I was supporting a company that did that. After some research, I switched our dog to Canidae (http://www.canidae.com/ingredients/thefinest.html) and our cats to Felidae and they have been so healthy since and it actually costs a little less for the cat food per pound than Iams and the same per pound for the Dog food and is at Pet Supplies Plus near me. I would highly recommend this food to anyone since it’s not made with animal by-product like most are and breeders and vets online recommended it most.

  • Lisa says:

    There are several local pet rescue organizations (we use Shelter from the Storm) that offer significantly reduced pet services, including spay/neuter, shots, flea treatments, nail trims, etc. I also recommend checking at your local college to see if they have a vet tech program that offers clinics.

  • Heidi W says:

    I do agree – my pet budget it HUGE. It is hardw when you have two cats.

    I found buying cat little from something like ‘Pet World Warehouse’ is cheaper. Here you buy the initial container. Then it is reusable and costs lets. You just bring in your container and scoopt it in.

    I agree changing food not a good idea. My cats live on science diet. The coupons are rare though.

    For the vet I go during the week. Multi pet discount.

  • TEresa says:

    Suppliment! You can still use the IAMs with all the great ways to save as above, but suppliment with other FIllers, so you stretch the food bag longer. We used Canned Pumpkin for a long time because it is very filling for the dogs, and were trying to get about 5 lbs off of her. I also steam the WHOLE broccoli and give the stalks to the dogs and cut back on kibble. Must make sure you don’t give too much in one sitting as too much broccoli at one time can be toxic to the dog. I also use leftover veggies/ meat scraps ect. from our own food to have as fillers. Also if we have a little bit of leftovers, but not enough for a complete meal for even my husband or I for work, then we use that to feed the dog. The BIG key is to when you give your dog people food, make sure you know what is safe and isn’t, and make sur eyoua ctually reduce the kibble to compensate (or you will end up with overwieght dogs).

    As crazy as it sounds something else I do is use WET cat food mixed with their kibble and reduce the kibble. VERY OFTEN you can get cans of wet cat food for next to nothing. And believe it or not my dogs love it! I learned this trick when we were showing my dog in agility, we would giver a can as her reward after a run.

  • Emily says:

    This may have been mentioned already, but I didn’t want to read every single post. I have two large dogs, so I know how expensive they can be. I spoke to my vet several years ago and he told me something interesting. Every year he attends a national vet convention where they hold a seminar on nutritional content in animal food. He told me that every year he has gone, Purina has actually come out on top for dog food. He feeds his dogs Purina One. We’ve always fed our dogs some kind of Purina food – there are many to choose from – and they’ve never had a problem with it. Just introduce it slowly and see how they tolerate it. And talk with your vet about what they recommend.

  • KD says:

    I can’t help much on the dog food becuase we buy ours from the vet and it cost $90 for 32lbs. I know it’s way too much but both of my basset hounds have special food needs and I would sacrifice something myself in order to keep them healthy. They can eat Iams treats and I have found buying these in the 20lb. box is way cheaper than the smaller boxes. Also if your animals take supplements I like the website KVVET.com they seem to have pretty good prices. We budget $3000 a year for the 2 dogs and last year it was $3500 so we were close. I do save money by doing all the grooming myself. I don’t personally trust anyone else to trim the nails or give baths. Since we don’t have kids just them our whole family buys for them for the holidays and their birthdays so they get giftcards to the pet stores which come in handy for the toys and treats. We also donate all their extra toys they get to the basset hound rescue. They are totally spoiled and always have way too much so it’s our way of giving back. Pets are expensive but so worth it!!

  • Kimberly W. says:

    We have included dog food and vet visits into our envelope system. Makes it much easier to handle a $300 annual vet appointment when the money is there! I’d suggest start setting aside a little bit each month and use that as needs arrive.

  • tracy says:

    Fly over to ebay and buy mighty dog coupons $3/5 in quantities of 20. Buy all you can. Each batch of 20 will give you 100 FREE cans of mighty dog canned food at Walmart. We’ve been getting them 100 free cans at a time. Any store where the cost is under .60 will net you free food. (except for the cost of the coupons – about $5 for 100 cans) The cans can be stored for two years – go crazy!!! At walmart there is an overage and we make $2.00 (it comes off the tax!) for every 100 cans they GIVE us!!

  • Amy says:

    We used IAMS for most of our dog’s life & recently switched to Kirkland (Costco) brand. It’s about $20 for a 40 pound bag which is extremely inexpensive. The first ingredient is meat (chicken or lamb). I’ve researched the brands and quite honestly – I would caution anyone against speaking holistically about any dog food brand. It varies as each dog digests food differently. For us – Kirkland brand has worked out very well & we’re confident in the Costco brand. For others, I have read very disappointing views. Please do not assume that because your brand is more expensive or is marketed well that is a higher quality food. As couponers, we know that the most money spent on a product is through the Marketing/Sales dept…not the research. Talk to your vet, look up testimonies online and make an educated decision for your pet. Don’t assume a price point indicates a quality point. They are NOT the same thing & should not be confused as such.

    Can I get an ‘Amen’?

  • Mrs Snell says:

    I do several things to keep costs down…

    Can you clip nails, trim coats and brush your pet’s teeth at home? If so do it! (even if it is just a “little trim” between visits to your groomer, you might be able to stretch those visits further appart.

    I buy heart worm and flea/ticks meds online and split the order with my parents. Buying a 12 month supply and splitting it is cheaper than buying it as a 6 month package.

    If Fido or Fluffy has to have a medication from the Vet, call your regular pharmacy and find out their price, or if your local discount store (walmart/target) has a pharmacy call them too! My dog’s pain medication for a post-op recovery was $6.00 from walmart, but over $40 from the vet!

    Ask your vet about pet food. I noticed many people on here assume that a particular brand is always the “best” but the best food for each dog can be different. My dog has severe allergies and is extremely active, therefor having different nutritional needs than a seditary dog who regularly enjoys table scraps.

    When we lived near a vet school, we got discounted exams by supervised students. So if you have a vet college nearby call and ask!

  • angie says:

    I would suggest http://www.petfooddirect.com. I get my food from them MUCH cheaper than any retail store and usually with free shipping. Here is my example…don’t know if your brand will be the same but its worth a shot. I buy my cats Organix brand cat food. At Whole Foods (which is the only retail store that carries it near me) its $42.99 for 15lbs. At petfooddirect its $28.99 for the same 15lbs! PLUS they are always sending me email coupons for $20 off $100 or 18-22% off my total and that is how I get free shipping. You may be able to get an even better deal than me since Iams is cheaper than Organix usually. Good luck!

  • Angie says:

    Definitely stay with the good food. Cheap food = more feedings and no savings in the end.

  • KATIE says:

    This is another blog i check daily for good deals and its all about pets!
    hope that helps!

    http://www.mypetsavings.com/

  • Naomi says:

    We have a cat that we got from our local rescue league. We made the decision not to get cheap food since we wanted to be sure he lived a long healthy life. We are feeding our cat IAMS also but we get the natural kind and it is quite expensive. Any IAMS coupons will work which does save us a bit. I do get into Target.com every week and check their coupons. I use their coupons and my own that match and that will save us money when they have IAMS in their coupon site. We had a Beagle for 13 years and we used to feed him cheap food, not unknown brands but anytime I had a dog food coupon(dry) I would use it no matter what kind of food it was. I learned a lesson. He was sick so much of his years from various ailments and if we ever get another dog I will not buy it cheap food. But this is just how I feel. Our pets are part of our family and I try to buy organic food when I can afford it and I feel animals should be feed as healthy a food as possible. I do understand with people being on a budget this can be tough. We are retired and are on a strict budget so we do have to budget our cat food in with our own.

  • Allison says:

    We only feed our puppy Purina ProPlan. I do buy Iams and give her that to her as her dog treats. Baby carrots are also a cheap and favorite treat. Much cheaper than small packaged dog treats and she thinks of them as a treat because they are different than her regular dog food. She is 8 years old and VERY happy and healthy!!

  • Tia says:

    I too feed my dog and my two cats IAMS, which can be very expensive, but I want them to have a good quality food. I cut every coupon from the paper and P&G frequently sends out mailers with IAMS coupons. I have signed up on the IAMS and P&G sites for coupons as well. When there is a good coupon I go onto http://www.afullcup.com and trade coupons. I also am very lucky to have Shaws supermarket nearby, and they have had some great P&G catalinas where you spend $x and get $x back, so that helps as well.

  • maria fernanda says:

    I hope that this helps in the same way that you are helping me.I’m new in couponing, but with too much experience with pets(almost veterinarian), and I had dogs for 35 years.
    Since I live in USA, I use to buy Pets food at Petsupermarket, I allways( here and I my country), I buy Science diet (Hills), is an excellent brand, and I know that some people think that is expensive, but be sure, if you feed you animals with the correct food, you will save at veterinarina bill. that is most expensive that the food.
    I joined the VIP program at petsupermarket, ( I think the Petco, and Petsmart, have yours also), every month I receive a coupon, for $5 off/$25, the food that i buy is aprox. $40/40lb( if you see maybe looks expensive, but is only $1/lb, )I use 2 of them per month, I have 3 BIG dogs. also, every month at the inserts you will see $2 off/$10, from petsupermarket.If your dog is not puppy( wich means that is in process to adaptation for a new food), you can buy the same brand and choose differents flavor, allways they have one of them on sale, select that one, plus coupons, save money.
    The VIP, program, you buy 9 or 10 bags of food, and the next is free.Try to buy allways the same size, if not, is no worth this, they will send you, a voucher for a free bag, but the small size that you bought. My friends
    that not have pets,they give to me the coupons that received by mail, or newspaper.Everytime, that you see a coupon, buy the small bag , if is a different brand , and mix with the regular food.(Thanks My pet savings), past month I received a $10off for Eukanube( excellente food), I took a 4lb , and mix with their regular food, NEVER give a new food alone, cause problems at Digestive system.Also I received a lot of samples, I used to buy 2 40 lb bag per months, and with all the samples, and coupons for free, I did with only one bag, mixing them regular food with samples, so NO BIG changes on hers food, No problems.And I spend only $30, (not then regular $80 before coupons).
    So, VIP programs+ Newspapers coupons+ Store coupons+ friends coupons+ samples=SAVE MONEY and feed them right.
    Petsupermarket takes competitors coupones, at FL ( I don’t know at other states). Good LUck!!!, and don’t foregt to give allways fresh water, and shelter, and of course annuals shots an a LOT OF LOVE!!!!!!!!

  • Jan says:

    We’ve had several dogs over the years and have gone though many food brands. Our current dogs have food-issues and we gradually took them from Eukanuba to Pro-Plan (groomers rec) and they now eat and love Purina One.
    Want a good dog treat? Cheerios. Toss them one and they’ll be thrilled. Now ours think that any stale piece of cereal is a Cheerio. It’s a cheap and occasional event.

  • Carissa says:

    One of our dogs is on prescription dog food that we get through our vet. The vet has a savings program for clients who purchase food, which gives us a 15% discount on food we buy there.

    Our other dog eats food from Trader Joe’s, which we’ve found to be a good quality, reasonably proced food.

    If you are thinking about saving food to save on cost, talk to your vet to get a list of brands they reccomend and then compare the prices on those. Don’t switch to cheap food just because it costs less…it’s also probably lower quality, too.

    You can transition your dog to a new food relatively painlessly but you need to do it while you still have a lot of the old food left so you can do it over a few weeks. Start by adding a small amount of the new food to the food they are currently eating. Every few days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food. Do it slowly enough where you can take 2-3 weeks to completely transition and it shouldn’t be a shock to your dog’s system.

    If you are super handy with finding grocery deals on things like meat, eggs and rice, though, you may be able to make your own food. Ask your vet for some recipes and depending on how thrifty you are with grocery shopping, you may be able to feed your dog homemade food for less than manufactured food.

    As far as grooming, we’ve decided to let our dogs’ hair grow out between groomings and we try to do a lot of our grooming (baths, trims, nails, etc) at home…only bringing them to a groomer maybe once a year. It’s a bit time consuming each time we do it, but an hour or two of my time saves us $50 every time I groom my dogs instead of a professional.

  • Kelly says:

    I save money feeding my two dogs by feeding them regular food. I buy cheap brown rice and chicken (or pork loin) when it goes on sale. I also buy frozen ground turkey (that I get for $1/lb). I mix the brown rice, shredded meat, and 50 cent green beans together to make a very healthy meal. That get apple chunks, frozen bananas, and carrots as snacks. When I have time, I make them homemade dog bones! They love it and are much happier/healthier. Too many preservatives in the store dog food.

  • Amber Barnum says:

    I would check with your local feed store. They typically will have less expensive food, that is better than most foods at other stores, including Iams. My husband and I used to feed our dogs Royal Canin, but it just became much to expensive. We now feed them Diamond Naturals, and we can only get that brand at our feed store. It is $23 for a 40lb bag, and it is much higher quality then Iams or many other brands. It doesn’t contain many of the things that are bad for dogs, like gluten and meta by-products. You can find locations that sell their product on their website: http://www.diamondpet.com

    Also, making your own treats saves money. And doing anything yourself that you can… like baths and trimming nails, etc.

  • Holly says:

    We buy out Lamb and Rice food from Costco (wholesale club) and our dogs are enrolled in a wellness plan at the vet. The yearly fee covers all vaccinations 2 yearly drop off exams, and any additional visits throughout the year.

  • Tina says:

    I have been a Vet Tech since 1983 and taken many courses mostly sponsered by high end pet food companies. The basics are: read your bags. Compare Iams to Eukanuba to Purina etc. Iams is a good product but there are many more out there …..cheaper without a coupon. See what your dog likes , don’t throw a new food at them mix it with the old for about a week. Some minor tummy upsets do occur just like if you switched from reg. milk to organic. The thing about making your own is that no ingredient will ever be the same. Quality of rice, chicken, veggies vary greatly. One way to cut costs is this don’t supplement … if you feed a good food no need for vitamins or calcium etc. Also dillute your pet shampoo by 1/3. Still effective and easier to lather up. I also recycle my lemon rinds after squeezing in a jar of water and let them sit until bath time; use as rinse for flea combative. (any citris works)

  • Alana says:

    Please check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com and look up a review for Iams. Iams is not a good food. Neither is Science Diet. The “benefits” of feeding a cheaper food are often outweighed by the costs. Just like with humans, what goes into a dog’s body has huge implications in terms of their health and well-being. This can mean more vet visits and a shorter lifespan, less energy, not as shiny of a coat, etc.
    Also, many cheaper dog foods (including Iams—#1 ingredient is corn, which dogs cannot digest and doesn’t offer any nutritional value and #2 is animal “byproducts”) means that you wind up feeding your dog more than you would with a more expensive food that doesn’t have fillers.
    Costco now carries a grain-free salmon-based food in many areas, which is an excellent option.
    You should feed a dog food rated 4 stars or higher on dfa.com.
    Also, many vets are not nutrition experts and have an agreement with a corporation like Hills (makes Science Diet) to push their products.

  • Heidi says:

    I know that sometimes the vets offices will have samples with extremely high value coupons in them. So maybe you could check with your local vet.

  • Brittany says:

    I saved $119 on my vet bill this year by taking my dog to a mobile clinic. It was a very good experience. I wrote about it and shared a video of us at the mobile clinic here:

    http://theprudentpatron.blogspot.com/2010/02/saving-money-on-your-pet-affordable.html

  • sarah says:

    You can mix cooked rice as a substitute for some food. We used to give our dogs 3 cups of food a day, now we substitute one cup of food for one cup of cooked rice. You do have to be careful with the weight of your dog. We have large dogs, one cup of rice is good for a dog 30lbs and up. Goolel organic or homemade dog food recipes and you will find that rice is a major ingredient. It helps stretch the budget a little. One benefit for one dog was it cured her dandruff!

  • Heather says:

    As a veterinary assistant, I see a lot of pets. Here are a few of the tips that I have for saving money at your next vet visit:

    Get your pets vaccinations on the same schedule, meaning all vaccines due at the same time each year and if you live on the East Coast make sure that is in the spring (heartworm season). Many pet owners have vaccines that are due scattered through out the year costing them more than one office visit per year.

    If you have more than one pet, try and take them to the vet together. Many veterinary clinics offer a multi pet discount.

    Buy in bulk. Bulk foods, bulk medicines are cheaper when bought in larger quantities. Also talk to your veterinarian about the dosage that you are giving your pet. You might be able to get a higher milligram and split it in half enabling you to stretch a prescription longer.

    Ask your veterinary how much to feed your pet. Obessity is not only a human epidemic, it affects pets as well. Many owners are grossly over feeding their pets putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, etc. Canned green beans are a good filler that can be added to a pets (dogs) food to help satisfy their hunger.

    It saddens me to say this but I see alot of pets who are getting sub par care because their owner has too many pets. No one wants to give up an animal or 2 or 3 but if the animals care is in question because of a tight budget it is time to down size. There lots of people out their looking for a pet to love.

  • Kim says:

    There are always a bunch of $10 off Iams cat and dog coupons on ebay. I paid about $24 for each 10/$10 off coupons. My deals looked like this:

    Iams Cat food (A while back at Target)
    $10.99 per bag x 2= 21.98
    -2/$1o coupons= $1.98 oop get back $5 Target gift card
    Did this deal 5 times
    Total cost for 10 bags about $9 or .90 cents a bag
    (Paid $9.90 oop, $24 for coupons, got back $25 Target Gift cards)

    Iams Dog Food (Going on now at Price Chopper)
    $14 per bag (20 lb) x 2= $28 -2/$1o coupons=$8 get back $10 visa card for every $25 P&G purchase
    Did this deal 5 times
    Total cost for 10 bags about $14 or $1.40 per bag
    (Paid $40 for food, $24 for coupons, and got back $50)

    I also just switched vets to a “no frills” urban vet center. My cat needed surgery and the local vets said $2000-$3000 or put him down and I called around and found one that did it for $600 total and only charges $30 for vet visits. Worth calling around even if it is an hours drive once in a while.
    I got 20 b

  • Jenny says:

    I hear you on the pet budget issue! Some months it’s $50 a month and others it’s over $300!

    Our 15 year old cat has many health issues and is on a prescription diet food that is $35 a month. She also takes a medication that is $25 for 3 months and gets steroid shots (another $25) every 6 to 8 weeks for skin problems.

    We have a new kitten that is on Purina Pro Plan kitten food. I’ve found that with the Petco sales and coupons, I can get a pretty good deal on the food. I also signed up for their emails and they sometimes send out $5 off coupons that I use either for the food or the cat litter.

  • Amanda says:

    Pets ARE expensive! One way to cut down is to make sure you go to a frugal vet. If you call around prices vary A LOT! If you live near a rural area, you may find that a vet that treats mostly farm animals is a cheaper option for your dog’s care.

    Also, if you look at cheap dog food and good dog food (like Purina One), the serving sizes are WAY smaller for the good dog food, so you actually have to feed your dog LESS of the more expensive stuff, which makes up for the higher cost 🙂

  • JoDi says:

    Someone mentioned the Costco brand dog foods already so I’ll say ditto! They are definitely great quality foods at one of the best prices around. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul is also a reasonably priced but good quality food. Iams is far lower quality and more expensive than Costco or the Chicken Soup food.

    It pays to learn more about dog food ingredients so you get the most bang for your buck!
    http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/how-do-you-rate-the-foods.html

    I also make homemade wet dog food to mix in with the dry food instead of buying cans. It’s definitely cheaper than the premium canned food we were using.

  • Graciela says:

    We have two boxers and we use Nutro. You can go on their website and request coupons. Also we buy our food from Russell Feed stores and after collecting 10 UPCs for Nutro you get a FREE bag.

    If you buy pet food at Petsmart, and your pet doesn’t like the food or if it makes your pet ill, you can return the opened food bag to petsmart and get your money back. We have done this with our dogs before when they were puppies because science diet made them loose fur.

    Texas has the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection and they do clinics for cheap pet vacines. Your state might have something similar. With them you can get rabies, dhpp, bordetella all for $25! My vet wanted to charge me $101 for the shots and i would have to pay for a dr’s visit.

    Hope this helps!

  • bashtree says:

    two things I’ve done to save on my dogs:

    1. Heartworm meds can be dosed by weight. My dog is an 8lb papillon, but the heartworm meds I get are good up to 20lbs. I cut the cube in half and that’s what he gets each month. One 6-pack lasts a year that way.

    2. My dog has really sensitive skin and seasonal allergies, and he had a reeeeally hard time with the topical treatments. So for anti-flea and tick meds, I put apple cider vinegar in his drinking water. I make a gallon jug and keep it in the fridge, refilling as necessary. The approximate amounts recommended : 1 teaspoon – dogs up to 14 pounds
    2 teaspoon – medium dogs -15 to 34 pounds
    1Tablespoon – large dogs-35 to 84 pounds

    But don’t do this if your dog is allergic to yeast. I will also spritz him down with a half/half vinegar/water mixture as the final rinse of his bath. The smell goes away once it dries, and he has been flea-free for 2 years (in the muggy south!!).

    • Desire' H. says:

      @bashtree,

      It is better to give your dog the whole pill (to overdose) than to not give enough (under dose). My boston terrier Tonka fluctuates in his weight..usually 25 lbs, which would be the blue box of Heartgard, but sometimes he weighs in slightly more at 26 lbs. Since we know his weight fluctuates like that, we get the green box of Heartgard (26 – 50 lbs). Though he is nowhere near 50 lbs, we were advised to give the whole pill as our vet said it is better to overdose on heartworm medicine than to underdose. How do you know your dog is being fully protected from heartworms otherwise? This has me very concerned. I’ll all for being frugal, but not when it comes to heartworm medication. I’m not sure how much you pay (and what kind you use) but I also have another dog (well I have three total) but this one is smaller and weighs 12 lbs….his heartgard only costs 21 dollars every 6 months, which is a little over 3 dollars a month. That is definitely not very expensive to have to skimp on. I’ve had three dogs over the years with heartworms and under dosing is something I’m very concerned about.

  • ALB says:

    I actually just wrote a blog post on saving money when buying a pet yesterday! http://frugalmadefun.blogspot.com

    As far as the food goes, we use Purina Beneful and our dog loves it. It isn’t the “healthiest” dog food that’s out there, but our dog loves it more than any other kind we’ve tried. We can usually get it fairly cheaply at Target or Publix with the use of coupons.

  • sarah says:

    I got a wellness plan at the vet, i have a cat with teeth issues and it’s recommended to have his teeth cleaned twice a year at 180-250 a pop. One of the plans they have is 30 a month, included two cleanings a year, plus a list of other things. So for the same price i’m saving money on the other services, some services i may not have done unless “necessary” due to the extra costs(blood work and other tests). Last time i took him he was behind on some things(had a baby last fall and kitty’s vet appt got forgotten) and the bill said it would have been over a 1000 if not for the plan. The plan does give us a break on the flea meds too, but he’s an indoor cat so we don’t use them every month.

  • Michelle says:

    I have two dogs and while one is on a prescription diet for her kidneys the other dog was on Iams. Then is switched him to Beneful. The trick to switching dog food is to combine the new food with the old food for about a week. The first two days feed the dog 3/4 old food mixed with 1/4 new food. The next two days mix 1/2 and 1/2. The final two days mix 1/4 old food and 3/4 new food. My dog loves Beneful and you can usually find coupons for it – and if you call the company and ask them a question about their food (for example, how much to feed your dog based on his size) they will send you some great coupons. Hope this helps!

  • Rosie says:

    We got our dachshund Freddie at 7 wks. We fed him whatever was reccomended by the vet at the time. However, when visiting a friend one day with Freddie, he managed to eat her dog’s food. Ol’ Roy Dinner Rounds. He loved them, so Dinner Rounds it was. He was only 8 lbs so we adjusted the amount of food he got accordingly. His treats were limited and he never got table scraps. He went for regular routine visits to the the vet for vaccines. We did need to take him on two other occasions when he flew with us as the airline required a rabies certificate. He was a happy, healthy playful member of our family. He would fetch tennis balls for hours, and we always quit before he did! He was my gardening buddy, and he went everywhere with us. Imagine, a healthy and happy pet being raised on inexpensive dog food! We were finally forced to put him down last September as he became blind and deaf , his hips unable to support his tiny, frail , little body any longer. All four of my kids grew up with fred and it was a difficult day for all of us. My 4 sons and husband took him to the vet that day and not a single one of them had a dry eye upon returning. Freddie was 19.

  • Funyonthepug says:

    Please…please ask your vet before taking some of the health suggestions listed. Although well meaning some of it is well… wrong.

    Pet food: Read the label. Meal is good. biproduct not so good. Anything with garlic…onion… not good. mystery meat. not so good. You often get what you pay for. But shop around for the cheapest quality food.

    Brush your pets teeth. Every single day. (one of the biggest money savers) Put a dollar in a jar for every day you don’t brush because that’s how much it should cost you to fix.

    Preventatives are expensive but important and not just for your pet. Here is a scenerio: Dog poops outside, kid steps in poop, kid takes shoes off when comes inside, kid doesn’t wash hands before dinner. Guess who has intestinal parasites now. Buyer beware for internet sites. Some of the products are cheap because there is a lot of fraud. Fake frontline is cheaper than real frontline.

    Pet insurance… If you don’t have a big emergency fund this is a great idea. If you do call the insurance company to find out what your premiums will be. Then save that much money in an account each month for pet emergencies.

    Adopt your pet from a humane society. There is no such thing as a free kitten or puppy. Most pets from shelters come fixed, heartworm tested or FeLV/FIV tested, vaccinated and the cost is much less than it will cost to have these done at your vet.

    Preventative medicine is key. Follow your veterinarians recommendations for preventative medicine, usually it’s cheaper in the long run. Bring your pet to see a vet when problems start. Lately people wait until the problem has become serious. Trust me, way more expensive that way.

    Keep weight under control. Ask your vet how to evaluate Fluffy’s weight. Less food, less arthritis.

    Walk your dog. every day. for at least a mile. (Mind the weather and the breed.)

  • Ruth Ann says:

    My sister has two collies, and doesn’t earn a regular income, so has to be very creative. 🙂 As her big sister it has been great watching her be so determined to care for her dogs, and checking out the best options!

    She regularly cooks a bit pot of rice {white or brown; brown is better for them, and we only eat brown so it is always available…however the white is less expensive} and substitutes it for part of their dog food. Also, she uses a cheaper brand of dog food and has not had any problems with it.

    She would do the vaccinations herself but found out that the vet wouldn’t write it down as ‘for real’. . .so anyway, I thought it sounded so communistic, but I guess there aren’t many people who would do their own vaccinations on their dog. 🙂

    Lastly, she gets her heartworm medicine/etc… from a company in Australia. The prices are MUCH less expensive –y’know, we in America spend WAY too much on our pets anyhow, and so obviously pet stuff isn’t as expensive in Australia. Even paying shipping/custom fees it is still way less expensive than stuff she can find here in the States.

    So, she researches, plans, and saves her pennies. And her two pretty collies are taken care of very well. 🙂

    Hope this might help somebody! 🙂

  • Michelle Yoder says:

    It is not wise to go cheap on pet food. My father-in-law is a vet and many health problems animals experience is because of cheap food. If you go cheap on the food you’ll end up spending the money on vet visits.

  • Cathie says:

    While I am a very frugal person in most instances, this is not the case with pet care. There are very few ways for me to save money on my beagle because he has diabetes and environmental allergies. I have to purchase his dog food from the vet ($25 for a 10 pound bag), and his preventive medications are too important for me to look for cheaper products elsewhere. However, since he now takes people insulin that I pick up at the pharmacy, I can alternate which pharmacy I use depending on the type of promotion/gift card being offered for new prescriptions. I generally give my dog his baths which saves me $30-$40/month. I just try not to dwell on the expense, as I know that he trusts me to keep him healthy and happy!

  • Sarah says:

    I have one or two $3.00 off IAMS coupons if anyone lives near chattanooga and wants them.

  • Nikki says:

    Hi, I also am unemployed right now & am living off of less than half of what I made before; however, I have not done anything to change the food/care for my dogs. I buy Nutro Ultra & each dog gets a different kind & I also use Nutro dog treats (the tartar kind).

    Here’s how I’ve saved money on my dogs over the years (one is 5 & the other is 6):
    * I think my younger dog was the runt of her litter because she thinks she is always starving. My vet’s office recommended I mix in Cheerio’s with her food.
    *I don’t use flea medicine for preventative means. I only use it if when fleas are present – which has been 3 times over the life of my dogs.
    *I split the treats in 1/2.
    *I have “pet insurance”. I don’t really know if it’s actually insurance, but @ Banfield I pay a monthly fee for each dog. By doing this I have saved thousands throughout their lives & you don’t notice a little bit going out each month compared to a big bill every 6 months.
    *My dogs are Mini Schnauzers but I no longer keep them groomed that way. Every so often I shave them & then just let it grow out “bushy”. They don’t care what they look like & since I don’t show them, why spend the money?

    Good luck to you & I hope some of this helps.

  • Jen says:

    My dog that I had as a kid died of cancer we were told it was most likely due to the cheap pet food. Being my parents 1st dog they had no idea about the fillers in the cheap food. We now buy Science Diet and other high qualty foods. I find that mom and pop pet stores are cheaper then your petco and pet smart there soo pricey. we were told not to buy food from grocey stores or walmart types only from the pet stores. We also mix some meat or cheese into our dogs food that was recommended by the vet. if you do Science Diet’s 3 bag Challenge you will get $5 off a bag and you can sign up under more then 1 email and get extra coupons. I just got a 17 lb bag of Science Diet’s cat food for 20 and a 35 lb of Science Diet’s dog food for 21.99 not bad that was a sale my mom and pop store had I was not able to use the Science Diet coupons on top of it but still a great deal. Also look on nutros website they do coupon books every now and then.

  • Stephanie Graham says:

    Not sure if someone else has already mentioned this; I didn’t have time to read through all the responses! But I was feeding my dog Pedigree according to the bag’s instructions. When we went to the vet, she said he was getting a little fat and asked what I fed him. I said “Two cups of Pedigree, like it says on the bag.” She said that I should only be feeding him one cup twice a day instead of two cups twice. It makes the food bag last twice as long! Could ask your vet if you’re feeding your dog too much too, and cut back if possible!

  • I know some animals have trouble switching brands of food but my mom’s standard poodle and my cat both eat whatever food is on sale with a coupon. I purchase as much as possible when there’s a good sale. I start mixing a little of the new food in with the old to help with the adjustment. We’ve never had problems with this with any of our animals. The dog also gets meat scraps and such at night (better than the trash).

    I also think about what vaccines and treatments we get. Some vaccines even the vets stated were unnecessary for indoor cats and dogs that don’t stay in kennels during vacations. We also used to stop heartworm treatment in the winter and resume in the summer.

  • stephanie laubach says:

    Food is tricky, especially if you have a dog with a sensitive stomach (which is ours) & only certain foods are ok. We try to save in other areas: vet. We go to the local human society & they are so much cheaper than any of the vets we found. So, shop around. Also, for dog care, try to swap services with a neighbor or friend to look after your dog. That works for us & its a great money saver.

  • Trish says:

    I have 3 dogs and 4 cats and know how pricey pet food can get! But feeding my “fur kids” is one area I am quite particular about! While the prices of some foods may shock you at first in the long run higher quality foods work out much cheaper. If you follow feeding guides on bags, you have to feed MUCH LESS of the higher quality foods in order for your pet to get what they need from their food. Example- you may have to feed a 60 pound dog 5 cups of cheaper food daily and only 2 cups of high quality food daily. Therefor you dont have to buy food as often, your pet gets the best and you save money. I will only feed my pets “Wellness” foods and signed up for their “naturally well pet club” they usually post great money saving coupons (sometimes $5.00 or more) My pets look and feel great, and i’m confident they’re getting the best food around without breaking the bank!

  • Lyndsey says:

    We have two cats (and will soon be getting a German Shepherd). We’ve found that Sam’s Club saves us a lot of money on food and litter for the cats. On occasion we will get a good deal at the grocery store on these products, but for the most part Sam’s is the way to go. And… they have IAMS. 🙂

  • Joy says:

    Yes, animals can be expensive-but what would we do without them 🙂
    I’m not sure if this will help you or not, but it’s what works for us. We are very particular about our food and that carries over to what we feed our medium size dog. We have two “dog Tupperware” in our house. One contains the “expensive” food, brands like Evo or Natural Balance. The other tends to be Whole Foods low calorie food. Since our dog is part of the family, she eats three meals with us because we’re home. Breakfast and dinner tend to be W.F. kibble, and lunch the higher nutrition food. We’ve never had any trouble switching foods around. She eats 1 cup of kibble a day (1/3 each meal). Between those meals she snacks on REAL food. If we’re eating fruit or a veggie smoothie for breakfast, she has some. If we made a salad for lunch/dinner, she has some too. Basically, we give her as many veggies and some fruit as she wants. You may need to start slowly if your dog is not used to eating this way. Try starting with broccoli stalks, the white parts of romaine lettuce, and cucumbers drizzled with olive oil or sardine oil. Eventually it’ll become a “foodie” and love “weirder” things like sauteed kale and green smoothies. So….I guess all that boils down to 1.) nutrition is important, so don’t try to skimp too much, but 2.) don’t forget about real veggies and fruit too. Hope this helps!

    • Joy says:

      @Joy,
      Just in case ~ remember not to feed your dog raisins, grapes, or avocado. If I remember correctly the grapes affect the dog’s kidneys, and the fat in the avocado can harm the dog’s liver. I didn’t know this at first and was feeding avocado to my dog!

  • V.K. says:

    If you have a small dog, making your own food may be much more cost effective and definitely much healthier for your dog. There are a number of BARF diet sites out there. I know I cut my pet food budget by half by making my own food. I make a batch and freeze it jars in the freezer and warm it up in warm water before feeding.

  • Andrea says:

    I think the real key to cutting health care costs is the same in people: weight management and practising good preventative medicine. Have your pet seen by your vet at least yearly and don’t skimp on preventative blood tests your vet may recommend. It is easier and cheaper to treat many serious diseases if found early and can extend the quality of life of your pet. If your vet recommends heartworm prevention or flea control, don’t ignore their advice. Heartworm disease costs less than $100 a year for most pets while heartworm treatment can cost $500-$1000.

    • Tammy says:

      @Andrea, While I wholeheartedly agree with this approach I am never one to pass up a bargain so here it is. My vet firmly believes you should buy your pet medications at the office or pharmacy if it is something she doesn’t stock. Her reason is simple she is cautious of expired medications which may not work or have side effects, counterfit medications, and the like…… She has a very simple practice which I use, in order to keep clients from buying medications such as flea and heartworm preventitives elsewhere she has a pricematch policy. If you find it online from a reputable company (ebay doesn’t count) which deals in pet supplies, print out the price and ad and take it to her she will sell it to you for the competitors advertised price. It can’t hurt to ask if you vet will do the same.

      • Desire' H. says:

        @Tammy,
        I would definitely do this for the heartworm medication! For flea meds, we get from Drs. FosterSmith which is a very reputable company. We’ve not had any problems with them!

  • Dawn says:

    You can sign up for different pet food manufacturers’ email newsletters and often they will include coupons in the newlsetter. Sometimes they’ve given opportunities to take a survey and get nice high value coupons to use.

  • Jay says:

    Sam’s Club is a great choice, but if you are not a member then go to Walmart. The cat litter, food, toys, etc is about 30% less then your local pet store. My cat’s favorite toy cost $1.99.

    You can also save money on prescription medications for your pet at Walmart or local grocery store. Unlike Walgreen’s and CVS, your pet will qualify for drugs on the $4 drug list (steroids, antibiotics, etc.)

  • Rachel says:

    For flea and tick treatment, you can use a mixture of lavendar oil and water and spray it on before your dog goes outside. It has seemed to work for our dog and is much cheaper than monthly flea treatments.

  • brandy says:

    I get great deals on premium dog food for my miniature schnauzer (granted, she doesn’t eat a whole lot) by applying my normal shopping methods to her food. I combine store dollars-off coupons with manufacturers coupons. Wellness brand has a lot of great coupons and is available locally to me. Treats I get at kmart doubles for nearly free.

  • Christi says:

    My dog recently started having a reaction to her mid-grade dog food and I had to upgrade to expense dog food (bummer, but cheaper and healthier than all of those vet visits!).

    The smaller-chain pet store in my town gives me a free bag for every 10 I buy, and if I ask they always give me a coupon. I’ve found this to be a much cheaper way to go about getting the expensive stuff than going to a big-box pet store. Not great, but better at least.

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