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Sat, Jan. 25

PRACTICAL SAVER: Ways to save money taking care of man's best friend

Humans love their pets and our family is no exception. It is no secret that caring for our furry friends can be expensive, though. Today we are going to touch on some cost-effective ways to groom, vaccinate and feed your pets.

Grooming dogs is an expense that needs to be considered for many breeds. Since our family owns three Shih Tzus, we have learned that grooming and clipping our dogs at home is more cost effective. To make this successful, we invested in a higher quality set of clippers to perform the task. To find tips on how to clip your dog, a quick search of YouTube will provide many videos and tutorials. Search "grooming (the breed of your dog)" to locate videos.

If grooming your dog at home is not an option, you may want to stretch the amount of time between visits to the groomer. This can be done by performing maintenance grooming on your own. Invest in a round-tip pair of scissors to clip around key areas such as ears, eyes, feet, and backside. Toenails can also become an issue if not taken care of properly. A small investment of nail clippers from the pet department will pay off quickly by keeping the dog's nails manageable.

Another area where savings can be explored is with vaccinations. The Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic off Centerpointe Dr. on 89A in Prescott (928-771-0547) is an excellent option. They provide walk-in vaccinations every Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Services they offer include most vaccines for $16, nail trimming for $5-$10 and micro chipping for $15. In addition, spay and neuter services are available. The fee to neuter a dog 26 - 50 pounds is $75 and to spay the same sized dog is $90. For cats, neuters are $42 and spays are $60, no matter the size of the animal.

Many vaccinations, with the exception of the rabies shot, can also be given at home by purchasing them at a feed store. Again, YouTube is a great resource to learn how to vaccinate your pets. You can also ask your vet, as well as conduct research at the library. It is actually very simple to vaccinate your pets and this will save your household a significant amount of money.

The quality of dog food is another very important factor to consider. Because pets eat the same foods day after day, the preservatives in the food can accumulate and cause health issues. As a way to keep your dog healthier, "all natural" food is recommended by many professionals. In our area, there are many retail stores that sell high quality food (Olsen's, Pet Headquarters, Tractor Supply, Petsmart, Petco). In addition, there is a dog food delivery company that our family has used for several years that delivers high quality food directly to your home. You can learn more at www.NaturalPetFoodDelivery.com.

One way to keep the level of quality high and keep costs down is by making your own dog food. Our neighbor's favorite resource is the book, "The Dog Ate It," by Linda West Eckhardt and Barbara Bradly. She enjoys this book because it has recipes for cooking for yourself as well as your dogs, which saves time by not having to make them a separate meal.

When purchasing a pet, the Yavapai Humane Society offers a phenomenal value. The price of each adoption includes a free trip to the veterinarian, up-to-date immunizations, plus the animal has already been spayed or neutered. At various times, the Humane Society will include discount offers from different manufacturers. For example, when we adopted our Shih Tzu, we received a coupon good for a large bag of all natural dog food, several bags of dog treats, and a dog bed. These offers vary from time to time, but they add a little something to an already fabulous value.

The topic of pets could go on and on as there are many ways to care for man's best friends. Hopefully these tips will make your wallet and your pet happy.

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It is with great emotion that I report that this is the last Practical Saver column. The columns have been a huge blessing to me and I have had the joy of learning alongside you. There is a change of season in the Rozendaal house. The teenagers are getting older, and now more than ever they need Mom to be a little less distracted and be available. The decisions they are making now have lifelong impact. Thank you for your support.

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