Posted in cats, dogs, pet health, pets

On the verge of frugality

It’s cold outside. It’s even cold inside, lately, and I notice the fur-full critters in our home are often found under the blankets, trying to get an extra layer of warmth while napping. Who isn’t making an effort in conserving energy in this economy?

Relax. There may be a few ways to trim the petcare budget without risking pet health.

–    If Fido is used to getting a trim and shampoo on a regular schedule, consider extending it a few days until the next appointment.
–    To keep pets cleaner longer, use an old dishpan with warm suds and an old towel to wash paws when bringing your pup inside from a walk. It will help remove mud, keep your floors cleaner longer, and prevent any chemicals from snowy roads or sidewalks from irritating paws.
–    Pets like warming up in a cozy lap. Keep a fleece throw or large bath towel handy by your favorite TV chair to make a lap liner, and extend the life of your clothes – less laundry and dry cleaning bills, and less vacuuming fur from clothes and furniture.
–    Save the packing peanuts from mail orders and fill an old pillowcase, stitching the end closed with a long straight stitch, to make a pet bed. When the case gets dirty, remove the filling so the cover can be washed and reused.
–    If your pet suffers from arthritis, it may find eating with its head down is uncomfortable. To see if raising your pet’s food bowl helps, try propping it up on some books to gauge how high it needs to be. This can be a long-term solution if you place a piece of non-slip drawer liner under your pet’s bowl to keep it firmly in place. There are bowl supports for sale at most pet supply stores, and now you can take your measuring tape along to see which fits your pet’s preferred height.
–    Plastic pet bowls may be cheaper and seem easier to clean, but your pet may have trouble with them sliding around. Check out ceramic or stainless steel bowls in the discount aisles for a heavier bowl. Plastic bowls may also irritate your pet’s skin, causing a type of acne, so use them with caution.
–    If your pet is on a special diet, try to purchase the largest quantity of food your purse can manage, without spoilage. There is usually a discount for the larger quantity, but don’t buy too much, if your pet won’t eat it all before the expiration or use-by date.
–    Clean scraps of cotton or wool materials can make ideal catnip toys for kitties, and clean, soft rope can be knotted in short lengths for teething puppies. Be sure that cloth or cording has been washed thoroughly, to remove any chemical treatments before your pet can sink its teeth into a homemade toy.
–    Parents know the age-old adage – save the box. Even pets will probably like playing with the corrugated cardboard boxes from other purchases, or cereal boxes that have been emptied. When your pet’s interest wanes, time to harvest the boxes for recycling at your closest municipal center.

If you have a number of animals at home, you’ll appreciate saving a few nickels here and there. We’re not talking radical changes here, but it can ease the burden a bit, if you’re inclined to be frugal.

And your pets won’t even notice the difference – except that maybe you’ll be a little happier – and wealthier.

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Owned by three cats over age 13