Ed Yourdon, 2/13/12, Key West, FL


Because our pets are family, we should spare no expense when it comes to their care and well being.  As consumers, however, we have budgets, so the following “Canine Cost Saving” tips will keep Fido happy and healthy –economically!

If you’re spending more time outdoors, you might be bringing pollens, dirt, fleas & ticks into the home.  Washing your dogs feet and brushing him after a good walk is always a good idea.  If the thought of bathing him is too much, consider grooming salons who offer “self-wash”.  Wag N’ Wash, for example,
offers self-wash services at half the cost of a full groom. They also offer a “Muddy Buddy” discount. Visit: http://www.wagnwash.com.

Another great product that keeps the dirt outside is Dirty Dog Doormat; an inexpensive yet effective rug for the front and back door.  It’s deep plush traps the dirt, is machine washable and decorative looking (I have one in my home and it really cuts down on the mopping!) Check it out @


High Quality Nutrition

Consider specialty foods as opposed to grocery-store brands. Cheaper foods are more expensive because more of it is needed to meet Fido’s nutritional needs. From “It’s Like a Miracle” by Dr. Soltero and Connie Stoffels: “There has been a marked deterioration in animal’s state of health in the last 35 years. Cancer has become the #1 killer and there is no close second… their current diets are pressure cooked to the point of sterilization which denatures the protein and eliminates the biologically active vitamins, enzymes and whatever else might have been healthy for your pet.”

Basically, many pet food products contain so many preservatives (to increase their shelf life) or animal by-products from who-knows-where, that while cheaper by the bag, the food quality is so low that your dog may be suffering in the long run (leading to more expensive Vet bills later).

Portion Control

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, almost 45% of pets in North America are overweight or obese. Why? We are over-feeding our pets! Because we feel guilty leaving them alone (“here’s a treat until I return”), cave to the “sad eyes” while enjoying our family meal, allow them to “free feed” or we just can’t help ourselves, the net result is packed pounds. You should be exercising your dog daily, not “over-treating”, and checking with your Vet regularly regarding your pet’s current vs. ideal weight.

Coupons & Discounts

In addition to the good ol’ Sunday paper (advertising special offers) check out big merchants on line, such as www.petflow.com. Also, many local high-quality grocers offer special discounts as well.  HINT: your small, local grocer may be willing to shave a little off the price if a product is nearing expiration. They can’t sell a product past its shelf life, so if you know your dog can safely consume contents before the expiration date, why not bargain a bit? Just sayin’….

Low-Cost Spay and Neuter clinics

Two phenomenal (local) organizations offer low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter services. Check out Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) @ https://aawl.org

and Friends of Animal Care & Control @ https://www.azfriendsofanimals.org for extremely flexible terms, hours and prices.

Toys and Accessories

I am a huge proponent of having LOTS of toys around to entertain Fido! All dogs, of all ages, need daily mental stimulation (at least 30 minutes per day). Having a basket of different toys gives your dog a fun opportunity to select her “prey”. While some dogs love to take them all out at once, others need the “thrill of the hunt” to find them (because you have carefully hid them under the couch and beds to create a treasure hunt). Some low-cost toys that you can make at home include:

(1). Zoey’s favorite: (this is from one of our clients that I have personally witnessed as immensely entertaining) Purchase a regular baby bottle (think Walmart) with rubber tipped nipple: snip the end of the nipple just enough for a treat to pass through. Zoey must figure out how to manipulate the bottle to get the treat to come out. NOTE: Do not cut too much so all the kibble comes out at once! (Buy extra nipples just in case)! Consider putting a larger bone/bully stick in the bottle to ensure that the treats don’t spill out too soon or easily. Because the bottle is plastic, this is not a good toy for dogs that might shred the plastic to get at the treats. Best if offered under supervised conditions.

(2). Fill a regular muffin tray with tennis balls instead. Set on the floor and let Fido figure out how to get those balls out!

(3). Wrap a regular water bottle in one of your t-shirts or old towels; tie a knot at both ends.

For more home-made dog toy ideas visit: http://thebarkpost.com/3-dog-toys-you-can-make-from-things-around-the-house/

Foster or Adopt a Pet

If you are craving canine companionship and aren’t quite ready to take the leap (emotionally or financially) into permanent ownership, consider Fostering a pet for a local rescue. Sadly, there are way too many animals waiting for forever homes. If you are thinking about expanding your furry family, adopting a shelter pet is far cheaper than purchasing one from a breeder.

Call me if you have specific questions or needs! Doolittle’s Doghouse works closely with several rescue groups and we will gladly help you find your next companion!

Hugs & Happy Tails always!

(Feel free to send us your cost-saving tip ideas!)


Photo credit: Ed Yourdon, Key West, FL


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