Living Frugally With Pets

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Old 02-06-2014, 07:02 PM
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Living frugally with pets

I am new, and this is the first thread I started, so I hope it is in the right place.

I have always had pets ever since I was little. Currently I have two cats who I love dearly but I know that ever time I have to buy stuff form them I have to up my shopping budget for that trip.

I always use coupons (when I can) for their food and litter. I hate to admit I am not very good about timing sales or having a stockpile for cat stuff so sometimes I just have to suck it up pay full price for their food and litter.

I do what I can when I can, I try to use coupons and shop sales for all there stuff. I do have a littermaid (a must for my husband, he hates the idea of a dirty litter box). The plastic litter catchers are expensive and can be a big waste of money.

So one think I think I do right is I line the plastic litter catcher with plastic groceries bag. So when it time to empty all I have to do is remove the bag and tie it off. This way the clean up is easier and the plastic bins last longer.

Also, I have never paid full price for any of the plastic littler catchers. When I first got the littermaid my older sister gave me some of her old bins. Then all the others I have bought have come from the thrift stores.

I know some people think owning pets can be a wastes of money. Others think it just an animal buy the cheapest and move on. But to me they are family, really they are my kids.

So what I was wondering what others do to live frugally with their pets. Any ideas or tips on getting better deals.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:17 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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I have three dogs and what helps me is clearance shopping for them after holidays. Christmas is the best, but I also can find stuff after halloween and valentines day too. I usually stock up on toys and rawhides after christmas when they are 50% off , 75% off,and sometimes stuff is even left at 90% off!! I will give them some of it throughout the new year and then save some of it for the next christmas. They don't care if they are chewing on a santa toy during summer,. I also started trimming my yorkies hair myself,which saves me $40bucks. I get better at it each time. I also have a hamster and make him treats myself. I save our eggshells and pour a little honey and hamster food in it. Makes a special treat for him and gives him some good vitamins/nutrients from eggshell.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:39 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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DH and I have 4 cats. They are on special diet food because one of the males has trouble with UTI's (he also had a $1600 emergency vet visit for being totally stopped up and unable to urinate) and I could not get him to eat the foot without the others stealing it, or him stealing theirs. So I switched them all too it after getting the ok from my vet.

I use coupons for litter when I can but I only use cat's pride because it has the least perfume added but still is good for odor and clumping. I'd love a self cleaning box but I never trusted them.

So, our pets are pretty unfrugal around here but we love them to pieces, they are our "children". It's funny, if I was sick and it cost me $500 to see the Dr. I'd be pissed, but I don't think twice about taking them to the vet.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:57 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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This is a good thread!

We have two dogs. One of them has a grain intolerance, so we feed them both grain-free food. I've found that most of the better brands have very similar formulas for their grain-free food, so I've been lucky that I can jump around among a handful of brands to make the best of coupons and sales - without having to worry about it being hard on my dogs' digestive systems!
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:18 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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We feed our dogs the highest quality lamb or chicken food that we can justify buying. It's not the top quality, but better for them than the lower quality stuff. We get it at Tractor Supply usually. 40 pounds for about $30. That will last about 3 weeks for all 3 dogs. There usually aren't coupons unless they are general $$ off $$$ store coupons.

We've given them the brands from the grocery store in the past (Purinas and Pedigrees), including the "fancy" ones. They usually gobble it down like it's candy and they finish the same-sized bag in about half the time. Cause so much of it is to them like junk food is to us.

What we've found is that the dogs don't eat as much of the better food, so it ends up costing less pound-for-pound. It doesn't move through their digestive systems as quickly as the corn-based foods do, so they're getting more of the nutrients they need and they don't eat as often. And their stools are firmer than they were with the cheaper foods. TMI probably, but that's a good thing if you're cleaning up after them in the yard. And they don't have as much gas as they do with the other brands. .
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:14 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Our dog has a gluten allergy, really any grains but gluten gives him hot spots and he vomits. So I switched his diet from nutro diet(has grains expensive) to Nutro grain free. Then we switched again to Rachel Rays Zero grain it is 20 dollars cheaper. so instead of 240 a year, it costs us 120 a year.

I just wish I would have realized his allergy sooner. Hubs has been feeding him expensive brand of crap with grains all his life and he always had vomiting issues. better late than never. His health has improved.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:01 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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This is a tough one, because pets can be so expensive. I'll be watching this thread for ideas, and here's a couple of ideas I've had over the years...

FWIW we currently have one dog and two cats. I've had two cats in the past with insulin dependent diabetes. Two cats (one past, one present) with urinary blockage issues. Thankfully our beagle is healthy, although she does have knee issues which may need surgery in the future (I'm praying not).

-shop around for a vet, call around and ask prices, you may find that there is a wide difference in pricing, and you may be just as comfortable with the cheaper vet (I was!). I changed vets when we adopted our two current cats and have saved quite a bit over the past 1 1/2 years.

-feed the best food you can afford. Read labels and do not buy food with the first ingredient listed as "corn" or "maize" - these are cheap fillers. The first ingredient should always be meat. IMO, for cats, canned food is always better than dry. IMO, no cat needs carbohydrates- they eat mice and birds in the wild, not rice and corn. It's sort of a "pay now or pay later" situation- better food now or more vet bills later.

-don't be afraid to try different litters to maybe find one that's cheaper, at worst it will stink for a while until you run out and buy a different one. I used to prefer Fresh Step but I would buy an off brand every other time and mix it in, because Fresh Step is expensive. I just recently found this new Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal and I like it a lot, it works better than Fresh Step and has no dust either (Fresh Step was horrible with the dust). Arm & Hammer always puts out coupons too.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:28 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tratra View Post
What we've found is that the dogs don't eat as much of the better food, so it ends up costing less pound-for-pound. It doesn't move through their digestive systems as quickly as the corn-based foods do, so they're getting more of the nutrients they need and they don't eat as often. And their stools are firmer than they were with the cheaper foods. TMI probably, but that's a good thing if you're cleaning up after them in the yard. And they don't have as much gas as they do with the other brands. .
I agree too. the cheaper/generic food you food is mostly fillers and you will end up with a very messy yard.

Feed them good quality food they eat less and poop less.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:29 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Buy any dog toys at dollar stores. My dogs rip so many toys apart with in minutes, so I've started paying $1 at the most for them. What was said about the after-Christmas clearances is good advice too. Pets don't care if their toys are holiday-themed, so buy them on clearance and they have cheap toys for the entire year.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:39 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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I used to buy toys and treats from petedge.com they have a bunch in the magazine that are sometimes .99 - 1.49 or so.

only thing is orders under $60 have a 6.99 processing fee and there is shipping.. but if you buy a bunch of stuff at once, it could still be cheaper than the store considering they sell the same toys for like $5+ each...
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:00 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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I forgot about toys. Two of ours like to play with them and I'll usually go to the goodwill outlet and get balls and stuffed animals for them. The animals are $.50 for the small ones and $1.00 for the ones that are longer than 12". They're probably pretty cheap at regular thrifts, too. I buy a bunch at a time and sterilize them in the washing machine, then pull one out when the first one gets demolished. The dogs like the monkeys with long arms and legs.

If you go that route, be sure to leave behind the ones that have pellets or beads in them. And avoid those with plastic eyes/nose if you can.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:26 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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We just recently got a kitten. I started working her into the budget and putting her stuff in my price book and found that it costs just as much per pound for her kitty litter as it does for food - without coupons or sales. And I'm paying twice as much for her kitty food per pound as I am the dog's food. Thankfully, about 3 weeks after getting her, my grocery store marked down some litter that was normally $8.99 to $4.99 and the some of the boxes had a $3 coupon on the box. I went thru and bought every single one that had a coupon on them. My hubby was mad that I spent that much money at once ... o'well. I wish I could have found more boxes with coupons....

So my advice is .....#1 price out your food and litter by pound and know your stock up price and #2 stock up when you find a sale and/or coupon that gets you at or below your stock up price......buy as many as you have the money for at the time.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:27 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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A note about stocking up on food when there's a sale and/or you have coupons....

Buy a trashcan and pour the food in it if you're going to do it because pet food is a magnet for mice. The more pet food you have, even if it's in sealed bags, the more likely your house is to attract mice.

TRUST ME.

With our three dogs, we have to buy tons of food, and I used to make the mistake of buying several bags at once and it kept attracting mice. Now we put it in a trashcan and the mice don't come now.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:17 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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We buy the largest size Advantage flea control for dogs. We put it into a light sensitive glass bottle. We dose it out for our cats and dogs. You can't use Advantix though, as it will kill the cats!!!! However, the dog and cat advantage are the same formula. Heard of this at the pet store and researched it online. My vet's office confirmed the dosing too. Has saved us lots of money for flea control.

You can find the info on various sites, but here is a quick one I found:
Amazon.com: Nunja Business' review of Bayer Advantage II Blue 4-Month Flea Contr...

Another link:
http://www.lisaviolet.com/cathouse/advantage.html
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:41 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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We also use several of the Breeze cat litter box systems to save on cat litter:
Breeze® Litter System from Tidy Cats®

We have one litter box with regular litter, and four with the Breeze system in our "litter room". Plus another of each box upstairs. Some of our cats are picky, and prefer good old fashioned litter. The Breeze systems just get scooped out, and instead of buying the special pad inserts they say to use, we use newspaper in the pull out cleaning tray, whoch works fine. There are usually coupons for these systems, so when they go on sale, they are a better deal (usually at Petsmart). Maybe once or twice a year we have to add more of the granules, but we buy them with a coupon too. I think these help us save a lot on litter. One of my cats refuses to use it though (my declawed rescue Boo-Boo). I am thinking with part of her joint basically cut off in declawing (not me, some idiot prior owner!) that maybe it hurts her to step on them? She uses the regular box.

We used to have the cat genie which I loved and hated. The concept was great, if it worked like it should. However, it frequently malfunctioned, even after repeatedly taking it apart to clean it. When it would dry the cat litter, the smell from the fan blowing the granules dry was horrible! Some people have even made some sort of containment exhaust hoods themselves to put the box into to bypass the stench.

They made another model after the one I had, but not sure if it had worked out the kinks. DH would not let me get a new one. Plus the cost of the cleaning canisters was expensive, so you never really saved much money. There was a man who sort of did a "jail-break" version of the cleaning canisters, but I never bought it (eBay).

We recently got a groupon deal on Citikitty toilet training systems:
CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit - OFFICIAL SITE: Save Over $2,000 on kitty litter, no mess, no cleaning, no litter box!

They go for like $30, but I paid $9.99 I think? DH has to try them out. Not expecting the 20 year old cat to use it though...! It's worth a shot anyway.
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~I got a fever, and the only cure is....more coupons!~
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:53 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Originally Posted by beatlebutt81 View Post
Buy a trashcan and pour the food in it if you're going to do it because pet food is a magnet for mice. The more pet food you have, even if it's in sealed bags, the more likely your house is to attract mice.

TRUST ME.
Ants too

This is a very good suggestion!
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:56 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Wow, lot of good advice and ideas here. I was not sure what to expect when I started this thread. I know a lot of people don't bother with pets because they are costly.

But I am glad to see a there are people who can for lack of better words live frugally with pets.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:57 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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We buy the largest size Advantage flea control for dogs. We put it into a light sensitive glass bottle. We dose it out for our cats and dogs. You can't use Advantix though, as it will kill the cats!!!! However, the dog and cat advantage are the same formula. Heard of this at the pet store and researched it online. My vet's office confirmed the dosing too. Has saved us lots of money for flea control.

You can find the info on various sites, but here is a quick one I found:
Amazon.com: Nunja Business' review of Bayer Advantage II Blue 4-Month Flea Contr...

Another link:
advantage for multi cat homes
I do the same thing with Frontline Plus for my dog. I buy it in "bulk" via ebay and amazon.com and then use a marked dropper to administer the correct dose. It's so much cheaper than buying the individual vials!!

Be sure to review the seller's feedback and information/location. I buy from US sellers only.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:58 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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This is a tough one, because pets can be so expensive. I'll be watching this thread for ideas, and here's a couple of ideas I've had over the years...

FWIW we currently have one dog and two cats. I've had two cats in the past with insulin dependent diabetes. Two cats (one past, one present) with urinary blockage issues. Thankfully our beagle is healthy, although she does have knee issues which may need surgery in the future (I'm praying not).

-shop around for a vet, call around and ask prices, you may find that there is a wide difference in pricing, and you may be just as comfortable with the cheaper vet (I was!). I changed vets when we adopted our two current cats and have saved quite a bit over the past 1 1/2 years.

-feed the best food you can afford. Read labels and do not buy food with the first ingredient listed as "corn" or "maize" - these are cheap fillers. The first ingredient should always be meat. IMO, for cats, canned food is always better than dry. IMO, no cat needs carbohydrates- they eat mice and birds in the wild, not rice and corn. It's sort of a "pay now or pay later" situation- better food now or more vet bills later.

-don't be afraid to try different litters to maybe find one that's cheaper, at worst it will stink for a while until you run out and buy a different one. I used to prefer Fresh Step but I would buy an off brand every other time and mix it in, because Fresh Step is expensive. I just recently found this new Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal and I like it a lot, it works better than Fresh Step and has no dust either (Fresh Step was horrible with the dust). Arm & Hammer always puts out coupons too.
I saw the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal the other day while I was buying Tidy Cat. Came home to find a coupon for the Arm & Hammer, so I will definitely be trying that one next.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:01 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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For my son (dog), we get his flea and tick and heartworm online much better price. Get lots of treats when new products come up and have good coupons, dog food is one brand it works well with him. We also have pet insurance in case something major happens, only 1 year did it even pay for itself, but we wont haver a crippleing payment either. Get alot of toys and treats as X=mas presents from the family so that gets him through alot of the year.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:18 AM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Living frugal with pets can be a challege. For my cats I purchase most of their food from Petco. My local Petco usually has a lot of "OOP's" pet food that range from 25-50% off. Combined with coupons I get a pretty good score. Most cat chow is name brand and good for cats. For example, yesterday I went on my weekly scope out and found they had Iams cat can food for 25 cents each. I only had one MQ for B2G1 left and had $5Petco bucks (rewards for spenting a $100 over time) In the end I spent 83 cents for 24 cans. I usaully do not buy can food but I am baby sitting my mom's cat for a extented period and he only has 4 fangs and can not eat solid food.
Also, since I shop at Petco often I recieve plently of mailer and email coupons for pet food. Lately I have recieved 2 free bag of the Purina cat chow and $5-$10 off a bag. I also print coupons off the Petco website and combine with MQ to get a sweet deal.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:51 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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My cats are my kids too I am an expert at pet savings. To start with email! All the pet food companies and litter companies! Tell them all your pets love their stuff and ask for coupons! You can email every 30 days and they'll send you coupons! I love Ingles, Publix, and Food Lion bec they do pet food b1g1 regularly and then I go to couponclippers to order coupons. Last month Ingles had Friskies 3.15lb bags b1g1. Then I had coupons. Each $4.99 bag became $1.75 so I bought 42 bags. Had to go to 4 stores because my 8 snobs only love Seafood Sensations.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:01 PM

RE: Living frugally with pets

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Thanks for this thread! I have a really stubborn and picky puppy and I'm looking for some toys and treats for him. I usually buy in bulk without coupon. Hope to find coupons here.
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