Start a Pet Sitting Co-op

If you own a pet, finding a place for it to stay when you go on vacation can be an expensive proposition. House cats can often fend for themselves as long as someone comes in every day to feed them and clean their litter box. It’s a perfect job for a neighborhood child. Dogs, however, require a little more attention.

Babysitting co-ops for children have taken off in many areas, so why not start a co-op for dogs. You and your friends can save some money and your dog will most likely be happier than it would be at a kennel.

If it’s just between a couple of friends, you probably don’t need to do any record keeping. However, as more people join, you might want to set up some kind of point system in order to keep everyone happy. One method would be to award one point per hour to the pet sitter. The person who is using the service would, in turn, deduct one point per hour.

You will probably find that you use one or two sitters more than others because your pets are more compatible. This is a win win situation. You save money and your pet gets to play with its friends.

Make Your Own Dog Food

If you have a large dog or more than one, you may find yourself spending a lot of money to feed it. Making your own dog food can cut your costs, and allow you to have control over the ingredients. If you decide to do this, you should consult with your veterinarian first to determine the best diet for your pet.

There are many recipes available on the internet, but a good place to get started is here: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Homemade-Pet-Food/Detail.aspx. This site also offers advice on foods to avoid.

There are many co-ops throughout the world which buy raw meat and bones at very reasonable prices. As with all co-ops, they are dependent on volunteers, and there is usually a work requirement. However, the savings can be significant. A list of some of the co-ops can be found here: http://www.dogaware.com/diet/rawgroups.html. Most of these sites have forums and advice on issues relating to dogs. If there are none in your area, you may want to consider starting one.

Grow Your Own Catnip

Opinions vary as to whether or not you should give your cat catnip. However, if you don’t have a problem with it, and your cat likes it, you can easily grow your own to use in toys.

After the danger of frost has passed in the spring, sow catnip seeds in a sunny area of your yard. Once the plants have produced flowers, remove the flowers and leaves and lay flat on a newspaper indoors where they can dry. Make sure to put them in an area where your cat won’t be able to reach. After they have dried, store them in a sealed container.

You can use old socks or mittens to make toys. Child or baby sizes work best, but if you don’t have any, you can always pick some up at a yard sale or thrift shop. Just add some catnip and sew the opening tightly closed.

Your cat will probably also enjoy the plants in your yard, so you may have to protect them in order to keep them from being ruined. However, it is a perennial and will return the following year.

Can You Afford a Pet?

There are millions of pet owners throughout the world, and their care has become a thriving business for such varied professions as veterinarians, groomers, insurance agents and dog walkers to name just a few. It’s hard to resist a cute puppy or kitten, especially when your child is begging for one. However, many people don’t realize that the costs of pet ownership can add up quickly.

Food alone is something you have to factor in when deciding whether or not to add a pet to your family. A small cat may not require much, but a large dog can consume a lot. If it develops a medical problem, you may find that it requires a special diet.

Medical expenses can be huge, just as they are for humans. Unfortunately, animals do get sick or injured sometimes. You may be able to afford neutering or basic vaccinations, but what about a kidney operation? The cost of tests to determine what ails them also have to be considered.

If you don’t have someone to take care of your pet when you go away, or just off to work, you may need the services of a dog walker or a kennel.

Dog training may be necessary, particularly if you own one that is destructive or is prone to biting strangers. If someone files a claim against you because your dog bit them, you may end up paying higher premiums on your home insurance.

It’s important to think about these costs before jumping into pet ownership. Some pets, such as a free kitten from a friend, or a few fish are much more affordable. Animal shelters also have cats and dogs to adopt, although you often have to pay for the necessary shots. Pure bred dogs or specialty breeds require more up front costs and often more routine care. It also helps to do your research to see the types of health problems associated with specific breeds.