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June 20, 2008


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I'm not sure I agree with #7. Dogs and cats have significantly different dietary needs than humans do; get this one wrong and the cost of the health problems can easily overwhelm any money you might have saved.

In response to #5:
Banfield (the vet clinics in PetSmart) provides "wellness hours" usually twice a week for healthy pet vaccinations. During those hours they give a free physical exam so you are responsible for only the cost of vaccines if your pet is healthy. It's first come, first serve so be prepared to wait if it is busy. Call up your local Banfield to find when they offer wellness hours and what records you need to bring. Don't try to bring a sick pet in during this time (its called "wellness" not "sickness" hours) or you will have to pay for the exam.

Don't buy your pet toys? If you saw the way my dogs run to their basket and grab a toy when I get home from work, you might feel differently. Why bother even having a pet if you're just going to leave them outside and not buy anything to keep them entertained? Or maybe you think pets ARE toys.

David --

Seems to me you could MAKE pet toys out of old socks, rope, etc. for virtually nothing.

I'm sure you could, and I have plenty of improvised toys for my dogs, but why include "skipping them" as part of your suggestion?

David --

I also included making your own.

Here are 8 ways to green your pet environment that does not include pet supplies stores:

How to Green Your Pet!

1. Adopt from a shelter
2. Spay or neuter your pet
3. Rein in your pets; protect native wildlife
4. Swap out the junk food
5. Clean up their poop
6. Give them sustainable goods
7. Use natural pet-care and cleaning products
8. Tag your pet


our cats love their toys. They also like chasing old shoestrings, sleeping in shoeboxes, batting at rolled-up aluminum foil, and playing with bubble wrap.

Right, FMF, we covered that. My question is, why would you even consider not getting your pet any toys at all? Are you that cheap that you would recommend buying a pet and then giving it nothing to do?

David - my 2 dogs never play with toys, maybe FMF has had a similar experience with dogs. They are content to run around outside, then come in and lay around the house.

My dog also refuses to play with toys, even if she's around other dogs with toys she's never interested.

I made my dog her own bed with some leftover fabric. She loves it, it looks great, and it's really easy to wash. I also buy meds online - often has even better deals with some of the more popular companies than you can find on their website. Additionally, there are some good sites with online pet coupons.

David --

What Kevin and Cami said.

Contrary to your opinion, pets don't HAVE to have toys.

Also, if you need prescription food or medicine, you can often get it cheaper online than from the vet. My cat requires special food that's only available via prescription, and it's expensive! I shopped around and found it cheaper online. Much cheaper. You just need to get the vet to write you a prescription as they won't ship without it. Even after shipping, the food I buy is still 30-40% cheaper buying it online than getting it from the vet.


"Contrary to your opinion, pets don't HAVE to have toys."

Right, and neither do kids (or anybody, for that matter), but it's still nice to treat them now and then. If you find your pet doesn't play with its toys, count that as one thing you'll be saving money on. However, your tips when it comes to pets seem to revolve around cutting corners as much as possible with little regard to the welfare of the animal. If that's how you approach it, your number one tip should be: don't get a pet in the first place.

Regarding toys. One "cat rule" that I read and found to be true is that the cat's interest in toy is inversely proportional to the toy's cost. My cat vastly prefers home-made toys and ping-pong balls to any toy in pet store.

Other tips.
- Clean the litter box often. The cleaner the box the less like would the cat look elsewhere.

- Keep the cat indoors. Safer, no need to worry about fleas, and need fewer vaccinations.

- Learn which vaccinations are actually recommended by American Veterinary Association and, in case of cats, American Association of Feline Practitioners and how often. Don't blindly follow what your vet says - some vets don't like recommendations. You can google for it. For cats you can also check recommendations on Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma task force web site. Some vaccines are approved once every three years not every year, in some cases (FVRCP) there have been studies that showed that immunity lasts even longer. FELV is only recommended for cats that go outside. This is not just money - you want your cat protected from these deseases, but you have to balance it against the risk of VAFS (vaccine-associated feline sarcoma).

My dogs LOVE to play with toys. I get squeaky ones, and they chase them all over and chew them. When the squeaker wears out, I buy new ones. You can check regularly with the stores to find sales and special prices.
Also, the toys help keep them entertained when I'm gone.

I have to shed light on #8. Yes, you can save money, but you do get what you pay for. Just because my friend can say "cut my hair" I still want a professional hair dresser to do it. Just like I would always want a professional pet sitter in my home rather than a family member, friend or neighbor. What happens if something goes wrong? I have to borrow extra favors from them? I have to bring them back a gift? I am obligated to do the same in return for them? It is just not convenient for my lifestyle and I would always recommend a professional pet sitter. Not only are my pets well taken care of by professionals who know what to look for to make sure my pet is happy and healthy, but also my home! My most VALUABLE asset I own! I certainly want a trained professional (pet sitter) taking care making sure there are no water leaks, heating and AC units are working properly, no one has broken in, etc. To me hiring a professional pet sitter is INVALUABLE!!! You get what you pay for in life :-)

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