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Student Finance: Ways to Keep Pet Care Costs Down

Pets are fun, loyal companions... that can be very expensive. Here are some tips to keep Fido's bills down.

Health Care

Surgery and other medical procedures are the highest costs for pet owners. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, in 2005 vet visits cost dog owners an average of $800 and cat owners $500. But not all veterinary hospitals have the same pricing. Common procedures, such as checkups and vaccines, cost different prices depending on the hospital. Before you bring in the pooch, make phone calls to a couple of centers and ask about fees.

Medicine can cost the big bucks as well. According to an article at CNNMoney.com, animal doctors have a profit margin of 150% to 175% on many prescription drugs. There are many online pet medication websites where you can find drugs cheaper. Check out www.1800petmeds.com, www.petmeds.com, or the old fashioned brick and mortar businesses Costco and Sam's Club.

Also, remember, for around $80 to $100 you can get an annual checkup on your pooch or feline. Catching things early can save you big bucks in the long run.

Food

The pet food industry is a $15 billion industry. By some estimates, Americans spend as much on pet food annually as it would cost to feed the worlds poor three times over. So how do you cut down on your pet food costs? Learn what makes a quality meal and then shop around. CNNMoney says pet shops charge more than regular grocery stores, so you might want to skip the specialty shops. Quality pet food has a high amount of protein such as chicken or beef. Make sure your pet food is certified by 'The Association of American Feed Control Officials' (AAFCO). Pets of different ages need different types of food. Nutritional needs are different for puppies and kittens than for elder animals.


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