Airing weekdays at 7:30 A.M. on

Airing weekdays at 7:30 A.M. on

For many pet owners, it can feel challenging to cut costs without compromising on care. Here are a few suggestions to help you stretch your budget and treat Fido like the family member he is:

Get a membership that pays. You might think AAA is only for roadside assistance, but in fact, pet owners can enjoy additional discounts on pet care purchases. Savings may vary regionally, but it never hurts to ask.

Look into discount pet medications. Ask your local retail pharmacy if they have a pet program and always request vet-grade, over-the-counter, generic medications. They’re a fraction of the cost of brand-name treatments you’ll get at pharmacies such as WalMart, Costco, etc.

Find even more savings online. Pet food and cat litter are two of the biggest pet expenses. Instead of picking them up on your usual grocery run, try using an online retailer that provides an auto-ship service. The savings should more than make up for the shipping costs.

Purchase a pet insurance policy. According to American Pet Products Association, Americans spent almost $51 billion on pets in 2011, more than $13 billion of which was on vet care. By carefully reviewing deductibles and monthly payments to find the plan that’s best for you, you can ensure that pet insurance will fit into your budget and help defray large costs in the case of an emergency.

DIY. Ask your veterinarian or vet tech to teach you the techniques behind basic pet health and maintenance, so you can do as much as possible at home. Bathing, grooming, brushing your dog’s teeth and clipping his nails should all be fairly manageable.

For even more money-saving tips, visit www.APAW.org.

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