Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How some pet owners cut costs without cutting care to their animals

Studies show pets improve the health and well-being of pet owners. But when finances are tight, pet owners must look for ways to cut expenses that don't sacrifice the well-being of their animals.

First-time pet owners often are surprised to learn that a four-legged companion can be nearly as expensive to maintain as a child. Just ask Clare Rose Gawlik of Joliet.Gawlik grew up with cats and dogs. Now that she has her own place, she realized she missed the closeness those furry creatures bring.

Last month she checked out a litter of dachshund pups, cuddled one and decided on the spot she must have the dog. Not until she bought little Esme home did Gawlik fully realize the expense of raising a pet.

Besides her wet and dry food, Esme's possessions so far include: a crate; one regular and one retractable leash; a harness; doggie treats; tags (including a special one Gawlik engraved); a big, stuffed cat; a little Teddy bear that squeaks; toy bones; pulling ropes; eight weeks of training classes; two veterinary exams; one round of shots; and a de-worming treatment.

"I had no idea, so it's been quite the experience," Gawlik said. "I've been looking for sales, but a bag of puppy food should last a long time because she doesn't eat much. The vet says that as long as I keep her healthy, she shouldn't be too expensive."


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