Top Ten Tips to Save on Pet Care |

Discover our top ten tips to save on pet care. Since we pet lovers want to provide the very best care for our animal companions, expenses often end up being more than anticipated. Thankfully, there are smart ways to cut the cost of your pet’s upkeep without sacrificing health or happiness.1. Think about cost before you choose a pet. If you are still at the stage of trying to pick out a new pet, you may want to make cost an important element of your decision making process. For example, larger dogs typically cost more money than average sized cats or small dogs. The biggest dog breeds need a lot more food and much larger beds.However, size is not the only thing worth considering. Some pet breeds are more prone to chronic illnesses or genetic defects that lead to frequent vet trips and a need for medical treatments. For example, Ragdoll cats have a predisposition to develop cardiomyopathy which can eventually lead to heart failure or dangerous blood clots. Do your research, and try to pick a pet that has a reputation for having robust physical health.2. Consider rescuing an animal. Buying a pet from a breeder allows you to obtain information about an animal’s genetic lineage, which may help to guard against health problems. However, rescuing an unwanted animal from a shelter or rescue center is a loving, worthwhile thing to do and can end up saving you a substantial amount of money. Some rescue organizations only ask you to donate what you can afford. Sometimes the price of the pet will include the price of spaying or neutering.3. Make pet toys at home. You may be surprised by the hours of joy that a cat or dog can get from very simple household items. For example, pet owners often complain that their cat shuns an elaborate new scratching tower in favor of the cardboard box!Instead of emptying your wallet at the pet store, use your imagination to create fun, safe sources of entertainment. Old t-shirts can be turned into knotted tug-toys for energetic dogs, while many cats will happily chase a plastic bottle top across a wooden floor.4. Practice preventative healthcare. You can guard against certain medical problems throughout your pet’s lifetime by planning proper nutrition. Food becomes more “functional” when supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals. And to assure a completely nutritious diet, more and more holistic vets are recommending daily herbs for cats and dogs to protect your pet from a wide range of dangerous and costly diseases.In addition, neutered or spayed pets are not as susceptible to certain health problems. Female cats are less likely to develop mammary tumors. Male dogs have a reduced risk of testicular cancer. This one surgical procedure is far cheaper (and less traumatic) than what you can expect to endure if your pet develops a serious health problem.5. Another of our top ten tips to save on pet care is to research different vets. Before you choose a vet for your pet, it is worth spending some time researching the local options and trying to find a place that will be less expensive.In addition, if you have already chosen a vet and feel that the bills are unreasonably high, it is never too late to change to a new one. But it is not wise to choose the cheapest option without reading reviews. Always choose a vet with a good reputation if you want to make sure that your furry friend will be in good hands.6. Buy secondhand pet supplies. You can find all kinds of useful items on online auction sites and pages that allow people to post classified advertisements. Explore Craigslist and eBay in order to find leashes, collars, toys and pet beds that are now unwanted. These items tend to be a lot cheaper when bought secondhand.7. Next in our top ten tips to save on pet care is to consider buying pet insurance. If you get pet insurance for your beloved animal you will be able to relax in the knowledge that almost any medical treatment can be made available if needed. This measure may save vast sums of money in the event of an accident or a sudden health emergency. Some insurance policies even include annual health screenings.It is important to note that most do not cover congenital defects. You should always read the small print before selecting a pet insurance policy.8. Look for free boarding options. If you have reliable friends and family members, try to convince one or more of them to take care of your animal if you need to travel without your pet. Many pet boarding facilities charge exorbitant prices for very basic care, and your pet will be much happier staying in the familiar surroundings of a loved one’s home.9. Watch for healthcare promotions. Sometimes you will find that vets or animal shelters spend a few weeks promoting certain forms of healthcare by offering them for lower prices. Some months spaying or neutering procedures will be less expensive. This can end up saving you a lot of money.10. Last of our top ten tips to save on pet care is to have symptoms investigated early. It’s best for your pet and your financial situation if you seek medical advice any time you are worried about your pet’s health.For example, if your dog has been coughing a lot or you have noticed an increase in your cat’s drinking, a timely visit to the vet may yield quick and effective treatments. On the other hand, if you wait until symptoms progress, you will be risking your pet’s health and your bank balance at the same time.

Budgeting and Pets – What Types of Pets Can You Afford? |

Many people prefer the company of a pet but many people are not aware of or fail to think of everything involved with pet ownership. There are many things to consider before choosing to introduce a pet into your life.Many people think that the first thing to consider with pet ownership is what type of pet to choose. The first question is actually – do you rent or own your residence? If you own then you may move on to the next question. If you rent, however, there are some important considerations.If you are renting then run it past the landlord/property manager for approval. Failure to seek approval ahead of time could lead to termination of your rental contract later. Here some things to discuss with the landlord:• What type of pet can you get? Some species of pets are not acceptable.• What size pet is acceptable? Some places do not allow large dogs.• How many pets are allowed? There is usually a limit on the number of pets allowed, regardless of size or species.• Is there a pet deposit and/or rent surcharge? In most cases an extra security deposit is required, which may not be refundable. In some cases the monthly rental rate itself may be increased due to a pet surcharge.Whether you rent or own the next thing to consider is what type of pet can you afford. Ask yourself how much you can afford in both time and money.Let’s talk about money here. The cost of a pet is broken up into start up costs and maintenance costs. The cost to acquire the pet is not included in the start up costs. What is included are things like initial medical expenses (spay/neuter, vaccination shots, etc.), training, litter box, aquarium and so on. The first year of ownership, which includes initial (start up) and maintenance costs, is as follows:• Large Dog: $1800 or more• Medium Dog: $1500 or more• Small Dog: $1400 or more• Cat: $1025 or more• Small mammal: $330 or more• Small Bird: $260 or more• Fish: $225 or moreIn terms of food alone the annual estimates are listed below:• Large Dog: $250 or more• Medium Dog: $135 or more• Small Dog: $70 or more• Cat: $130 or more• Small mammal: $65 or more• Small Bird: $90 or more• Fish: $35 or moreNote: The annual maintenance cost of a small dog is less than that for a cat.Maintenance costs are lower but a responsible pet owner understands that maintenance costs consist of not just pet food but also ongoing health care. Your best friend’s pet care can be costly. There can also be grooming expenses, toys, litter, snacks or even health insurance premiums. Other considerations are that animals grow out of cages, cages break, leashes wear out, scratching posts need replacement, aquarium equipment breaks down, and so on.Some people like all animals but most of us have our preferences. No matter how much you prefer one over another or even how badly you want to bring a pet into your life you need to consider your budget. Cheap pets might be the way to go but whatever pet you decide to get, keep in mind that shopping around matters. A pet store is good for some products but not the cheapest place for all products.In summary, pet ownership is not a decision to be made lightly. If you are ready to take on the extra responsibility then let it start with doing your research, checking your budget, and really thinking about how much you can afford. Your pet and you will be better off for it later.

Pet Friendly Virginia Getaways |

If you’re like most pet parents, you probably spoil your pet, showering him with love and affection. So when you go on vacation, you want to stay at a pet friendly accommodation that offers special amenities for both you and your pet.No matter what type of vacation you’re planning, Virginia is an amazing destination. Not only do many of the accommodations welcome your pet, but they also treat him like a guest and provide special pet perks. Plus, the staff is more than happy to recommend places that you and your dog can go together-making your vacation even more special. Although there are many pet friendly lodging options in Virginia, the following are just a few accommodations where the staff loves pets as much as you do and treats them like part of the family.Sandbridge Realty Vacation Rentals – Offering the perfect family vacation getaway, Sandbridge Realty manages 43 pet friendly rental homes that welcome dogs in Sandbridge Beach, located in the southern part of Virginia Beach. (Sorry, but cats aren’t allowed.) When you check in your pet friendly vacation home, your dog will receive complimentary bowls. The staff can also recommend local dog parks where you and your dog can run and play.Hopkins Ordinary Bed & Breakfast – Located in Sperryville, this pet friendly bed and breakfast Inn welcomes pets in the Garden Cottage. When you check in, your furry companion will receive complimentary pet bowls. Feel free to ask the staff about pet friendly walking routes. Not only can they provide maps of the area, but they can also suggest the most scenic areas and customize a route for your dog.Holladay House Bed and Breakfast – This pet friendly bed and breakfast Inn, located in the town of Orange, welcomes pets in the Garden Room. Upon check-in, your dog or cat will receive a welcome basket, which includes bowls, treats and a toy. If you love taking your dog everywhere, you’re in luck. Visit the wineries, which allow you to bring your dog. (The staff provides free winery passes.) Or stop by one of the outdoor eateries that allow dogs.Washington Suites Alexandria – Located minutes from Old Town Alexandria, this pet friendly hotel welcomes pets in designated suites. You’ll feel at home in these accommodations, which offer plenty of room for even the largest dog. Cook your pet’s favorite foods in the fully equipped kitchen. Walk your dog in the hotel’s designated areas, or ask the staff to recommend local dog parks. Visit Old Town Alexandria, and relax at a restaurant that allows dogs in the outdoor dining area.Iris Inn – This pet friendly retreat, located in Waynesboro and overlooking the Shenandoah Valley from a 12-acre Blue Ridge mountaintop, welcomes dogs in the Deep Woods Cottage and the Garden Path Cottage. (Sorry, but cats aren’t allowed.) You and your dog can relax in these spacious accommodations and enjoy the beautiful, woodsy surroundings. Explore downtown Waynesboro, which provides areas for dog walking, or visit some of the wineries and breweries that allow dogs.Stay-Over Suites – Located in Hopewell, this pet friendly hotel offers your pet tons of love and makes him feel at home. When you check in, your dog or cat will receive complimentary toys. The staff also loves to give out treats. (Your pet probably won’t mind.) You can walk your dog in the designated, pets allowed areas on the hotel property. But make sure you also ask the staff to recommend local dog parks, so your dog can run and play.To learn more about these and other pet friendly accommodations in Virginia, visit You want to be pampered when you’re on vacation, so choose lodging that will also offer special amenities for your pet. After all, a vacation is a getaway for the entire family, including your four-legged family member.