Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Dog is a Cash Cow...

Veterinarian sign
I try to save my family money in whatever ways I can but there are some things that I will not scrimp on. Some of those things include car seats (I buy the top of the line because my kids' safety trumps everything else), my vehicle (I must drive a safe and reliable vehicle even if it means having a hefty car payment), health care (we have the top level plan through my husband's work) and my dog.

Yep, I said my dog. We have a six year old min pin who drives me crazy with his barking at anyone and anything who dares to even walk by our house. My husband bought him about six years ago, after I had my first miscarriage and I used to cuddle with him every night. He is a good little dog and so very patient with my kids- the annoyances he endures with are many but he never bites them.

I used to be ho-hum about my pets when it came to taking them to the vet, especially after having the kids. But then last year our other dog, Buddie, got put down due to liver failure. He was the best dog- we got him from a rescue group when we lived down in Georgia eight years ago. Buddie had all of the symptoms of liver failure but I was so busy with my life that I just didn't see any of it or put two and two together until it was too late. I felt very guilty about that.

Now with our min pin, Binky, I pay attention. I made his long overdue check-up appointment shortly after Buddie was put down. I even finally took the vet's recommendation and had his teeth cleaned as poor teeth care can lead to many problems in dogs and could have been the reason for Buddie's liver failure. After we ran out of our cheap Pedigree dog food I bought high quality dog food for him.

Then there is the grooming. Yes, you can wash your dog at home which we have done in the past but I find it easier once in awhile to just have it professionally done as they also clean his ears and clip his nails (he has black nails so I am scared to cut them myself because you can't see the quick which is like a little vein in his nail).

Was any of this cheap? Hell no. Vet visits and shots are not cheap as well as flea and tick prevention and heart worm prevention. I dropped about $600 alone on Binky's teeth cleaning, blood work, some needed shots and the aforementioned preventative treatments. High quality dog food with minimal junky fillers can cost upwards of $2 a pound. We also have to get an annual dog license for him through our town.

I guess what I am saying here is pets are not some frugal thing you do. Having a dog is a commitment; he relies on you to take care of him and provide him with a good and loving life. Food and shelter are not enough because pets also need proper preventative care and not provided that because your cheapness wants to save money is irresponsible. Plus, good preventative care can catch issues before they become major problems. I am not saying that your dog needs to live like a human because even though he is a part of the family he is still just an animal but he does rely on you to keep him healthy and alive.

If you want to do the frugal pet thing, get a hermit crab because lord knows sometimes I wish I took that route instead!

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