Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts


SOS Mom Saver: Homemade Dog Bed

I was at the pet store the other day looking for a new bed for my growing puppy.  While there, I started unzipping the beds to see what was inside them.  I was trying to ascertain if the bed would be an easy-to-wash bed because...well...they're dogs and as such, they roll around in the dirt and mud.

As I was doing this, I had an epiphany!  I had just unzipped a bed that had an egg crate mattress pad in it.  The bed was one of the cheaper ones there because it was on sale for $24.99 (normally $39.99).  It occurred to me when I saw that bed that I could do this myself for MUCH cheaper.

(Are you surprised that it would occur to ME to make something myself?  Didn't think so.)

The bonus in making the bed for myself is that I could make TWO beds.  Our other dog has a bed, but it doesn't have a removable cover & thus isn't as easily washed as I would like.

Here's what I did:

I got an egg crate mattress pad.  (Like the one pictured below.)  The one below cost just under $17 at Amazon.  However, they have the cheaper ones for $10 at Walmart.

Picture from Amazon

I took the twin-sized pad I got & cut it in half (we have big dogs).  If you were so inclined, you could sew a "real" cover to go over one of these.  Instead, I chose to take the easy way out & just used a couple of old fitted sheets.  I wrapped those over the beds & kept it simple.  If you didn't have a couple of old sheets to use, you can usually buy a fitted sheet at a thrift store for $2. 

If you had to buy a couple of fitted sheets, your total out-of-pocket would be around $15, including taxes.  If you just had to buy the pad, your cost would be even lower (just over $10).  Keep in mind, this is for TWO beds!  That means you're total cost PER ped would be $5-$8...for a bed that costs almost $40 brand-new!

With that lower cost comes MUCH less stress should a new puppy happen to chew the bed or have an accident (our older dog will throw up if she happens to eat something that doesn't agree with her).


Our Newest Family Member

The Girls (Sasha & Sally)
Sasha LOVES her new big sister.  I'm pretty sure Sally is equally as happy to have a little one she can "mother".

Sasha is a pure-bred black lab.  Sally is 3/4 chocolate lab & 1/4 golden retriever.  Sasha was beginning to look SO big to us next to Coco, the wonder cat.  Now, though, she looks so tiny again next to her big sister.


SOS Mom Saver: Used Pet Items

I am a firm believer in buying second-hand.  It not only saves you money, but also helps ensure everything that's produced is used to its fullest instead of dumped in a landfill with tons of life left.

I've been talking a LOT about our new puppy lately.  I felt it only prudent that I mention precautions that should be taken with ANY new-to-you (but really used) pet items to be safe.

There is one nasty virus that puppies can be susceptible to if not properly protected.  One of those protections is ensuring that anything you get for your new puppy is properly cleaned before it even comes in the house.  Honestly, with pets running around the pet store, I see this as being a wise thing to do even with NEW pet items.

That nasty virus, Parvo, is best killed with bleach.  You know I am ALL about natural when natural is possible.  However, in some cases, it's best to go to the chemical.  I wouldn't run to the doctor and demand an antibiotic for a cold, but you bet your BIPPY (yes I said "bippy") that I'm going to take one for strep throat.  In the same manner, I would use vinegar, lemon juice, & my other "standards" for cleaning most items.  However, when I have new or used pet items, they're getting washed with bleach before my new puppy uses them.  To me, it's just not worth the chance.

So buy away on Craigslist, ask for what you need on Freecycle, or scour every garage sale in town...just make sure you are properly cleaning your great finds so that your pets are fully protected!

SOS Mom Saver: Save Money At the Vet

Owning a pet can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be nearly as expensive as you might think.

One of the most important up-front costs for a pet is vaccines, spaying/neutering, and/or declawing.  Most people have heard that some shelters or pet stores will offer reduced vaccines. These are definitely good options.  However, many don't realize that vet prices can vary wildly for these early pet care items.  Just as an example, when calling about getting our new puppy vaccinated, I was given prices ranging from $154 for the 2 vaccines and a fecal sample all the way down to $45 for the exact same services...all prices from local vets some within blocks of each other.  The prices for spaying/neutering and declawing vary just as much.

So what's the difference?  Why is one vet so expensive and the other isn't?  Here's the bottom line:  There are no insurance companies padding pockets here.  Vets have to compete for your business and they know it.  It's reflected in their prices.  How can you save money at the vet?  You'll have to start by taking some time to make phone calls.  So what specifically are you asking when you call?
  • How much do they charge for vaccinations?  (Ask for specific prices if they don't have a set price for all vaccinations.)
  • Do you charge for an office visit if we're just there to get vaccinations?  (This is HUGE and made for the biggest price difference when I was calling around.)
  • What do you charge for a spay/neuter (depending on your pet).  (Be sure to ask if the price goes up by weight if you have a large-breed dog.  It's not hard for some breeds to be in the higher-weight price-range by 6 months.  Also, ask what that quoted price includes.  Some will give you a low-ball price but it doesn't include anesthetic, post-op care, required antibiotics or pain meds, or follow-up visits.  If the price doesn't include any of those items, then ask what the charge for those items is.)
  • What do you charge to de-claw a cat?  (Again, be sure to ask what the quoted price includes and ask for the price on any items not included.)
  • Do you have any reduced-fee days for vaccinations or spay/neuter?
  • What do you charge for a office visit?  Are the office visits less or more if the visit is for vaccinations only, it's just a check-up for the pet, or the pet is sick?
  • RUN don't walk from a vet who doesn't want to be up front with you about prices.  Any good vet will happily give you the prices over the phone, will direct you to a website with listed prices, or will offer to e-mail you their price sheet.
  • If you really like a vet, but they charge more for a particular service, don't be afraid to ask if they'll price-match another vet.  We plan on doing that.  Our vet doesn't charge an office visit for vaccinations or fecal checks and only charges $10 for each vaccine.  However, they charge close to $100 more than the lowest vet quote we got for a spay.  We really like them, we're going to ask if they'll match the other vet's price.  They might say no, but they MIGHT say yes.  It never hurts to ask; especially if you tell them that you really WANT to keep your business there. 
Equipment such as pet bowls, a kennel and/or carrier, a leash, collar, beds, and toys can further up the cost of owning a pet.  Don't forget that many people have had puppies who quickly grow out of their necessary supplies.  You can often get puppy items on Freecycle for free.  What you can't get there, you can likely get at a reduced cost on Craigslist.  Just remember to properly wash any used kennels or carriers with bleach as that will kill parvo and keep your pet safe.  You can throw stuffed toys, leashes, & collars in a hot washer to kill germs.

We've had Coco the Wonder Cat for years, but we're just entering the puppy realm with our lab.  What have you done to save money on your pet?