images (91)Five Money-Saving Tips for Local Pet Owners





After realizing she spends thousands of dollars annually on her pets, your Local Leash columnist lists five ways to save money and still support a furry family.

Until now, I’ve resisted doing the math on how much my pets actually cost me monthly. For the sake of this column, dear readers, here it is:

One dog, two cats, two seniors, two cases of arthritis, one case of feline asthma, one case of feline hyperesthesia and one case of feline herpes of the eye = $382 per month.

That number is very sobering. It adds up to over $4,500 a year and it only includes food, medicine and vitamin supplements. It doesn’t account for vet visits, like the $300 we spent on the dog’s teeth cleaning, heartworm test and suspicious lump removals last month (they were benign, thankfully), or the $35 I just spent on the new, softer bed for the arthritic cat. It also doesn’t include the very large, bulk purchase of super-special food I ordered my youngest cat months ago, which she suddenly decided to stop eating. Most of that food is still in the basement, waiting for her to start liking it again.

We could all use help with ideas for saving money. According to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, businesses in the pet industry are thriving and despite these poor economic times, spending on pets is increasing over 5% annually. So, keep these tips in mind when spending your bank on Barkley and Bundles:

Buy Items Before You Need Them

It’s easy to get in the habit of running out of food, treats, medicine and supplements, and then just making a quick stop at to pick up what you need. And I love having convenient, local pet stores for that very reason. However, every time I do that, I comparison shop online after I get home and realize I could have saved by buying online.

For example, when my older cat started limping, I wanted to help him with his joint pain as soon as possible. So I ran to and got him some Cosequin. I paid $24.99 for a bottle of 55 pills. When I got home, I found a bottle of 80 pills for $16.99 at Now I compare prices on all supplements and treats I give my pets, and usually wins. I also signed up for their emails, and every month I get coupon codes emailed to me for 10-15% off or free shipping.

Sign Up and Give Away that E-mail Address!

I’ve been buying my pet food at for almost three years now. But for some reason, in all that time, it never occurred to me until recently actually join their club and get a membership card. I’m so glad I did!

Last week, I wrote a note to myself reminding me to stop there after work. During the work day, I got an email from them. When I opened it, it was a $10 Off coupon if I spent $50 or more! When I bought over $85 in cat food and kitty litter, I gave them my coupon and my card and my total went down $10 for the coupon and another $3 for being a card member (my cat’s brand of food was on sale for members only).

Check All Mail & Receipts

Last week, I found a $10 Off coupon for pet grooming at on the back of my receipt.

In the mail, I get Valpak and the Town Money Saver, Gold Clipper and JB Dollar Stretcher magazines. It’s easy to throw them out, but in the past two days I’ve opened them and found:

Free visit coupons for doggie day care in Cuyahoga Falls
Grooming and 25% off toys & supplies coupons for
$5 Off any service at in Stow
Information on low-cost spay and neuter at C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Rd.
Did you throw out all those coupons? You can still find most of them at the coupon magazines’ websites: (check the current print editions for both Cuyahoga Falls and Stow for all coupons, and yes there are even editions for Hudson, Kent and many other nearby towns.)

Visit Your Favorite Brands’ Websites & Social Media Pages

I feed my pets Nature’s Variety, and I signed up on their site to receive news and updates via email. I get coupons from them all year long for $5 off here and $2 off there. I even print out multiple copies and use them on 2nd and 3rd trips to the store. I like their Facebook and Twitter pages, and I’m often alerted to coupons that way, as well.

In this world of competitive business, brands love our loyalty. Often, emailing a company to tell them you love them or tweeting a complaint on Twitter will get you coupons without even having to sit up and beg.


Recently, I realized I had a lot of good pet food in my pet pantry that I just didn’t feed any more because I had switched brands. I put an ad on Freecycle and gave them away for free to a pet owner in need. Freecycle is a wonderful e-mail list to join to give away and find unwanted items from your neighbors. A similar resource is the free section on Craigslist. In both sources, I often see listings from people giving away free dog crates, pet beds, pet food and cat condos.