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Doin' it on the cheap, or

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I just came off the raw thread and I can still smell burning insulation... :D

 

My question is how do you do doggie budgeting? Food, toys, vet care, beds, whatever. Got a money-saving secret you can share? I promise not to get my hair in the air... :rolleyes:

 

My first offering is my dog's favorite cheap homemade toy. Take one flat or fitted sheet and rip it into strips about a foot wide, roll 3 of these up (longways), braid 'em together and tie the ends in a knot. Presto! REALLY durable tug toy. You can get used sheets really cheap - a buck or two - at thrift stores. You can get two or three toys out of a sheet. I recommend polyester. It's horrible to sleep on, but makes a tougher toy.

 

Also, I save money on vacuum bags by giving my oriental rugs a quick once-over with a slicker brush. Picks up nearly all the surface hair and is great exercise. My vacuum bags last 5 times as long cuz they aren't so full of hair.

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Hey Geonni,

I used to slicker brush the carpets before vacuuming for the same reason--less likely to fill the canister as quickly.

 

For cheap toys: pine cones (though I don't let the dogs bring them in because they can make quite a mess when torn apart) and socks that are no longer wearable. You can tie a knot in the middle of one sock or lay two socks out together and knot them in the middle. Great tug toys. Cow hooves are not expensive and last a good while as chew toys.

 

I save money on HW prevention by using ivermectin (not formulated for dogs). That drops the cost to pennies a monthly dose, but doing so requires some comfort level with using ivermectin.

 

I buy the largest size Advantix and split the doses among the dogs, using the actual doses for their weights.

 

A friend and I approached one of the local pet stores and got them to order us enough kibble that they could give us a price break on it (in this case, it's a minimum of 10 bags). By buying in bulk (we get 12 bags between the two of us--a two month supply) we get a price break that brings the kibble down to just under a dollar a pound.

 

Not everyone can do this, but I make use of the animals I raise here to feed the dogs, so they get sheep meat on a fairly regular basis, and of course at least once a week they get eggs from the free roaming chickens.

 

I order dog collars from Gundog Supply. I can get a nice center-ring collar made of rubber coated nylon with a brass nameplate attached for less than $10.

 

Other things I do to save $$, but not always, just depends:

*Buy vaccine from the vet and give it myself (this is a better option in many cases because if you buy from a supply house there's a minimum number of vials you must buy and unless you have someone or several someones to go in with you, you won't save money). I have also gotten together with folks and bought vaccines in bulk on occasion.

*Do certain vet care at home (i.e., injections, fluids, etc.) to save hospitalization costs.

*Have very frank discussions with my vet about costs/benefits of various treatment options as needed (e.g., I could have gotten ultrasound for Willow, but since knowing if she had cancer other places in her body wouldn't--at this point--change the course of treatment, chose not to have the procedure done --> no real added benefit resulting from the extra expense of the diagnostics).

*Trade/barter dog care with friends (I'm available to let out or babysit friends' dogs in exchange for them returning the favor --> saves $$ because I don't need to board my dogs or pay a petsitter/dogwalker when I have to be away from home).

*Buy bulk wormer and deworm the dogs quarterly with it (necessary since they aren't getting a HW preventive that also takes care of intestinal parasites). Again I buy a livestock prodcut--saves $$--and dose the dogs at a species-appropriate level.

*I do own some dog beds, but since I also have dogs that eat beds, I often just use those Mexican blankets you can buy cheap at truck stops, or old blankets or bedspreads. They're warm in winter and can be folded to provide good cushioning.

*I used to get double-sided cotton bath mats that could be folded in half and would fit an intermediate Varikennel perfectly. They're harder to come by now, but they hold up well, provide cushioning in a crate for travel, and aren't difficult (i.e., too bulky) to throw in the washing machine.

 

I'm sure there are other things, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

 

J.

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When I get toys, I get them at a local chain. Twice a year they have a 50% off sale on toys so I get good ones (chuckit, nylabone, kong) then and they last until the next sale. I don't buy any toys unless they're on a great sale. Collars and leashes also come from there when those go on a 50% off sale.

 

Their bedding is mostly fleece blankets that I get for less than $2/each at black Friday sales.

 

I skip yearly vaccinations, but get yearly HW checks/physicals. When possible I get meds at Walmart. This year I got a prescription from my vet for HW preventative - I can get it for half the price online with free shipping (I'm considering going just to ivermectin next year)

 

I uses Bio-Spot instead of Frontline, etc. It has worked well for my dogs for several years now and is 1/3 the cost.

 

The local TSC and Menards both carry Diamond naturals. I try to buy it when one or the other has a sale (usually $3-$5 off a bag).

 

I buy dog crates from eBay. The ones I get are very good quality and significantly cheaper through eBay than local stores ($10-$20/crate even with shipping). If I wasn't looking for specific sizes I'd look for them on CraigsList.

 

For your next vacuum, look for one with a canister rather than a bag - one less thing to buy and you don't need to brush your carpets first :rolleyes: (though that is a great idea if you need bags!)

 

I do all grooming/baths/nail trimming myself.

 

I've started using regular glucosamine/msm for Missy for her joints - so far it seems to work just fine for her. I got some on clearance at Walmart and it was $14/3 month supply.

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I go through a lot of toys training agility, so to save money, I bought a 50' rubber hose and cut off about 15 inch pieces as I need new tuggy toys that have weight for throwing. Regular tuggies are fleece blankets from the dollar store.

I have health insurance and after yesterday's tooth extraction, it's saved me money.

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An interesting thread...keep the ideas coming. I won't talk about the mudroom/kennel project, but someone did give us the chain link and I got the tile at a big closeout price. The whole thing shouldn't cost more than $500 and most of that is parts and pieces to put the chain link together and the gates

 

The cost of three does add up -- food and lessons are the big ticket items, but I've finally found a high density healthy food they all like so the convience of not worrying about what to feed to whom and who is stealing out of whose dish is worth the price.

 

The lessons are not 100% necessary but its good for all of us humans and dogs. As for the rest, I bought things piecemeal as I needed them...thrift stores for old towels and rugs, the big truck mudflap instead of the stall mat for the crates...that kind of thing.

 

The biggest black hole is toys....after Robin's unfortunate and expensive trip to the vet a few months ago, I'm hesitate to give him anything he can tear apart, which is just about everything -- old socks, towels, I even tried the sheet idea. He methodically shreds it and then eats the pieces.. I just bought some monster mouths (at five bucks a piece!) which you can fill with treats and are a soft rubber that seems to be surviving.

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You can also cruise Craig's List for good prices on crates and chain link kennels.... (ETA: Oops, I see that Maralynn also mentioned CL. It's true that if you need specific sizes, you might have to wait a while to find them there, but I've gotten excellent prices, most recently $25 for an XL Varikennel/PetPorter that was missing just a few of the screws that hold the top and bottom together, and I got those from the company for a couple of dollars. I cleaned/disinfected it and it's as good as new! And I don't think you can beat the price....)

 

J.

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I've found that western saddle blankets can be bought very cheaply and if you get two you can sew them together to make a nice big dog bed. They have them on Amazon for $12 bucks each. I don't have a crate, but I think just one would make a nice crate pad. They are acrylic, so you can chuck 'em in the wash.

 

Here's a link for the Amazon ones, but you can find them all over the place.

 

http://www.amazon.com/30x60-Black-Western-...t/dp/B000O95OHG

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Also, I save money on vacuum bags by giving my oriental rugs a quick once-over with a slicker brush. Picks up nearly all the surface hair and is great exercise. My vacuum bags last 5 times as long cuz they aren't so full of hair.

I use it to get the hair off the carpeted stairs. :rolleyes:

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Ooh! That reminds me - it isn't so much money saving, but if you have upholstered furniture that collects dog/ cat hair, a really good way to get it off easily is a terrycloth rag wet and then wrung out well, just rub gently and it takes that hair of like a magnet. Works better than most vacuums and it is definitely cheaper than those sticky-roller things. Works best on velvet or other napped fabrics.

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Ooh! That reminds me - it isn't so much money saving, but if you have upholstered furniture that collects dog/ cat hair, a really good way to get it off easily is a terrycloth rag wet and then wrung out well, just rub gently and it takes that hair of like a magnet. Works better than most vacuums and it is definitely cheaper than those sticky-roller things. Works best on velvet or other napped fabrics.

 

I bought one of those Pledge Hair roller things for $2 on sale. It works better than the sticky roller things, and you can use it until it fills up with hair. Mine is still mostly empty and I've probably gotten at least a sticky-roller's worth of uses out of it.

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My guys go through stuffies like nobody's business, so to satisfy their urge to dissect, I cut the legs out of old tights or stockings and I put a really good treat in the toe, then tie a knot to keep it there. Then I turn the rest of it inside out around the treat, and put a couple pieces of kibble in it. I then keep repeating the process over and over until I run out fabric. The end result is a soft ball filled with multiple layers of treat. It's like a kong/stuffie congo that keeps them busy for quite awhile.

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For pet fur, you can also buy a squeegee, a small one for furniture and a large one for carpet. You can extension poles for the large one. An added advantage is that using a sgueegee on carpet is a great work out. It really gets up fur and a bunch of other stuff, too.

 

Ruth

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I bought one of those Pledge Hair roller things for $2 on sale. It works better than the sticky roller things, and you can use it until it fills up with hair. Mine is still mostly empty and I've probably gotten at least a sticky-roller's worth of uses out of it.

 

If you are very, very careful you can flip it over and pop out one of the rollers, empty it and re-use it. All you have to do is pop out one end of one roller and you'll be able to empty it. I think I've emptied mine about 5 or 6 times and it's still working.

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One of my friends is on disability and her funds are really limited - and she has lots of animals.

 

So, she works part-time for a vet. She trades her time in the clinic for free animal care for her little guys. That has worked out really well for her.

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For cheap but good, interesting dog toys -mainly stuffies - (and this is one splurging I allow myself for the dog since he's truly enjoying them and is very careful with his toys) - I shop at TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall's or Big Lots. For $1-$4 you get toys that regular pet stores sell for $8-20. I wouldn't pay full price for dog toys unless they were some specialty ones such as Chuckit. I always check the clearance rack in the pet dept at Target- there are often great surprises, from toys to treats. Big Lots has plenty of cheap treats too.

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Rubber gloves (like Atlas-brand, or the yellow dishwashing gloves) work really well for getting worked-in dog hair out of car seats. I hit the seats with a ShopVac, then pull out the gloves for anything left behind :rolleyes:

 

We have a "take-it-or-leave-it" area at the dump. Endless supply of sheets & blankets for dog beds- all for free. Stuffies, too, but those aren't allowed in my house as they last about 0.003 seconds, but the clean-up lasts a lot longer!

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As a State employee in a state that doesn't value such, I have to watch every cent. (please don't get me started)

I LOVE Craigs list, shop for dog toys at the closeout stores (Ross. Marshall's)....you can get really nice ones for $2.99 each...I feed Cerb Kirkland chow from Costco and work with my vet to try to keep costs low.

My vet is stellar. She does "triage" and lets me know what is important and what can wait. She set up an account for us at a local vet pharmaceutical mail order place that really (I mean really) saves us money. I can't say enough good about her. The other vet in the practice is a BC owner, too!

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My guys go through stuffies like nobody's business, so to satisfy their urge to dissect, I cut the legs out of old tights or stockings and I put a really good treat in the toe, then tie a knot to keep it there. Then I turn the rest of it inside out around the treat, and put a couple pieces of kibble in it. I then keep repeating the process over and over until I run out fabric. The end result is a soft ball filled with multiple layers of treat. It's like a kong/stuffie congo that keeps them busy for quite awhile.

Do you not worry that they might be ingesting parts of the stocking or tights while they go after the treats? I'd be worried about an intestinal blockage from the material. That's why my dogs get no stuffed toys--not only do they tear them to bits, but I worry about them ingesting the outer material and/or the stuffing and then requiring a costly trip to the vet for surgery.

 

J.

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Yep, I do the sheet tugs, bought the crates on Craig's List.

 

Since I have two pups I needed a double leash. I turned high grade leather reins into a double leash. If anyone starts young horses using clips on their reins for easy transfer from halter to bridle this makes a great double leash since you have the two light hooks and the reins/leads are are joined by a buckle. They are six ft. exactly. Tons of used tack sales around.

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I went for the "costs more now but saves money later" approach for some things: I have hard floors (sweep vs vacuum), leather furniture (wipes with damp cloth) and high quality washable bedding (most I have had for 10+ years), I do regular check ups (catch problems before they become emergencies) and feed as high quality as I can afford (good nutrition = healthier dogs).

 

Other things I do cheap. I go in with friends for bulk orders of treats when I can (my Paps love bullies: I have 3 friends and we order 200 at a time and get them for 1/3 the cost) and food when I can (40# boxes of necks and backs are 59 or 69 cents a pound if I buy 120 lbs at a time); buy closeout Christmas toys in January (the dogs don't care that its April and they are playing with Santa); I use CL for stuff like crates and expens and other trial equipment, borrow and share with friends for stuff I would need a short time (I have loaned my air force dryer multiple times) and do all my own grooming.

 

I also luck out with my human relationships: my stepmom cleans rental vacation houses and sends me old towels people leave behind (can't have too many dog towels); I exchange pet sitting with my neighbor when we can.

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My cost saving strategy is that I have dogs instead of kids! I'm sure I'd spend much more on children than I do on the dogs.

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