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Topic: Saving money on your pet supplies

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Subject: Saving money on your pet supplies
Date Posted: 5/9/2009 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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I was just wondering if anybody has any good animal-related tips. Here's some of mine:

I have several horses, so when I order dewormer online, I order enough to get free shipping. The dewormer is really cheap to start with and I use it before the expiration date, so it saves me money in the long run.

When opening a bale of hay for my horses, I open it on a tarp. Then I can collect all of the loose hay and not waste it.

Instead of buying an expensive weight gain supplement for my horse older horse, I put corn or vegetable oil in her grain. It is really high in fat.

Date Posted: 5/13/2009 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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I have 3 cats.   I find bigger bags of cat food at Walmart vs. the grocery store and I store the food in Tupperware giant canisters and extra large cereal containers  so it will stay fresh.   I am also looking for more ways to save on my cat supplies.   The Vectra (flea control) is $45 a month.   Yikes.   But, mostly I just try to keep a good stock of food and cans for them and I buy in as large quantities as I can.   Another of the expensive things I buy is the large heavy duty scratching cardboard thingy that they love to dig on.  Luckily, that lasts over 6 months.   It's up to about $17 at Walmart now. 

Date Posted: 5/17/2009 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2006
Posts: 882
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 9:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/18/2009 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2006
Posts: 68
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In the Harriet Carter catalogue there are some plastic containers that have wheels.  There are 4 sizes (I think). I bought the smallest size on wheels(30 something - gals? qts?).  It will very comfortably hold an 18 pound bag of Meow Mix and will have room to spare.   There are 2 or 3 larger sizes on wheels and would definitely hold 2 or more large bags of cat food.

BTW - the cover is hinged and has a good snap closing.   I love it!  I had to get this product b/c my oldest cat, CiCi - 8 y.o. & a whole 6 #, will attack any bag of food a worry it until she dug a whole through it.  Then she would scoop out a pawful of food and munch away!  One day whe drag a 3.5# bag of Meow Mix from the kitchen to the living room and proceeded to dig into it.   I sat and watched her do it.  It took all of 10 minutes for the whole thing - start to finish.

Date Posted: 5/18/2009 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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We actually bought a container that is meant to be ant resistant at a food supply store. It was made to store horse grain and we use it for the large bags of cat food.  And yes it works, we had lost a few pounds of food because ants had crawled into the container overnight and nothing we did got them all out :(

Best thing to do is shop around, if you have to buy prescription foods, call your vet and ask what they sell them for (always buy them in bulk) and then see if an online place sells it any cheaper. Some vets can get it cheaper as they buy large amounts.


Date Posted: 5/19/2009 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2007
Posts: 89
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This is a small one -but it all adds up.  We NEVER buy full priced toys for our 2 terriers.  After much wasted money and toys destroyed on the first day we purchase them we finally figured out that stuffed animals from the thrift store -always less than $1 are the best toys for our dogs. I only buy short hair, very well made ones -some last and some don't -if not I can always go spend another .75 for another one.

Subject: low/cost spay and neuter
Date Posted: 5/21/2009 7:16 AM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 26
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I had my female pup spayed last May for $30 - this was done through the humane society.  There is a clinic that sends a van to bring the animals back and forth from their clinic.  It worked out very well - they will also give the first set of shots for $15. 

I never buy dog treats - I use small (think pencil eraser size) bits of meat, cheese or steamed carrots as training treats (much cheaper).  For an extra special bonus - raw chicken backs - raw bones are not a problem, as they don't splinter.

Date Posted: 6/5/2009 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 12
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I ahve found a lot of good recipes for dog treats online that contain things that we have in the pantry anyway.  My puppy gets special treats homemade with liver during hunting season when we get fresh liver or it's really cheap at the grocery store.  My pup would rather have the homemade ones now than most of the store bought ones

Date Posted: 6/6/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 2,433
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Sew your own toys. I take old jeans, double sew the seams, and stuff them with a squeaker myself. They last so much longer than storebought toys!

Order prescriptions online, if your vet won't match online costs. My vet charges $15+ per prescription more than I can order them online, and I can always find % off or free shipping coupons to apply to my orders to make them even cheaper.

Subject: Saving $$$ on pet stuff
Date Posted: 6/9/2009 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2005
Posts: 69
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Well, one can buy used pets!  LOL! 

My beloved l Maine Coon Cat, Bailey, died in January of cancer at age 12.  I missed him and wanted another one, to keep me and my dogs company.  It had to be good with other animals, because I have a very small dog with a heart condition.

I kept searching petfinder.com for the perfect cat... Some of them were "possible", some of them were "close", but none were "just right". 

Then, the last week of May, I saw an petfinder ad for a "Senior" Maine Coon named Goliath.  No picture of him, no description, just that he was extremely sweet and everyone at the shelter loved him.

For some odd reason, I was intrigued, and called for more information.

2 days later, May 28, my roomie and  I drove 110 miles each way just to "look at him".  Of course he came home with us.

Goliath is 9, almost 10, has a "cauliflower ear" from an untreated injury (I call it his "street cred" look) and is the biggest sweetheart you could imagine. 

He's gentle, he's loving, he's beautiful (black and brown tabby with white markings) and I couldn't have found a better match if I'd tried for a year.  He's neutered, has his shots, is microchipped, had a dental to pull a tooth, had his ear operated on and healed. (He's also declawed, which I would NOT have chosen to do, but it already was done at some time in the past.)

The shelter also has a senior discount. So Golly-guy cost me $31.65, tax included, plus gas for a 220 mile round trip.  Oh yeah, and lunch along the way.

When you adopt from a shelter, you save a life, and enrich your own! 

You can get a pet of almost any breed or age, and they usually know something about it.  And whatever fee you pay goes to help other needy animals.

So, yup, don't forget the "previously owned" fur kids...


Subject: Food bought in bulk
Date Posted: 6/10/2009 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2007
Posts: 494
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I recylce the large cat litter tubs.  They will hold almost a 18 lb bage of dog food and people with indoor cats usully have plenty to share. 

Subject: The Zoo
Date Posted: 6/12/2009 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2009
Posts: 17
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For the dogs we buy Canidae dog food. It has less of the junky filler in it and should be healthier. The dogs should also waste less so that means less trips to the bathroom. It is an all stages dog food, so my Corgi puppy loves the food. Lately I go to doller store, or whenever a store has a sale, I try to think if anything could be used for the dogs, like cheap stuffed animals. My corgi loves tennis balls, but especially loves wiffle balls. I can get a package of 4-5 at the doller tree! Have 4 dogs: 200lb English Mastiff, 2 min pin/jack russel mixes, 1 pembroke welsh corgi.

Oh yes, also for the dogs, we use the 101 Kroger brand Puppy Pads. We find at night, when we lay them down the smaller dogs will use them, Especially at night when we are sleeping. We also find its great for our senior citizen cat, she has been known to use them as well.

For the cats, we buy the Fresh Step cat litter, where I can redeem and get free items becuase each package has points. Luckily the cats dont do much, we have an old cat tree that my 2 year old just loves. Also we found out that the $30 Booda Dome cat box at petsmart is awesome! We have a couple of bigger, and 1 senior citizen, and they use that than the other boxes. 4 cats: Binx (13-14 yrs old). Dee Dee (9ish), Sophie (4), Ami (2) and 4 cats boxes. 3 regular large from walmart, 1 booda dome.

For the rats, I usually go to Petsmart or Pet Palace here. I usually buy the cube blocks for food and then whenever me and my mom go to the store for produce, whatever we eat the rats eat. Veggie wise anyways. And its really great cuz we recycle all the cardboard cereal boxes, etc. Even use the plastic coffee containers too. Anything I can use. I usually only go to the store about once a month to grab there food and bedding. I use the recycleable Carefresh bedding, easier on the rats and me. Over the years my allergies have gotten worse..unfortunately, so the bedding really helps. Have 2 girls which I bought a regular large rat cage. For Odie (my male that was a rescue, he is huge!) So I settled for a Chinchila cage for him. It was also a "starter cage" So it had the waterbottle, some bedding, chew blocks, etc.

Keep in mind, that all these animals are not mine..they are just in the same pack or house,(whichever you want to call it) :)

I personally have 2 cats, the rats, and the corgi puppy. My brother has 1 dog. My mom 2 dogs and 1 of the cats. The other cat, Binx is the family pet. If you ever have any questions or have any advice. Contact Me!

Date Posted: 6/16/2009 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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I cut up old t-shirts and use them as rags when cleaning saddles or other things instead of buying sponges or special clothes. It gets the dirt off, and it's reusing, so it's going green a little bit :)

Date Posted: 6/21/2009 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 18
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ah a thread about critters, love it!

Morgan, thanks for posting the tip about storing hay on a tarp,
I've had backyard horses longer than I care to admit (it would age me) and I've never seen anyone do that!

Chris, Once a year I find tuna @ 10 for ONE dollar and that so far, has beat any canned cat food deals. Oh an just in case any are worrying the tuna is just a treat/addition to their free-feeding kibble.

Lee, regarding the pet food storage
I actually purchased an old 'granny grocery cart' on closeout, just to store dog/cat food in. We store cat and dog food in the laundry room, there seems to always be spills and the wheels make it easy to clean under/around.

But I am very interested in getting some ant-proof storage containers, reading that ants can take over the bags inspires me to be pro-active, so I'm looking if anyone's found any I'd love a link


charlie (mom)

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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An old chest freezer with a good seal would be ant proof. It may be too big for what you want, but you could probably find on cheap or free. You could post on craigslist.com or you could look at dump/recycling center in your town.

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 18
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I LIKE this idea! It'll be great for outside too so that I don't have to keep horse feed in the chicken pen. Don't think old horse could open up a freezer by herself and this will give real estate back to the feathered friends!


thanks very much!

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 3:47 PM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2006
Posts: 1,676
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Does anyone have any ideas on bedding replacements for guinnea pigs?  I have to piggies in separate tanks since they can't seem to get along and the bedding alone can get expensive.  I was wondering if there was anything that can be used in place of regular bedding for their "homes". 

Also, an idea.  If you have guinnea pigs, instead of spending the money on alfalfa or other types of hay, when you run out, take a pair of scissors out into your back yard and cut the grass.  They love grass and small weeds (just make sure you don't give them anything that's been sprayed with pesticides or weed killers). 

Subject: g'piglets
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 18
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if you have any local feed stores most will let you sweep around the hay for free, as long as you don't hold anyone up from loading their purchased hay, most places like it that you keep their area slip-proof. Just stop by every week or so with a grocery bag or old feed bag.

As far as bedding goes I know our local building supply has wood pellets and if I remember correctly the piglets love to chew and as long as you don't get cedar...you're good to go. How about using your own shredded paper?

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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If you need a water or food container for cats or dogs, cut off part of a milk or orange juice gallon jug. You can make it however tall you want and it's easy to replace.

I was going to buy a container that sealed tight to store flax seed in for my horse to keep water out, but instead I just used an old Rural Route popcorn container.

Subject: Bedding
Date Posted: 6/30/2009 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2009
Posts: 17
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For Bedding, I use Care Fresh for my rats. Its recycled paper. Regular paper you can use, but you want to be careful. Some small critters don't do well with paper because of the different ink that is used in newspaper, computer paper, etc. Maybe if you shred some plain comp. paper you could be alrite. You can also try to littertrain. Litter training is great, and if you get it down to just a small ferret type litter box, you wont use  that much bedding at all.

Date Posted: 7/20/2009 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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Instead of buying horse treats for my horses, I just by a box of sugar cubes. They are cheap and the horses love them!

Date Posted: 7/22/2009 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/30/2008
Posts: 349
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We neutered/spayed our cats at the county animal services.  They charged only $20.00 per pet which is so much cheaper than the Humane Society which spayed the other cat at almost $100.00

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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If you have a lot of flies in your barn, try this.

3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and put in a quart jar and punch holes in the lid big enough for flies to get through. I used orange juice and cottage cheese containers instead. It doesn't work as well as store bought fly traps, but it is effective and much cheaper.


Homemade Fly Spray

18 oz white vinegar
2 Tbsp dish washing soap- I used white ivory

Mix in a 20oz spray bottle and shake until blended. You may add water to dilute. Spray on horse. This does stink from the vinegar, but if you dilute it more, it shouldn't smell as bad. You can also add a little citronella(sp?) oil to this.

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2008
Posts: 18
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I have two guinea pigs and I use fleece blankets for their cages.  I line the bottom of the cage with old towels and layer the fleece blankets on top of that.  I usually put down two layers of fleece blankets on top of the towels.  Clean up is easy as you wash in hot water and reuse.  The trick is prepping the fleece so it wicks moisture.  I wash my new fleece blankets in hot water (no fabric softner) and dry on high heat (no dryer sheets).  I wash them twice before using them to ensure proper wicking.  This method has saved me a ton of money and it is environmentally friendly at the same time.  My piggies love their fleece and popcorn all around when their bedding gets changed.  Hope this helps! 

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2007
Posts: 362
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I've got a friend who uses puppy pads.

She buys some sort of (human) adult medical padding.  I think it is a Depends type product.

She says they are cheaper and because she has a Medical/Flexible spending account through work, she turns the receipts in and gets them in her pre-tax dollars.  (I know some of you will be morally opposed to this, but I'm throwing it out there for those who aren't!)