Dogs don’t fret about interest rates on credit cards. Cats certainly couldn’t care less about whose name is on the home deed – they know they own the place. But even pets are feeling the bite of this lousy economy.
“Pets don’t care if the stock market is run by a bear or a bull – or a ferret,” says Arden Moore, pet expert and host of “Oh Behave!” on Pet Life Radio.com. “They don’t care if they live with Bill Gates or a plumber named Joe. They just want good chow, comfy napping spots, and our attention.”
Let presidential contenders decipher how the stock market slide, foreclosures, and bank closings take a toll on people. Moore is here for the four-leggeds – especially after noticing these economic indicators impacting the world of pampered pets:
1. You still sneak in your itty-bitty dog to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but (gasp) you opt for the matinee instead of the evening show.
2. You try to fool your canine chowhound by switching from premium meaty treats to cheaper, wheat-filled biscuits, but the (canine) nose knows.
3. You try to fool your cat by mixing sand from the local beach into the unscented commercial litter in the box – giving a new meaning to a bout with crabs.
4. You skip your dog’s grooming appointment by adopting a DIY attitude that results in your Bichon looking more like a bug-eyed owl in a windstorm.
“It’s true that most dog breeds live to have a job, but I don’t see them becoming
the family breadwinner any time soon,” notes Moore, the author of 20 books on pets. “These days, we need to be smarter than ever on how we unleash our dollars.”
In response, she offers a pet-pleasing plan – Moore’s Money Tips for Pets:
Don’t turn your pet into a clothes horse. If you must dress up your pet – and she approves – limit her outfits to three. Dogs don’t care if they wear the same collar, cape, or hat on more than one occasion.
Do be down in the mouth. Brush your dog or cat’s teeth at least two times a week, using toothpastes and brushes designed for pets, and say bye-bye to doggy breath. These at-home dental items are minor in cost compared to a professional dental cleaning that ranges in cost between $100 and $300.
Bypass the doggy bakery. Save money by honing your pet chef skills. Make healthy homemade treats in big batches – store the extras in the freezer. Add carrots and green beans to your dog’s chow in the bowl to help him feel full on less kibble. Estimated annual savings: $110.
Score bargains at discount and warehouse stores. Save a few pennies to a few dollars by buying litter, leashes, bowls, beds, and treats at places that primarily cater to two-leggeds, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, instead of pet supply stores or pet boutiques. Estimated annual savings: $100.
Purchase pet insurance. Pet owners need to prepare for the unexpected. It is far less expensive to purchase insurance when your pets are young. Moore’s Golden Retriever/Husky mix, Chipper, underwent a delicate rectal surgical procedure, and her policy covered 80 percent of the $850 procedure.
Moore’s parting advice: “Pets are our priceless allies. Remember, doggy kisses and full-throttle cat purrs are always free.”