10 Tips for Managing Pet Costs Without Skimping on Care

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2. Become your pet’s personal stylist. Stretch the time between those $45 grooming appointments and $15 store baths by using grooming scissors to trim around your dog’s face and by diluting shampoo for baths. Estimated savings: $120.

3. Now ear this. Clean your pet’s ears by mixing 3 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part white vinegar. Place a couple drops in each ear, rub it around and wipe clean once a week to stave off ear infections, especially in dogs who swim and heavy-eared breeds like Cocker Spaniels. Alcohol kills bacteria and evaporates moisture while vinegar kills fungus. Estimated savings: $120.

4. Bring out your pet chef skills. Make healthy homemade treats in a large batch, storing surplus in the freezer, instead of pricey ones sold at doggy bakeries. Add steamed carrots and green beans to your dog’s bowl to help him feel full on less kibble. Estimated savings: $100.

5. Be down in the mouth. Brush your dog or cat’s teeth at least 2 times a week, using toothpastes, brushes and dental gels and chews designed for pets. At-home dental items are inexpensive compared to professional dental cleanings that cost between $150 and $400.

6. Package the necessary vaccinations. Consult your veterinarian about what vaccinations your pet truly needs and base it on your pet’s age, health and outdoor access. Opt for 3-year vaccinations when possible instead of annual ones. Estimated savings: $150.

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