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Tips for Living Well with Your Dog: Money and Insurance

Ways to save a bundle pet food, products, care

First of a five-part series

ive years ago, the price of a 15-ounce can of Hill's Prescription Diet dog food was $1.35. Now, the same can costs $2.75 and the size is 13 ounces - a whopping 100 percent price increase per ounce.

And that will add up to big dollars if you have a dog that eats two or three cans of food a day.

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A book about a rescue dog
that will touch your heart

THE HUNT OF HER LIFE, is a nonfiction book about Samantha, an unwanted rescue dog who the author adopts at age 2. This beautifully designed full-color deluxe book, by longtime newspaper journalist Joseph A. Reppucci, contains more than 60 vibrant color photos of dogs to help illustrate the compelling and uplifting story of Samantha - a pretty tricolor bird dog who uses her warm personality to win people over and build a new family after being put up for adoption by a hunter because she is gun-shy and afraid to hunt. Learn how she uses her special bonding abilities with people to help her eventually make a transition from the hunting fields to family life. While reading the The Hunt of Her Life, you will travel with Samantha and the author along a trail filled with surprising twists, sudden turns, mystery and even what some call a miracle. And when the journey is finished, you may never look at people and their pets, motherhood - and perhaps even God - in the same way.  The Hunt of Her Life is must reading. It will take you on a captivating journey - a trip like no other - that will touch your heart.

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Economic hard times coupled the escalation in the cost of food, products and services for pets in the past couple of years is causing financial hardship for many pet parents. The financial squeeze is so tight that food banks for pets have been cropping up in many locations around the United States to help cash-strapped owners feed their loyal companions.

No doubt, pet owners are feeling the financial pinch.

In 2009, $45.5 billion was spent on pets in the United States, according to the the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. On average, the association says it costs about $1,490 a year to care for a dog. So making some simple changes can add up to substantial savings.

Here are some suggestions to help stretch those dollars that you spend on your loyal companion:
  • Consider switching to dry dog food. Virtually all major brands come in wet and dry forms. In most instances, dry chow of the same quality costs about half as much as wet food. So even cutting back some on the wet food and substituting dry will add up to a lot of savings. Use a small handful of morsels of a different flavor dry food as a substitute for those more expensive treats that you like to slip to your pal throughout the day.
  • Get waste pickup bags for free. Stop wasting money on specially made waste pickup bags that cost $7 to $10 for a package of 100. Free plastic bags are everywhere. The daily newspaper is delivered in a plastic bag; bread and produce come wrapped in plastic; supermarket grocery bags are plastic. Reuse them as waste pickup bags. They achieve the same result and cost nothing.
  • Do your own grooming and cleaning. These services can be expensive, costing as much as $50 a visit with add-ons. Many dogs enjoy having their fur brushed, teeth cleaned, groomed and massaged. As a bonus, doing this yourself is likely to enhance the bonding experience with your pal since most pooches loved to be pampered.
  • Make your own dog bed. A dog bed can easily cost as much as $50 - and even more than $100 if you want to splurge. And many have non-removable covers, making them candidates for the trash if they get soiled. Make your own dog bed by simply using a foam cushion - or two - from an old couch, old chair or old mattress from a baby's crib. Wrap the cushion or mattress tightly in a blanket, and then place another blanket on top that can easily be removed and washed. And remember to place and old pillow on there, too.
  • Buy second-hand toys and products. Many items can be obtained at second-hand stores or on major online auction sites, so take the time to look around for a used item that will serve the same purpose as a more expensive new one.
  • Work out a doggy care exchange with a reliable neighbor. Pet sitters and kennels are magnificent services, but the expense can add up if you have to overly rely on them. So try working out a care arrangement with a dog-owning neighbor who might work different hours. That way you can look in on each other's dogs.
  • Use a pet sitter rather than a kennel when possible. If you are going to be away for the day, a pet sitter is a cheaper alternative. Many kennels charge $25 to $30 a day for boarding which includes 30 minutes of playtime. A pet sitter will make a 30-minute home visit for about 50 to 66 percent of the kennel price. And your pal also gets to stay at home, where he may be more comfortable. If you are going on an overnight journey or vacation, consider taking your dog with you. Many major lodging chains accept pets for a nominal charge.

Most importantly, shop around and compare prices before you make any purchases for services or products. A five-minute online search for a 35-pound bag of Eukanuba Natural Lamb & Rice Formula food found a $12.50 price gap at three stores. The cheapest was $40.99, another was $43.99 and the most expensive was $53.49. That's a big difference in the total cost during the course of a year just for food.

So shop carefully for products and services and use your own resourcefulness if you want to sniff out and track down the best money-savings deals.

Book sets signed by the author available here!

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SERIES: Order your set signed by author Joseph A. Reppucci! The Original will touch your heart and the Sequel will lift your soul. *The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Signed Set
*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Holiday discount Book Sets

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SET (unsigned) is offered for a limited time each year at a special holiday discount rate of 25% off. The discount applies to orders received from November 1 through December 24.

Find The Hunt of Her Life on Amazon

Get the Original Book | Get the Sequel Book

The ORIGINAL book is currently listed at 56% OFF on Amazon. Order the Original and Sequel and qualify for free shipping!