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<H2>Pet</H2>
<em>Choosing a pet is a big decision for you and your family, and is
something that shouldn't be treated lightly. Listed below are seven tips
to help make sure you choose the right pet for you and your budget.</em>

<em>Tip 1: Research a pet before you buy one: Before you buy an animal
research how much it will really cost you. Think about food, vet bills,
toys, treats and the like. Also consider training as well. This will give
you an accurate picture of what animal is going to be right for you. You
may think it's a great idea at the time for the kids, but how will you
live with yourself when you have to drop it off at the pet shelter
because its costing you too much.</em>

<em>Tip 2: Adopt a pet: There are a variety of animal shelters that will
let you adopt pets. This option is definitely cheaper than buying a dog
from a pet store or breeder. All of the dogs are checked thoroughly and
their temperaments tested before they are allowed to be let out for
adoption (piece of mind!)</em>

<em>Tip 3: Join an Internet forum: There are 1000s of Internet Forums
which can provide you with information on your particular pet. You will
also learn where you can save money. Definitely well worth your time
finding one of these.</em>

<em>Tip 4: Don't over feed for your pet: It is always tempting to give
Whiskers or Fido a bit of extra food when you are feeding them. The
occasional treat is fine, but doing it all the time will not only cost
you more money in pet food, it can also cause you to spend more money on
vet bills as you pet may become overweight and unhealthy.</em>

<em>Tip 5: Sweet Food: Don't feed them sweet stuff ever. It will just
result in diabetes.</em>

<em>Tip 6: Use Coupons: Search newspapers, magazines and the Internet for
discount coupons for food and other pet items.</em>

<em>Tip 7: Pure or mixed? There is heavy debate amongst pure breed and
mix breed cats and dogs. The initial cost for a mixed breed animal is
generally cheaper; however there may be more medical expenses in the long
run. Our view is that unless you are a dog or cat enthusiast or breeder,
a "safe" mixed breed pet will be fine. Mixed are generally a bit more
intelligent too.</em>

<em>So there you have it, seven tips to help make sure you choose the
right pet for your budget.</em>

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<em> Pet ownership can be expensive. Luckily there are some simple things
you can do to ensure your pet doesn't break your budget. Listed below are
11 money saving tips to help you save money on your pet. Enjoy.</em>

<em>Tip 1: Consider natural remedies: We were told by a vet to use
glucosamine from GNC for our pet. It does the same as the pet medicine
but costs about a fifth of the price.</em>

<em>Tip 2: Research your pet's aliments: Before agreeing to a treatment
program from your vet for your pet's aliments, undertake some research
and ascertain if there are any other cheaper treatments available.
Internet forums are a great place to start. You can even leave questions
for other pet owners to answer.</em>

<em>Tip 3: Animal psychologist: While there are "experts" around, the
benefit you may derive from an expensive session can be quite limited. It
is a very new field and there are not that many fully qualified animal
psychologists out there. Of course if you think your pet is an immediate
risk to yourself or family then contact a vet or specialist straight away
(better than the neighbour with the gun!).</em>

<em>Tip 4: Exercise your dog regularly: A fitter pet is a healthier pet.
Regular exercise, for example 1/2 an hour three times a week, will keep
you and your dog healthy and happy.</em>

<em>Tip 5: Always keep your dog on a leash: Leashes are essential when
walking your dog. It will ensure your dog isn't involved in an accident,
and more importantly doesn't bite anyone. Dogs act on instinct, and even
the most well trained dog in the wrong environment can act up. Why risk
the potential associated costs and harm to your dog.</em>

<em>Tip 6: Discounts for strays: If your pet is a former stray, you may
be eligible for discounts at some vets or on some treatments. This is a
reward for bringing a once neglected pet into your loving home.</em>

<em>Tip 7: Actual cost of owning a pet: The average cost of owning a dog
is between $1,000 and $2,000 a year. Definitely worth keeping this in
mind before you buy a pet.</em>

<em>Tip 8: Consider the life expectancy of your pet: If you own a
"normal" dog breed then you can expect your dog to live for up to 15
years. Based on the above tip, you could be spending between $15,000 to
$30,000 in total!. Crikey. We definitely encourage you to have a pet, but
just make sure it is one you can afford! Maybe downscale to something
cheaper. Though a budgie or fish isn't the same.</em>

<em>Tip 9: Don't try and sue your vet: If something happens to your pet
due to a medical mistake, it generally isn't worth your time or money
trying to sue. Chances are you will get less money back than what you
have spent in legal costs. Generally it is not a wise financial decision
to make.</em>

<em>Tip 10: Prevention is better than cure: As with us humans, prevention
definitely is a more cost effective treatment than curing a problem. Keep
your pet active, and give them a healthy diet. Try training them to do
the chores. Tell them this isn't a free ride.</em>

<em>Tip 11: Swap "pet sitting" with your friends and family: The average
cost of having your pet looked after is around $20 a day. If you are
going away for a month that's an extra $600 you have to think about. It
is much better financially to have friends or family look after your pets
when you are away. You can return the favour to them when they travel. If
they don't have a pet then you score extra points.</em>

<strong><em>Phil Clarkson</em></strong>
<H3>Pet</H3>

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