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5 Ways to Save on Your Pet

Take advantage of discounts on pet food, pet meds and more

Elwood Smith

En español  |  1. Generic pet meds. You can get generic versions of many pet medications for only $4 (for a 30-day supply) or $10 (for 90 days) from the pharmacies of retail chains Target, Walmart and Kroger. A veterinarian's prescription is usually required.

2. Trouble affording your pet? Type those words into the search box at for a list of programs offering assistance with food, veterinary care and other pet expenses.

3. Dogs are not gourmets. Don't pay more for "premium" food — any food marked "complete" or "total nutrition" is fine for healthy animals. But beware the cheapest foods, which have fillers and additives that may cause health problems. Big-box stores tend to have the best pet food prices.

4. Paws in winter. If doggie boots aren't in your budget, protect Fido's paws by coating them with nonstick cooking spray before walks. This also helps prevent snow from packing between pads.

Ways to save on pet expenses - Black chihuahua

Smaller dogs make the perfect affordable companion. — Photo by Push Pictures/Corbis

5. Think small? It costs about $235 a year to feed a large dog, says the ASPCA, and only $55 to feed a small one. That compares with $115 for a cat — and $190 for a rabbit.

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2012: Arthur Dalglish, Cathie Gandel, Joan Rattner Heilman, Sid Kirchheimer, Jason L. Lawrence, Marsha Mercer, Geoff Williams, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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