Operation Don’t Go Broke: Paying for your pet

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Pets On a Budget. Stephen Badger
Anna Quesenberry
Operation Don’t Go Broke is devoted to bringing readers helpful tips on ways to save in college.

The idea of having something alive in your apartment besides whatever is growing in your fridge may sound like a good idea, but before heading to the pet store, stop and ask yourself a few questions.
Can I afford a pet?
Calculate all costs associated with a pet. Then take a realistic look at your budget to see if owning a pet is feasible.
Health costs such as vaccinations and examinations are required expenses you should count on. Spay or neuter procedures can cost over $200.
Supplies needed will depend on the pet and could include a kennel, crate, cage or tank, leash and collar, toys, food and water bowls, litter box, cleaning and grooming supplies, and outdoor shelter.
Food is a major cost when owning a pet. Research the most nutritious food for your pet and calculate the average cost of food per month.
Figure in additional costs like

  • Pet deposits
  • Medical procedures
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Boarding fees
  • Registration fees
  • Possible property damage

Do I have time for a pet?
Juggling work and school doesn’t leave much time to care for a pet. Determine a safe place to leave your pet when you are not home. Set time aside each day to give your pet the attention that it needs. Each individual pet will require a different amount of attention. For example, puppies require around-the-clock care.
Am I ready to care for a pet?
Caring for a pet is more than just filling a bowl with kibble. Animals need nurturing providers who will tend to their emotional needs as well as their physical demands. When a pet’s emotional needs are not met, it may act out by destroying your belongings or running away. Caring for a pet requires a great deal of discipline and patience.
What pet is right for me?
After determining how much money and time you can commit, decide what pet is right for you.
Don’t have a lot of time or money to spare? Think about getting a betta fish.
Looking for an independent companion? Contemplate adopting an older house cat.
Want a small pet with personality? A rabbit may be the pet for you.
If and only if you are 100 percent sure you are ready for a BIG commitment, consider adopting a dog. It may end up being the most rewarding relationship of your life.
Already have a dog?
Save money and treat your pooch to Sweet Potato Dog Treats

  • One Sweet Potato
  • 2 ½ Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prick sweet potato several times with a fork.
Heat sweet potato in a microwave on high until tender, about 6 minutes. Cut potato in half and scoop flesh out into a bowl. Mash potato with a fork and transfer about one cup to a large bowl.
Mix whole wheat flour, applesauce and eggs with sweet potato until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll to 1/2-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or cut dough into strips with a pizza cutter. Arrange cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake until crisp, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Yields 32 small treats. Offer your dog one treat twice a day.
First year COCC nursing student, Anna Quesenberry is a wife and mother of two who is passionate about saving money.
(Contact: aquesenberry@cocc.edu)

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