How to Survive Tough Economic Times with Your Dog

You and your dog can pull through together to find better days.
dog face image by Albert Lozano from

A battered economy leaves many victims in its wake, not the least of which is the family dog. You need only look in shelters across America to see the sad overpopulation of owner-surrendered animals. When people barely have enough resources to survive, the dog is often among the costs that are cut. Casting off your dog is heartbreaking for you and being cast off is difficult for the dog. Before you take that step, reach out for help. Rescue organizations and animal shelters want dogs to have lifelong homes with their people. Local organizations may be able to direct you to programs that can help you reduce the costs of the care your dog needs.

Step 1

Save money by taking your dog to a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. These clinics are usually sponsored by the humane society or shelters in your area.

Step 2

Visit a low-cost mobile vaccination clinic or attend a low-cost vaccination day at your humane society or city animal shelter to get your pet updated on necessary vaccines such as rabies, Bordetella and coronavirus. Getting your pet vaccinated at your vet's office may seem safer to you, but mobile clinics are run by veterinarians who don't charge for an office visit. In addition, a mobile clinic usually offers the vaccinations at a lower cost than your veterinarian does.

Step 3

Seek out sources of low-cost, routine care veterinary services, such as veterinary schools and colleges in your area, or find breed clubs online through the American Kennel Club at These experienced dog breeders and rescuers may be able to offer assistance or suggestions. Skipping routine exams to save money could cost you with larger bills in the future, advises online veterinarian Karen Becker, who promotes preventative care.

Step 4

Extend the life of your dog food and provide nutritious food to your pet with vegetables and meats you purchase in sale or in bulk. Offer to share freezer space or split the cost of meats or other expenses with dog-loving friends and neighbors. Do not overfeed your dog. Prepare meals that are appropriate in size for your dog's activity level and age.

Step 5

Visit the Save Our Pets Foodbank online for assistance with dog food. The organization's mission statement says its purpose is to ensure that companion animals never go hungry by providing assistance to their families. Determine if you meet the basic requirements for assistance with food, then download an application and mail it to the shelter you select from the database.

Step 6

Walk your dog, or toss her toys to keep her exercised. The better condition your dog is in, the less it costs to keep her healthy. Learn how to provide basic grooming services, such as nail trimming, brushing and shampooing. Buy a used electric clipper to keep her hair short and neat.

An Item You Will Need

  • Grooming tools



About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.

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