Table of Contents
The Family Pet
How to Get a Pet for Free
Public Shelters and Pounds
Non-Profit Adoption Agencies and Rescue Groups
Non-Profit Adoption Centers
Service and Guide Dogs
Guide Dog Centers
Hearing Dog Resources
Pets Helping People
Adopting a Different Kind of Pet
Adopting Farm Animals
Home Television Shopping for Pets
A Final Word
Free Food, Treats and Toys for Your Pets . . . Plus Discounts and Savings for Fido and Fluffy
Easy $$-Coupon Your Way to Saving
Free Food on Your Table and in Your Pet’s Bowl
More Discounts on Stuff for Your Pet
Absolutely Free-Sample Goodies, Treats and More
Web sites for Coupons, Freebies and Special Offers
Web sites-Pet Stuff Just for Fun
Toll-Free Numbers for Coupons, Samples and Information
Free and Low Cost Health Care and Services for Your Pet
Do The Right Thing: Control Pet Overpopulation
Keeping Fido and Fluffy Healthy-for Free
Low Cost Vaccine Clinics
Free Internet Information on Pet Health
Other Savings for Your Pet
Companies that Offer Pet Insurance
Insurance for Horses
Pet Sitting and Boarding: What to Do with Your Pet When You Travel
Pet Sitting Organizations
Sending Your Pet to School
Animal Training Videos
Savings on Pet Grooming
Internet Sites on Grooming
What if Your Pet Gets Lost or Stolen?
When a Pet Dies-Pet Support Groups
Special Services for Fido and Fluffy
Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Your Pet: Free Magazines, Newsletters, Books and More
Free Online Information from Pet Food Companies
Learn the Latest from Newsletters
Just for Horse Lovers
Pet and Animal Books, Catalogs, Publishers and Bookstores: Shopping for Books by Mail
Mail-Order Shopping for Your Pets: Catalogs
Bird Supply Catalogs
Catalogs for Dogs and Cats
Still More Ways to Save
Attend a Pet Show
Contests and Freebies
Organizations and Associations
Epilogue: Fun Facts About Pets?
The Family Pet
People simply love their family pets. We play with them, ride them, cuddle with them, travel with them, exercise with them, depend on them, sing to them, talk to them and scold them. They are truly cherished members of our family.
Not unlike children, their care and feeding can become an expensive investment over the long run. Veterinary bills, food and vitamin bills, bills for toys and treats, supplies (bedding, blankets, shampoos, conditioners, collars, bridles, shoes saddles, cages and so on) all add up. The list of what we spend on our pets seems never-ending. A survey has shown that in the next decade pet related spending will increase by as much as 30 percent, totaling more than $15 billion. Expenditures on pet food has increased from $5.5 billion in the early 1990s to over $7 billion today. Some pet food industry experts estimate the amount spent is even higher, nearing the $8 billion mark.
More than ever, the pet marketplace is flooded with an endless stream of products. For example, there are more than 90 brands of cat food available in the U.S. today. Whether we own fancy gold fish or Kentucky Fox Trotters, most of us would like to give our pets “the best that money can buy,” but not all of us can afford to. In the blink of an eye, we pet owners easily spend hundreds and often thousands of dollars a year taking care of our furry, feathered, four-legged and waterbound friends.
As a pet owner (three dogs, one cat, thirteen koi and two horses) I have always looked for savings in pet shops, feed stores and magazine advertisements. What I discovered is that there is a tremendous array of little known free and low cost products and services available for our domestic friends. The trick is to know where and how to find these great discounts and savings. Even if raising children in today’s world costs ‘an arm and a leg,’ raising and caring for our animals doesn’t have to.
This book will provide you with the information you need to take advantage of incredible free services and products for pets. I also have included information that will guarantee you substantial savings when a freebie just isn’t possible. Whether you have cats, dogs, fish, birds or horses, you can begin enjoying your animals even more with the bargains contained in this book. In addition, I have included sources for savings on things for pet lovers and pet owners, too. Jewelry, clothing, doormats, stickers, stamps, calendars, mugs and hats emblazoned with your favorite breed are just some of the thousands of goodies and gifts available to animal lovers.
We will start with the basic issue of where and how you can get a pet, often a purebred or pedigree, for absolutely free. You may not be aware of the many sources of locating fine, loving animals in need of good homes. Once you have brought your new pet home, you will want to give him/her the best possible care to insure health, happiness and a long life.
You don’t have to go back to school or take courses to learn how to care for your animals. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the care, feeding and health of your pet(s) can be learned from the sources that we refer you to in this book. There are hundreds of free pamphlets, books, articles and publications produced by manufacturers of pet products, animal protection associations, organizations and practitioners in the fields of animal health services. In fact, there is so much free information out there that, in many cases, you can solve your pet’s problems and save on expensive veterinary bills by referring to these excellent, informative sources before spending your money unnecessarily.
Of course, some professionally administrated medical treatments must be given to insure your pet’s ongoing health and immunity against common diseases. These preventive measures are not only important for your pets (and required by law), but they also protect owners from contracting diseases transmittable between humans and animals. These vaccines and treatments can add up to a lot of money; however, there are ways of saving on these costs and sometimes even getting these services for free-if you know how.
Some pets are finiky eaters. Others will gobble anything you put in front of them and ask for more. Different kinds of animals require different kinds of diets and nutritional considerations. A professional show dog or cat may require a different diet than a family pet. A competing hunter-jumper or cross-country competition horse may need supplements and vitamins not necessary for an average trail or pleasure horse. Today, most animal professionals agree that pet food should be selected depending upon the pet’s age and health (puppy/kitten, adult/maintenance, older/less active/mature, overweight/underweight). How can you find out what kind of diet is best for your animal? Most pet food manufacturers are more than happy to provide you with free samples of their products. In fact, there is no reason you should spend your money just to try their products. Pet stores, veterinary offices and pet shows abound with free samples of the largest, most nutritionally advanced formulas.
Another way to save money is by clipping coupons from your daily Saturday or Sunday newspaper coupon section. Because of the fierce competition between major supermarket brand pet foods, high value (and free) coupon offers have become a common method for luring new customers. Since most supermarkets double manufacturers coupons, those $.50 to $1.50 coupons can add up to great savings at the checkout counter, whether you’re testing new brands or buying your regular pet food. Even “gourmet” pet food producers have gotten into the coupon act by advertising discounts and savings in pet magazines and newsletters.
You will also find great savings for many other pet services. Pet grooming, flea control, pet-sitting, training, boarding facilities and pet insurance are important services many of us need at one time or another. The more you know about these services, the more you can save when you choose which one(s) are best suited for you and your pet. Are you interested in learning or doing more for the pet and animal community in your area? There are dozens of worthwhile organizations whose purposes are to protect and support the animal population of this country. We will introduce you to some of these important and interesting organizations whose continuing efforts are enhancing the quality of life for our pets and animals.
The more you know and learn about your pets, the better a “pet parent” you will be for them. To help you achieve this goal, we have included a variety of animal magazines, newsletters, books and book publishers. In most cases, we will show you how to get free sample issues and discounts on these valuable publications.
One of the best ways to compare and save on products for our pets is by shopping from mail-order catalogs. There are literally hundreds of catalogs with thousands of items for pets and pet lovers. Most of these catalogs are available free and many offer items at substantial savings. Why not do your comparison shopping from the comfort of your home? Your research will pay off handsomely in the dollars you’ll save by finding the lowest prices and best values. Better yet, do your comparison shopping over the Internet. Sites for pet products abound. This is one of the most competitive retail areas on the World Wide Web. Special offers, discounts, free shipping and more are some of the ways online pet sites are trying to entice shoppers to try buying from them. And once they have you as a customer, they want you to keep coming back. Online catalogs and brick and mortar chain stores that have established web sites all want your business and are willing to give you more for your money to get it.
Free stuff for your pet is all around you. Great savings on quality products and services are there for the asking. By becoming a smart shopper and using the information in the following chapters, you can enjoy many years with happy, healthy pets in your home and extra cash in your pocket!
©2001 by Linda Bowman
The author of the Free Stuff series of books is a professional bargain hunter. She has appeared on television talk shows, syndicated radio shows, and has been a featured expert columnist in such publications as Bottom Line and Money Worth. She makes her home in the Los Angeles area.