How to save money and keep your pet healthy
HAVING a pet is a long-term commitment and it's not cheap, but there are ways to ensure man's best friend doesn't break the bank.
Julie Penlington, from 4 Paws Animal Rescue, has learnt over many years what seems to be expensive upfront, ends up saving money in the long run.
Her number one tip for anyone getting a pet, even if their budget is at bare minimum, is get pet insurance.
"Even if this is all you can afford that's an extra, it's worth it. You can get if from around $25 a month and can even have it linked to your home insurance," she said.
"This way, if some accident or emergency or unexpected catastrophic event happens with your animal, you don't face insurmountable vet bills."
She also advised not to skimp on the cost of pet food.
"Buying good quality brand pet food saves you money in the long run," she said.
"People often think 'I'm not going to buy a good brand of food as it costs so much', but you use less of it.
"When you cost it out, it comes to the same price as supermarket foods, but is better for animals."
Ms Penlington mixes some chicken with her dry food.
"You have always got to have dry food, but I buy chicken and put a little on top," she said.
She recommended the Hill's Science brands or Royal Canin.
"Getting your dog or cat checked every year also prevents problems later," she said.
Ms Penlington view echoed that of Nicklin Way Veterinary Surgery head nurse, Simone Byatt.
"In terms of feeding, I always recommend premium food as this helps to minimise long-term health problems," Mrs Byatt said.
"Cooking it yourself is tricky as it takes research to make sure you get the rations correct.
"I don't recommend it for the long term."
Mrs Byatt also recommended puppy school.
"This will not only save on furniture (from chewing) but will ensure life is more pleasant," she said.
"Having a pet is an investment. It's the same as having children. There is no such thing as doing it on the cheap.
"You should ensure they are properly vaccinated, have flea control, pet insurance and dog training.
"Remember, only 10% of the fleas are found on the pet, the rest are in the environment."