Keep Pet Care Costs Down and Keep Your Pets

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This week's Money Saving Monday report focuses on maintaining your entire family when finances are tight.

That means caring for the furry members and not having to surrender a pet because of a money shortage.

There are resources available in the Tennessee Valley and beyond to help people who need a break on pet care costs.

Staffers at the Greater Huntsville Humane Society say calls come in daily from pet owners ready to surrender their pets, because they can no longer afford the expenses of caring for them.

Warren Candler, Executive Director of the GHHS, says avoiding that starts with common sense.

"The best way to save money is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," says Candler.

That means observe the leash law, so an animal isn't injured by a car or attacked by wildlife; have the pet spayed or neutered to prevent the cost of more animals; and most important --

"You need to have a veterinarian that you can call on that knows you and knows your animal," Candler said.  "That will be your best asset."

Veterinarians can teach you how to do some things yourself instead of paying for them, such as clipping nails -- if they are not black in color -- cleaning ears and teeth and grooming.

As for pet food, the GHHS offers a pantry for those who have an annual income of $15,000 or less.  They also run a thrift store with deeply discounted pet supplies.

Beyond that, it's worth your while to hunt for deals online.

On Facebook, there's a site for pet food stamps, operated out of New York but designed to provide assistance to people who need it nationwide.  (Here's another site for pet food stamps.)

There's a site that provides discounts on food and supplies and cash back on purchases.

There are sites that provide free samples and free supplies.

Outside of Facebook, there are all kinds of coupons for online and in-store purchases.

This online site ( has several for large suppliers such as Pet Smart, Petco, Target and K Mart.

Also, another bit of advice: call around and ask charitable organizations, shelters and even vet offices if they have any donations available.  The worst they can say is no, but they could connect you to a group which could help.

By the way, most of these pet food pantries survive on donations only, so if you have a little extra money and you love animals, consider donating to them.

The pantry at the GHHS is called King's Community Kitchen and they are always in need of dry dog food.