We got a dog for our only child and tips on how you can lower expenses when owning a pet

Hi friends! Back in March of this year, we lost our family dog. Musd was almost sixteen years old when she passed away. She was a beautiful little poodle who thought she was a human, and the alpha dog in our family. (When we were teenagers, we didn't know how to train her well. I don't think we were using Google yet when we first got her!) 

The hubby and I have decided for a while now that Phil will be our only child. There are many reasons for this. We want to devote our time and love to one child. The birthing process and my pregnancy were hard on me. I've had one miscarriage before. And now that we have little help in Seattle (we are far from our longtime friends and most family members), it is difficult for us to have another child. People say only children are spoiled and lonely, but Phil is neither spoiled nor lonely.

We do see, however, that he may benefit from a dog in the house. For one, dogs boost immunity in children. A dog can help develop a child's caring and nurturing nature. A dog can be a great playmate and best friend, and the most loyal companion one could ask for. 

Here is Panda, a shih-poo, and Mama Kat

Here is Panda, a shih-poo, and Mama Kat

First, we tried to adopt a dog; unfortunately, it did not work out with four dogs. One was beautiful and healthy, but too aggressive and a biter. Phil was so scared of that dog. Another one was sickly and her monthly medications were too costly for us. Another dog, we tried to love, but there was just no connection. And the final one we wanted ended up going to another family. 

I know people will ask, why not try harder to adopt a dog? Why did you guys give up so easily? There are so many dogs out there who need love. We understand that. We decided to go with a reputable breeder with many years of breeding experience, and brought home a new puppy, one that Phil can grow up with. We decided a fresh start dog would be best for our family, one that isn't aggressive, is healthy, will be easy to train, and one that we all fell in love with at first sight. We also went with a smaller dog, because smaller dogs are easier to maintain. (Cleaning and drying her takes less than 20 minutes!) 

Are we terrible people for not adopting a dog and going with a breeder? People will always judge. We continue to have our own biological children when there are plenty of children waiting for adoption. Some of us want to have nine children, and actually have nine or more children! Some of us have no children. Some of us decide to never get married. Some one us, like my husband and I, just want one child. So readers, I hope you won't judge us for our decision to go with a breeder, and welcome our new family member, Panda the shihpoo. 

Puppy proofing our house took a bit of time. These first two nights have been challenging. But we all love our little Panda already. Please welcome Panda the shihpoo to the Phil and Mama team!

Your Pet Shouldn’t be a Big Expense

Guest segment by Mary Nielsen

Adopting a pet shouldn’t mean you’ll be spending huge amounts of money for his upkeep and health. Look at the items you buy for him and think of ways to save your money.

Research Healthy Pet Foods

Get online. Ask your vet. Compare ingredient lists. Once you have done all this, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to make the best food choice for your animal friend.

Compare Charges on Vets and Medications

Rather than just going with the first vet you see online (or in the phone book), compare charges. Call each vet, then decide which vet to use. Do the same with medications when he is sick. Ask for generic formulations—they cost less.

Get Only the Vaccinations He Needs

If your pet is an indoor-only animal, he doesn’t need the full regimen of shots. He should be able to get by with only the mandatory rabies shot. Get additional shots you feel he needs after consulting with your vet.

Buy Only the Insurance You Need

Vet services can cost big bucks. Google the different plans and choose the one that best meets your pet's needs and your budget.

Save Big by Altering Your Pet

Allowing your pet to go without neutering almost guarantees hormone-related illnesses and behavior issues down the road. Have him neutered and save your money for other expenses.

Learn How to Groom Him

Groomers can cost a lot of money. Rather than paying that out to someone else’s business, why not learn to do the work yourself? Find a groomer willing to show you how to clip fur and claws, clean ears and even brush your pet’s teeth. Learn, too, how to look for problems with your pet’s fur, teeth, ears or gums.

Exchange Services with a Friend

Now that you’ve learned to groom your pet, help your pet-owning friends by grooming their animals. And, rather than charging for this service, suggest a barter arrangement. You’ll groom their animals in the future, if they’ll pet-sit when you go out of town.

Keep Your Pet Healthy with Play

Your pet won’t stay slender all on his own. He needs your help. Create a daily playtime with your pet and allow him to chase one of his favorite toys. Make toys out of items you have at home. Use an empty water bottle to make another toy. Providing toys doesn't have to be an expensive proposition.