The Poop on Pet Ownership

The Poop on Pet Ownership

Anyone who owns a dog or a cat (or any other creature for that matter) will tell you that soon enough, these four-legged friends become like children to you–even if you have “regular” children. And like your children, you want to do your best in taking care of them by giving them the best things that you can afford. This includes medicine.

Since we got our cocker spaniel/golden retriever/beagle mix five years ago, I’ve been buying his medicines (heartworm and flea/tick prevention) from the vet, simply because it was the easiest thing to do. But yesterday I got a catalog in the mail called Doctors Foster and Smith that showed the same flea/tick prevention I paid about $50 for at the vet for only $35. Considering you get only three applications per package, I could be spending a little over $100 for a year’s worth instead of $200+ at the vet. Ouch, that hurts.

Once I started checking around I discovered that there are a number of legit places on the web where you can buy your pet’s meds, including the appropriately named website There, the same package of flea/tick prevention is almost $45, not a great bargain, but it does stock the heartworm medicine I need for $33. (The other catalog does not.) Again, this would be a huge savings over the vet, which charges $53 for a six-pack of heartworm medicine. I understand from my fellow pet owners, though, that unless you order enough to qualify for free shipping, you forego great savings. Over at, I have to spend $39 only for free shipping. Heck, that’s one box of Frontline Plus, and I’m good!

On a related matter, while searching for pet meds on the web, I couldn’t believe it when I came across websites selling poop bags. You’re kidding, right? People spend money on the thing they use to pick up their dog’s poop? Thanks to my mother’s cheap Yankee roots, I’ve been doing what she did when I was a kid and we needed poop bags for walking our dog: stockpiling plastic grocery bags, empty bread bags, the little bags the Sunday paper comes in and anything else that’s plastic and shaped somewhat like a bag, and that’s what I’ve been using for doggie doodie duty.

Even before I adopted our frugal ways, I couldn’t fathom paying for poop bags, but obviously tons of people do it. Why else would a Google search using the words “poop bags” yield 43,000+ hits?

Think about it this way: my stockpiling method not only saves us money but it also helps us do something a little bit good for the environment by reusing something that normally would have just ended up in the trash.