5 ways to save money on your dog

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People love their dogs and they pay top dollar to show it. But keeping your pet healthy and happy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I’m Clark Palmer with your Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

Make sure you’re not over feeding your dog because that can lead to obesity and other health problems, says Chris Pinney, founder of Veterinaryinsider.com. And health problems can drain money from your wallet.

When health problems arise, talk with your vet to see what can be done to minimize cost but still give your dog the treatment it needs. And ask about any available payment plans.

Buying pet health insurance will help you avoid excruciating decisions about whether you can afford to treat your pet, says Loran Hickton, former executive director of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

An alternative to insurance is a savings account. It’s a cheaper approach that should cover most of your problems while you save money, says Pinney.

And you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on toys. Two will do, because your dog will like to interact with you regardless, Pinney says.

For more tips on frugal spending, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Clark Palmer.