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This is my third year of tracking our pet finances here at the House of Two Bows. This is an ongoing effort to get a practical sense of what it costs to keep two 20 ~ 30 pound adult dogs in an area of the US with relatively high costs of living. Previous posts in this series can be found under the category of finances.

The Cost of (Pet) Things for February 2013:

  • Food: $135
  • Treats: $3
  • Grooming: $15
  • Accessories and misc: $12
  • Vet & Medical: $0
  • TOTAL: $165 (running total for 2013 ~$133/month)

Just when I thought I was on my way to saving some money this February, a major household appliance like a refrigerator craps out…

Luckily, we really didn’t lose that much frozen dog food. I was able to shift some stuff over to my sister’s nearly-empty freezer — thank goodness she had space in her new home! and I basically let the Bows gorge on what I couldn’t really save. I think the evidence of this month’s refrigerator crisis is still evident on their torsos…

Anyway, we only lost about $20 worth of dog food (we won’t talk about the human food though), mainly in the form of cheaper and replaceable items like the ostrich frames that I still had leftover from a Creston Valley Meat purchase back in 2011. In purging the freezer inventory, I learned a lesson: we can’t really go through an entire case until I have a bone saw. We also sacrificed a heap of sardines and chicken liver (approx. $2/pound), which I was reluctant to feed too much of at once. However, most of the meats survived!

Wag.com order

So this month’s food purchases actually aren’t due to the necessity of replenishing raw stock. Rather, we were out of Honest Kitchen, so I put in a big order with Wag.com, taking advantage of their free shipping and a 20% discount for first-time orders with a reference code from Maya. I remain resistant to mail order dog supply services, preferring to support my local businesses whenever possible. On the other hand, I’m willing to milk an offer when it’s available. I got a 10 pound box of Honest Kitchen Keen (turkey + oats, one of their cheaper formulas), 7 pounds of Preference (meat-free premix), and a small bag of Canidae Pure Sea, the grain-free, fish-based recipe that I’ve wanted to try for some time. That was $120, and will certainly get us through March and more. The rest of the month’s food expenses came from various sale meats and the usual supplements like fish oil and yogurt.

Treats were more chicken hearts and gizzards thrown into the dehydrator. We got a bit of a boost this month from another round of freebies from Pawalla.com and their new Mini box, which we’ll be reviewing shortly.

Grooming was the surprise expense this month, thanks to that unfortunate encounter with horse poop on the trails.

"Worst trip to the pet store ever."

Usually, we handle all grooming at home, but the horse poop this time was so bad and so stuck to both dogs, I decided to try out the self-service bathing stations at the local Pet Food Express chain. For $15, you get the works — your choice of Earthbath shampoos, a raised, tiled wash station with handy clips built into the surrounding walls to secure your pets, a blow dryer, all the quick-dry towels you need and plenty of time to hose down your pets. I was able to do both Bows on one token, taking about 20 minutes. Apparently the station shuts off after 25 minutes, but I didn’t reach the limit. The best part was not having to pluck Shiba coat out of the drain or washing heaps of towels! I’d definitely spring for this again if a similar situation arises…

And knowing the Bows, it will happen again, whether any of us like it or not.

Last accessory was a Kurgo Shorty Bucket Dog Car Seat Cover, purchased on clearance at $12 instead of the regular PetCo price of $29.99. I wouldn’t have paid full price for it, but with that steep discount, I was willing to replace the dusty towels I’d been using for the [futile] purpose of keeping Shiba hair out of the crevices of the Mazda seat. Is it worth it? We’ll see… Bowdu doesn’t seem to notice or care, but he’s not the one vacuuming out the car every few weeks for sake of “presentability”…

Kurgo Shorty bucket seat cover