TODAY   |  March 22, 2013

7 ways to keep your pet healthy without overspending

Pets are an important part of families, but man’s best friend can be very pricey. TODAY financial editor Jean Chatzky gives advice on how to save money on everything from pet food and medication to toys and training.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> paying for your pets, most people, a dog or a cat is part of the family. somebody's biting my finger and taking care of them can get pricey. here with some solutions, financialedor jeanne cha chatzky. who needs a chew toy when you have a finger. people spend a lot on their pets.

>> $55 billion a year on pets starting with the cost of owning a pet. these dachshunds are from the aspca, they are up for adoption, they've already been taken but you adopt from the aspca for $50 to $250. this is from mose goldens, in new jersey. he's already been adopted he's $1,800. the size of the pet determines how much you'll spend the first year so $1,800 for a big dog versus $1,300 for a small one.

>> are we wasting our money and not realizing it on these items just spending too much?

>> some of it is a matter of taste. i'm going to show you some luxury sweaters.

>> depends on the people.

>> leashes, where you can get away with less.

>> people love their pets as much as, some people love them as much as their kids so they're going to spend the must be. let's start with food. so many options to food.

>> it's a matter, you get what you pay for in many cases. you want to make sure the ingredients on the food, the first two ingredients are meat or meat-based. the newman's organic food is an $18 bag versus an $11 bag, a $12 bag for the purina one.

>> a lot of dog and pet food has corn fillers. you have to keep an eye out.

>> you have to keep careful but always look for coupons, the purina folks have coupons on their website and it's a thing you should look for in general.

>> how about pet medicine?

>> this the equivalent of the name brand medicine the front line . the pet armor is the genetic. look for medicines that have been tested. pet armor has been tested. the front line targets the larvae of the fleas so if you have an infestation in your home, not anything pleasant but that's something you want to look for but this is twice the cost in many cases of the pet armor.

>> let me fix my microphone.

>> a little aggressive.

>> the website has a $5 coupon.

>> save money that way.

>> toys you think of them as a luxury for your dog. in reality they're beneficial. the humane society talks about toys for comfort that would be a snuggly toy although this is a snuggly toy dyna from for a very large dog. when your pet shakes around a toy like it wants to kill it, that's the equivalent of a comfort toy. there are also toys that are good for the dog's -- uhm --

>> you're getting the giggles.

>> she's making cute noises. she's adorable.

>> good for the dog's boredom factor. nyla bone.

>> or a microphone. leashes also an accessory and clothing, you have your two dogs right here.

>> the brown one is my dog, the white dog is actually about a wow dog.

>> what are they wearing?

>> quincy is in yellow and he's wearing a sweater from, it's $95.

>> wow, pricey.

>> petty is wearing a sweater from, it's $11.99, not just a luxury item . if you have a dog in the winter and it goes outside -- you're making me laugh -- goes outside --

>> go back to the finger, the fingers are better.

>> people keep the heat down in the winter, you need a sweater, put a sweater