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Six Tips to Save Thousands on Pet Care

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans are expected to shell out a whopping $55 billion on their animals this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

But do canine costs have to put your family budget in the doghouse?  Animal insider and veterinarian Dr. Liz Hanson says no.

Here are some tips to help you save:

Tip #1: Pet Care Services.  Hanson says use apps like Pet Care Services to compare prices of area groomers, dog walkers and animal hospitals. You can even find the closest dog parks.

Tip #2: Don’t always buy medicines from your vet.  Hanson says, “There is a markup at the veterinary hospital.”  

Tip #3: GoodRx.  To make sure you’re getting the best price, go to the GoodRx Pets’ brand new free website.

Tip #4: Save on food.  When you’re ready to buy, consider Amazon’s Subscribe and Save.  You’ll save 15 percent and they’ll deliver for free.

Tip #5: Try  Next time your family’s away, consider  With 10,000 vetted hosts across America, families in your town sign up to pamper pups right from their own homes.  They’re also about 40 percent cheaper than a kennel.

Tip #6: Pet insurance may not be right for your dog.  Pet insurance can take a bite out of your bottom line and it may not be right for your dog depending on the breed. Certain dogs are more susceptible to illness, such as golden retrievers, Cocker spaniels, labs and bulldogs. Terriers and greyhounds are least prone. Before you buy, consult your vet.

Daily dental cleanings can also add two to four years to your dog’s life. Giving them dental treats helps too.

“Saving money with preventative care is huge,” Hanson said.  “If you do not take care of your dog’s teeth, it can lead to significant kidney disease, significant heart failure.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio