06/14/2013 03:37 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2015

Save on Summer Pet Costs

By Kendal Perez for

The dog days of summer are upon us, and that means lots of outdoor time for your pets. Though lounging in a shady spot is favored by your cat, your dog is likely eager for daily walks and playtime at the park.

Despite the carefree nature of the season, there are some surprising expenses associated with pet ownership during summer months. Read on for tips to keep your pets healthy without sabotaging your vacation fund.

1. Annual Exams

Annual exams are common in the summertime because of vaccinations required for such seasonal ailments as fleas, ticks and heartworm. In addition to shots and blood work, office visit fees can tack on an extra $30 to your bill. Some veterinary practices offer free clinic days to encourage pet owners to get their dogs and cats vaccinated, so check your local Humane Society branch for lists of participating clinics.

2. Medications

Pet owners are required to get their cats and dogs tested for heartworm -- a disease caused by a parasitic worm and contracted through mosquitos -- before receiving a prescription for preventive medication. That's because the meds can actually harm or even kill dogs if they already have the disease, according to the American Heartworm Society. Once your animal is tested, you can save money with generic medications and they are sufficient in most cases. Check with your vet!

3. Treatments

Both dogs and cats are susceptible to fleas and ticks, and treatment types abound at big-box stores and specialty pet shops. Much like generic meds, you can often find treatments for less by shopping online. Head over to to get 10-percent off topical treatments for fleas and ticks from 1-800-PetMeds.

4. Kenneling

Summer vacation plans may require you to leave your pet behind for a time. Expect to shell out $20 for "no frills" kennels, and close to $50 per day for the full treatment. Depending on the personality of your dog, kenneling might cause anxiety and stress, leading to diminished energy and appetite. Consider alternatives to kenneling before you make a reservation, including pet sitting from a neighbor or trusted friend. If you do intend to kennel, make sure your dog gets a vaccination for kennel cough.

5. Grooming

Eighty-degree weather may be ideal for beach-goers, but long-haired dogs are especially miserable in the heat. Proper grooming is an important component in defending against heat stroke, plus it keeps shedding to a minimum. Since frequent grooming costs can add up to $500 per year, look for daily deals from local shops. You can also sign up for DoggyLoot, the pet-specific daily deal site designed to help pet owners save on such necessities.

6. Emergencies

Pet emergencies can strike at any time, and summertime activities tend to increase the risk. Animal bites, fights and accidents can land you in the emergency vet clinic with a sick cat or dog. Since these visits are often rife with emotional and financial expense, make sure you have a cushion in your savings account allocated for pet-related emergencies. If you find yourself unable to pay for your animal's care, consult this list of organizations who can help.

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Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the marketing coordinator for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as People StyleWatch, TIME Business & Money, FOX, ABC, and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit For all media inquiries, please contact Kendal Perez at