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Keep your pet happy on a budget while you're at work

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

How to pamper your pet

What do you do if you're a dog lover with a full-time job and other important obligations? You want the best for your canine pal, but that doesn't have to mean giving up interactions with other humans.
Dog walker

Even if you're on a budget, you can provide for your best friend -- even while you're gone.

Doggie daycare seems like a great option for keeping your fur-baby healthy and happy while you're at work. But the reality is, it can be just as (if not more) expensive than daycare for your human babes. These days, budgets are tight for all of us, but that doesn't mean we don't love our pups just as much as ever. If doggie daycare isn't right for you, consider these alternatives to keep your dog healthy and happy while you're away.

Consider a dog-walker

Hiring a dog-walker may seem a bit pricey -- and it actually can be if you don't look around. Plenty of dog-walking services have add-ons that are really convenient, but aren't really necessary for the most part. You don't need a service that takes them on special doggie vacays every day (how often do you go to the spa?). You just need someone to stop by your place, pick up your pooch and make sure he gets some exercise for an hour or two.

Skip the fancy services in favor of a private dog-walker. That usually mean your dog will be walked with others, though, so make sure he's well socialized with other animals and obeys traditional verbal commands well. The dog-walker won't be able to adjust to your pet's special habits while walking three to five other animals. Your dog should respond well to sit, stay, heel and any other commands your walker needs.

Get friendly with your neighbors

Dogs need interaction (human or canine) and fresh air. If you're going to be gone for a while, ask a neighbor to look after your pet from time to time. Neighbors who also have pets will likely be glad to help -- if for no other reason, then because you'll owe them the same favor. If you don't know all your neighbors, this is a good time to get to know them. With their parents permission (and supervision), you may even be able to give an older child in the neighborhood a few dollars a day to look in on your animal for half an hour once or twice a day.

Don't count doggie daycare out (completely)

Doggie daycare is undoubtedly expensive. But you may be able to find some that are reasonably priced enough to do some good. The reality is, a lot of dogs are fine alone for extended periods of time. Look for a dog-sitting service that allows you to bring your dog in occasionally for a few hours here and there. She'll get the break from loneliness and socialization she needs and you can feel good about treating your baby right... without breaking the bank.

More ways to care for your pet

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What to do when you can no longer take care of a pet

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