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  • I made a great dog bed by cutting up an old foam mattress.  This required a hand saw, but didn't take much effort.  I went to the local coffee bean shop and got free hessian coffee bean sacks.  I used these as bed slips.  All in all I managed to get 2 large dog beds and 2 cat sized beds for free.  They look great and my pets love them. - C.S., Nelson


  • To stop your neighbours cat hanging around your door or digging up your precious vegetables buy a water pistol from a cheap variety store. Much cheaper than chemical repellents and only squirting twice gets the message across. - Dorothy, Whangarei.

Elderley pet care

  • Elderly pet tips - Be careful when giving elderly dogs (over 10) bones. Their teeth might be worn and break. Soak dried food in hot water for an hour prior to feeding to an elderly dog. - P.B.


  • I bulk buy frozen food(K9) in 5kg lots for my dog and find that weighing a daily amount and bagging it up in the blue bags is a very handy way to store it in the freezer. it helps identify dog food in the freezer and once she has eaten it I re-use the bag for scooping the poop. Saves finding lots of containers. My dog is on 400 grams a day which fits nicely in the blue bags which have to be the cheapest bags around. - Canny scot, Christchurch

  • Diane of Paraparaumu has a cat food recipe and a comment about feeding pets linseed (which was suggested by Margaret from Whangarei). Diane says, “This can be a bit dangerous as it can be a pain instigator in some. I would suggest that if giving it to animals make sure it is a very small amount and no often than once per fortnight - smaller dogs, once per month. Linseed may contain Omega 6 which is in plant material and vegetable oils and according to a book I have, can be pain inducing, whereas Omega 3 in fish oil is pain reducing. Here’s my cat food recipe (dogs may love it too and may get the same benefits).  Get about 3kg of fish scraps from a fish purveyor - the cost is minimal if not free. Put in a large, preferably stainless steel pot. Just cover with water and cook gently until fish turns white.  Use a potato masher to mash up the fish and loosen all the bones. Remove bones and bury in the garden if you have one. Once the mixture is cold, put into plastic containers, water and all, and freeze. It makes around eight decent sized pottles. When thawed for use, it will have formed a lovely gelatinous jelly and a welcome addition to a cat's diet.” 

  • To make dog food (dry) make a vege stew, pumpkin as a base, pasta or rice, boil all together and add garlic, not in the drinking water as dogs will not drink water with additives. Don't ever put onions, leeks into dog stew. The garlic helps with worms and fleas. - N.P., Hastings

  • Before rinsing our margarine or ice cream containers for the recycle bin give them to your dog to lick clean. Dogs like it and butter wraps too. - P.B.

  • Our dog developed an allergy to red meat (very common in older dogs )The vet recommended a diet of cooked rice, veges, and a little dried dog food. He advised us to buy the cheapest rice and cook it up in bulk and to add carrots and greens. When we had chicken, she had the leftovers as well. She lived another 8 years on this diet and was very healthy and happy. - J.B.

  • Linseed seeds cooked in the food for dogs, gives them a shinny coat. - Margaret, Whangarei.

  • When feeding puppies or younger dogs, boil up all your vegie scraps (potato skins and carrot peelings etc), then when soft, mash them up.... they really love it and it's great for them.  Also lavender, freshly picked and rubbed along a dogs back, keeps away fleas!!! - Kaye, Te Puke.

  • One chicken has many create uses. Firstly cooked chicken makes a superb roast, any meat left over etc is great cold for sandwiches the next day. Then use the carcass to make  chicken stock. Add 6 cups of water, 2 leeks, 2 carrots, 1 bay leaf, peppercorns, celery, fresh chopped thyme and parsley, bring boil, then simmer for a couple of hours then strain. All the chicken meat falls off. I then use the cooked vegetables and chicken for dog food which I mix in with their dog biscuits. I then use the chicken stock to make homemade pumpkin soap, which I then freeze into lunch serving portions. - Sandee Bee, Auckland.


  • When I clean out my fish tanks (2) I save the water for my indoor plants, and out side one's as well, the water has lots of nutrients, and my plant's flourish. Give it a go. - D.M.


  • This is a good and cheap flea remedy for cats and dogs that works. Mix 225 ml cider vinegar with 112 ml of warm water. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Shake well, put into a spray bottle and apply. - Margaret, Invercargill.

  • Flea treatments cost a fortune!! What we've done with our two cats is to train them from kitten to be bathed and brushed regularly. We usually only get fleas on them if we go away for a few days (those who feed them don't comb them), but a few vigilant weeks of bathing ang brushing sees them right. -  J.Y., Dannevirke

Free to a good home

  • Free to a good home is the best way to “buy” pets. No need to waste money when so many pets are looking for good homes. (One word of warning for those offering pets free to a good home – make sue it is a good home and not on-sold.)


  • My cat suffers from skin allergies -maybe from flea bites, maybe something else - but I used to spend hundreds of dollars every year on vet visits and cortisone injections, as he would lick constantly and end up with bald and/or weepy/bloody patches. After researching online, I now give him a cod liver oil capsule every 2 or 3 nights, and his coat is gorgeous and intact. Caps are around $7 for 100, what a relief all round! - Karen, Palmerston North

  • Put a glove of garlic into your dog’s drinking water – it keeps fleas at bay and works as a worm treatment. - P.B. [M.J. of Dunedin has a word of caution: Garlic and any member of the onion family is dangerous for dogs, as it causes haemolytic anaemia and can cause death or very expensive vet bills.]

  • Lavender, freshly picked and rubbed along a dogs back, keeps away fleas!!! - Kaye, Te Puke.

Kitty litter

  • For kitty litter I use wood pellets, (the ones used in pellet fires). I find them very economical. - Fay, Blenheim

  • Kitty litter gets expensive and becomes a disposal problem. I now use wood shavings which can be used to help mulch the garden once used. There is no smell with this. – Reader, Masterton.

    I brought kitty litter liners but the cat keeps making holes and driving us nuts with the noise of her mucking around with the plastic at night etc, so they not completely a waste of money I recyced the liners by using them to pick up cats poos and throw out or as rubbish bin bags in small bins. I got frugal because we don't have many plastic bags so I used the plastic liners for these ideas. – Lori, Lower Hutt.

  • I have Kitty litter instead of using the litter bags I use news papers and then dump it in the rubbish bags ready to be taken on rubbish day. - L.M., Waikanae.

Making money

  • I bought 2 Chihuahua for $250. Sold one for $250, bought a male dog, had a litter of  puppies and sold the puppies for $1150. I have the where with all for another litter and have already had 2 studs on the dog at $250!. - P.B.


  • A small pure bred dog that barks is the best burglar alarm. 


  • Getting a pet from the SPCA may cost more than a free to a go home animal but pets from the SPCA are already desexed (or come with discount for desexing) and have been vet checked and vaccinated already. - Sweatpea


  • Transporting pets. Put in a pet cage and cover with a towel to keep pet calm. Securing cage with a seat belt gives extra protection in case of accident. - Stella Hughes, Napier.

  • You don’t need to buy an expensive pet cage to carry a cat or small dog. An old wooden crate is good enough. Two washing baskets placed one upside down on top of the other would work equally as well. Hinge the sides with string ties.

  • Forget a cat cage. Put you cat in a pillow case to transport. Secure the top. Keeps calmer as the don't slide around and they can easily breath. - J.M. Christchurch.


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