Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review: Barkonomics, tips for frugal fidos

Working in the pet industry for the past 14 years, I've had direct experience with just about every category of pet supplies and pet foods on the market today. I've worked closely with manufacturers, nutritionists, vets and experts who develop, formulate and bring some amazing pet products to consumers. I know first hand the development costs of such endeavors, and I can tell you it can be very expensive to bring a product to market. That's just one reason why the cost of pet supplies can be surprisingly high when you have your first experience shopping for a new pet. 

Shelters and animal rescue groups do great job explaining the potential costs to care for a healthy pet annually. Depending on the size of the pet, it can range anywhere from $400 to $800 per year, at a minimum. For some pet parents that can be a burden. Shelters disclose that so newly adopted pets are not abandoned when the consumer realizes how much the basics can cost.

There are a number of great books available about caring for your pet. One relatively new title is 'Barkonomics: tips for frugal fidos' written by Paris Permenter and John Bigley, the team from

When I attended BarkWorld Expo last year I saw first hand how well revered is among pet bloggers and passionate pet parents. I've been following Dog Tipper on Twitter for some time, when they announced their new book it caught my interest. I wrote to one of the authors and invited her to be a guest on The Palm Springs Savant & Co radio show. (In full disclosure, they provided a complimentary copy of 'Barkonomics' to read before the show.) My radio show tends to attract a number of pet people, so I knew that the topic of finding ways to save money to better afford pet care would be a popular segment.

Barkonomics is a handy reference book, boasting more than 300 ways to save money in pet care and supplies. It includes everything from Do It Yourself ideas, finding coupons in e-newsletters form your favorite pet retailers, to stretching your pet shampoo. 

The one chapter I diverge from is on making your own dog food. It is a popular topic among message boards and many blogs, so I fully understand why they included this section in their book. While dog food is not rocket science, in my opinion it can be risky to feed a dog a homemade food long-term. Regular readers of this blog know that I work for Natural Balance, so of course I am partial to recommending our brand of dog food. A home made meal snack here or there is fine, but in my opinion- for your dog's primary meal, feed an all-natural, complete and balanced, nutritionally complete pet food available in a pet specialty store. I believe it is the best way to know it has everything your dog will need to remain healthy. To their credit, the authors provide tips on how to find deals on pet food, so you can still save money if you are a smart shopper!

Barkonomics has a well organized Table of Contents and Appendix that make this a valuable book to have on hand. I especially liked the section on Training and Exercise.

I applaud the authors for taking a responsible stand offering the 'Five Dog Expenses to Never Cut', which are: 1. Spay & Neuter, 2. Quality Dog Food, 3. Core vaccines, 4. Heartworm Preventative, and 5. Annual Health Exam.

Barkonomics is available for purchase on, other online bookstores or through or local independent bookstores.


Odat said...

Wow...that's a lot of info! Good stuff! But, ya know, even tho I'm retired, I am not going to start making my own dog food..thank you very
How ya been????
I can't believe you met Mini Me!!!! lol.

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

The best pictures on the net, Mr. Rockhill!!!


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