We spend billions of dollars a year on our cats and dogs. In these tough-money times, there are ways to economize without doing wrong by your pet.

Let’s start with food, probably the biggest expense. Randolph veterinarian Brian Voynick says if you feed the dog table scraps, make sure they’re clean and lean. He says the care with the scraps is to make sure the dog does not develop stomach problems with what you feed him from the table.

You can probably ease up a little on the amount of food that goes into the dog’s bowl. And that saves money.

Voynick says if the animal is six or seven or older, having a urine sample analyzed at least yearly may head off more serious, and expensive, trouble later.

He says that can be what he calls, “very proactive”, and a lot less costly. But Voynick says it will give pet owners a lot of great information about the health of animal.

In regards to medicine, sometimes buying cheaper generics can save money, but Voynick advises checking with the Vet about that. He says some of the generics that can be substituted for more expensive brand names are perfectly fine.

In the year 2006, the total outlay for animal care was 9.2-Billion dollars in the United States. By 2011, that figure had risen to more than 13-Billion. There is such a thing as health insurance for pets. But less than three percent of pet owners carry that kind of coverage.