Pets are expensive! Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, lizard, or some other animal, your furry companion will undoubtedly come alongside some unexpected costs. To be happy and fulfilled, pets need food, toys, a bed, healthcare, and regular maintenance. Keeping up with all of these things can be expensive, and if your pet gets sick, it can get even crazier. This article features some pro tips for keeping your pets happy without breaking the bank.
Tips For Saving Money on Pets
There are various places where you may be able to save money while still caring for your pet to the best of your ability. For example, getting pet food on sale doesn’t necessarily mean your pet isn’t getting proper nutrition. Additionally, seeking the most affordable vet doesn’t mean your pet will get sub-par medical care. Sometimes, finding cheaper options for pet care means that both you and your pet will be happier, as you will be less stressed about money. You’ll also have more in your pocket to spend on unexpected costs.
Buy A Smaller Pet
Buying a smaller pet can actually result in some significantly smaller costs. Smaller pets require smaller and cheaper toys, beds, treats, and other items. Food will also cost significantly less when you have a smaller pet because they don’t eat nearly as much as larger pets. For example, a smaller dog may cost you almost $300 less yearly than a larger dog.
Adopt or Rescue Instead of Buy
Breeders can charge ridiculous prices for “designer pets,” some of them even into the thousands of dollars for one puppy or kitten. Going to a breeder can be entirely understandable if you need a hypo-allergenic dog or have specific pet needs. However, adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization is significantly cheaper. On top of the more reasonable costs, adoption fees from a shelter often also cover expensive costs like vaccinations or health checks. Adopting a pet from a shelter can also save that pet’s life, as millions of pets in shelters are euthanized yearly.
Give Your Pets Some Human Food
Rather than buying expensive pet food all the time, you can sometimes give your pet the things you eat (depending on their species and breed). Especially for cats, giving them human food can be enjoyable for both them and you. Things like steamed broccoli, baked carrots, or boiled eggs are all excellent for cats to eat and can reduce your overall food costs. Just be sure to check with your vet regarding which foods are safe for your pet. The last thing you want is the unexpected cost of your pet getting sick from something you shouldn’t have fed them!
Watch For Food and Toy Sales
Become a member of the rewards program at your local pet supply store. This might be Petco, Petsmart, or another place. Subscribing to email lists or newsletters will allow you to see any sales or coupons currently active at the store. When pet food or toys go on sale, buy them while you can! And if your pet isn’t particularly picky with their food, you can get whatever is on sale to save that extra few dollars. You can even stock up if the products are deeply discounted.
Store Your Pet Food Properly
Storing your pet food properly allows you to use it for as long as possible, so it doesn’t spoil. Keep pet food in a cool, dry place, so it doesn’t get moldy, and only fill your pets’ dishes up as much as they will actually eat. Even if extra food sits out in their bowl overnight, they might not want to eat it, so only give them as much as they need, and then you can always refill if necessary. Also, always check your pet food’s expiration date and use the food that will expire first.
Train Your Pet Yourself
Rather than hiring an expensive pet trainer, learn how to train your pet yourself to do the tasks you need. Even the most basic puppy training can cost upwards of $200, which might not be in the budget after the expense of getting a brand new pet. Instead, buy some pet training books or look on YouTube for some free pet training videos. Some online resources can show you how to train and discipline your pets and teach them how to do tricks. Some resources even show you how to train a cat to use the toilet. If you can get past the yuck factor or this one, you might even save money on cat litter.
Buy Items in Bulk
Similar to the previous tip about food going on sale, buying pet food, bedding, or litter in bulk is a great way to save money on your pets over time. If you have a membership to wholesale clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club, go there to buy your dog food or cat litter instead of purchasing individual boxes and bags. While it might be more difficult to swallow the cost upfront, you won’t need to buy these things as often when purchasing in bulk.
Buy Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a great way to save money when it comes to unforeseen costs for your precious family member. Pet insurance allows you to pay a small monthly fee and protect yourself from massive unexpected costs if your pet has an accident or illness. For example, if your pet gets cancer and needs surgery, reliable pet insurance will cover most of the cost. However, shopping around for your pet insurance is essential to get the right one for your pet and your family.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Most pet enclosures aimed to protect your home and your items are marketing ploys. Rather than spend hundreds on a pen or kennel that will keep your animal away from your furniture or items, spend some time “pet-proofing” your home. You can get creative with fencing in your backyard, if you have one, rather than buying expensive pet fences. Additionally, many everyday items you already have can be a natural barrier to areas you want to keep your pet away from. For example, plastic bins can serve as barriers for fragile items you want your pet to avoid.
Don’t Skip Your Pet’s Yearly Vet Appointment
While a yearly vet check-up might seem expensive and unnecessary when your pet is healthy, it can actually save you quite a bit of money in the future. Annual vet check-ups allow you to make sure your pet is healthy and normal. Additionally, if your vet notices something is wrong, you can catch it early instead of seeing it too late when your pet might suffer or be in pain.
Having a pet is inherently costly, but there are ways to reduce your overall financial burden. Hopefully, these tips can help you save money while maintaining your pet’s health and happiness.