How to save money on pets

Here is the next post in our How to Save Money series and it’s about how to save money on your beloved pets.

Let’s face it, pets are awesome! In our family, we have one dog and two cats. Add a six-month-old to the mix and that makes for a pretty full house.

At times, especially with a baby, they can make things a little more hectic, but having them in our lives is a blessing and I wouldn’t trade anything for it.

Without getting too sappy, let’s see how we can save some money on these lovable animals.

Adopt instead of buying from a breeder

Being as my wife and I adopted all three of our pets, I will push for you to adopt instead of buying from a breeder. There are times when buying is necessary, however.

My parents, for example, bought a hypoallergenic dog from a breeder because my dad is ridiculously allergic to animals.

In all honesty, though, buying is super expensive. The average cost of buying from a breeder can range from $500 to $3,000! Alternatively, adopting a dog costs an average of $250 in adoptions fees and cats are even less, at $100.

Adopting a pet is much less expensive and it gives an animal a loving home. Adopt, don’t shop.

Keep your pets healthy

Stay up to date on all of their medications and vaccinations. This will help prevent them from getting sick and therefore, incurring much more expensive vet bills down the road.

Along the same line, make exercise for your pet a priority. Like humans, exercise is very important to your pet’s overall health and well-being. Get them outside, or if it’s cold out, give them a toy that will force them to exert some pent-up energy.

Save on toys

Toys are one of the factors that increase the cost of pet ownership. Toys can range in price from $5 to $30, depending on what you get. For cats, however, there are cat trees that can be as expensive as $200. What?!

There are a few ways to save money on toys. You can do what we do for our dog and buy stuffed animals from the thrift store. Mya destroys them right away anyway, so it doesn’t make sense for us to buy something from a pet store. We pay $.50 per toy at the thrift store and which saves us a ton of money.

When you are looking for stuffed animals, make sure you buy ones without beads and get ones with stitched eyes.

You can also make your own toys. A good one I read about is to cut a hole in a water bottle. Thread a knotted up sock through the hole, with the knot on the inside. Fill the water bottle with food or treats, cover the bottle, and watch them go to town. There are some other DIY pet toy ideas here.

 

IMG_20160706_200945243
This is Mya 🙂

Groom at home

Taking your dog to the groomers can get expensive. Cats groom themselves, so no need to take them there. An average trip to the groomer can range from $30 to $90 and can be more depending on what you have them do.

Save some money by bathing them yourself and learn how to clip their toenails.

Save on food

There are few ways you can save on pet food. Number one is to buy in bulk. This is especially important when food goes on sale. Stock up when it costs less.

Do this for your human food as well!

Another way to save a few dollars on food is to visit the brand’s website for coupons. Every little bit helps.

The last way to save money on pet food is to buy it from Chewy! They usually have deals on certain brands, and if you sign-up for auto-ship, you could save up to 20%! They also ship in 1-2 days and have awesome customer service.

This is where we buy all of our pet food, I highly recommend using Chewy.

Treat alternatives

Like toys, treats designed for your pet are expensive. An easy way around that is to give them some human food for treats. We give Mya corn puffs for her treat. They cost $2 and last her at least a month.

Use apps

Pet Care Services is an app (though IOS specific) that I found useful. It locates pet care services in your area and lists prices and reviews so you can choose the most affordable and most reputable option in the area.

A similar app you can use is Groupon. You can find deals on anything here, and each listing will include price and reviews.

Ask for help

If you are going somewhere and won’t be home for an extended period of time, have a friend or family member swing by and look after your pet while you are gone.

This is a much better alternative to boarding them, which costs an average of $30 per night. Additionally, your pet is probably seeing a familiar face, which should put them at ease.

Include pet care in your emergency fund

If you haven’t done this already, include pet emergency expenses in your emergency fund. Last year, our dog, Mya, had a couple expensive visits to the vet.

First, she had a cyst removed from her shoulder which cost about $800. Then, she got into some raisins at home, which are toxic and dangerous for dogs, we had to rush her to the vet and they made her puke it up. Another $400.

That was just in the first two months of the year, but because we include pet care in the emergency fund savings, it didn’t hurt our monthly budget and our emergency fund has recovered.

Conclusion

Having a pet can be very expensive! In an article written by Investopedia back in 2006, the average yearly cost of pet ownership was $1,571 for a dog and $919 for a cat. All-in-all, cats are less expensive than dogs in almost every area.

However, being a pet owner is a very enriching and rewarding experience. They provide a lot of joy and make you accountable for another life. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Reduce the cost of ownership by using some of these tips.

So readers, how do you save money with your pet?

Published by

Financial Health and Wealth

I am a Financial Consultant and Blogger. I live in the Greater Milwaukee area. I am married with a six-month-old son. My goal with this blog is to educate people to better understand basic finances and to help save them money along the way

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