Pets are part of the family and while there are so many benefits to having a furry (or feathered or scaly) addition to your home, they can also come with hidden costs. If you’re researching how to save money when it comes to your cat, dog, or other companion animal, here are some of the pet expenses you can reduce immediately.
In order to feed your pet high-quality food without spending an exorbitant amount, there are a few things you can do.
For one, sign up for autoship with a pet supply store like Chewy. They will give you a break on your first order, and discount you with each recurring purchase. Additionally, if your pet is generally healthy, you don’t have to feed them the most expensive food out there — the less expensive brands of food will do just fine. Finally, keep your eye out for sales and visit the clearance section of the pet store on a regular basis.
There’s a reason stores like Costco are so popular: If you buy in bulk, you save tons of money. Bulk stores will have good deals on pet supplies like litter, waste bags, and cleaning supplies for any accidents that happen at home or in the carrier.
Often, there are deals on crates and accessories — items you don’t really buy in huge quantities. Pet medications available from the bulk store pharmacy tend to be less costly.
Pro-tip: Using your credit card at Costco can yield excellent rewards, which adds up to more savings.
Snacks and supplements
In addition to feeding your pet, there are also additional costs to be had when it comes to snacks and supplements, such as bones for your dog’s dental health and cat grass or nip for your cat’s digestive health.
You can save some serious cash if you make or grow these items at home. For example, a 4 oz. pack of cat grass seeds will run you about $6, while a small planter of pre-grown cat grass costs around $5 to $8 at the pet supply store.
Pro-tip: Check with your vet on what raw bones from your own food you may be able to give your pup.
One of the most expensive costs that comes with having a pet is your vet bill. To that end, you might be tempted to skip regular maintenance visits, dreading the hundred or so bucks you will have to shell out.
However, those annual visits can help detect any issues before they become super expensive problems like advanced renal disease, thyroid issues, and diabetes. Stay on top of the dental cleaning, too, in order to avoid tooth extraction costs.
Pro-tip: Speak to your vet about any preventative care plans they may have or consider getting coverage with one of the best pet insurance companies.
Dog beds and cat trees
Although a dog bed or a cat tree isn’t necessarily made of the most expensive and unique materials, these items will still come with a bit of sticker shock. For example, lower-end cat trees start at $50, and can cost well over $100.
If you are a bit of a DIYer, consider purchasing the raw materials like wood and twine and making your own. And if you are handy with a sewing machine, make your own dog beds from inexpensive fabrics.
Pro-tip: Look to Buy Nothing groups in your area. A local cat may turn their nose up on a car scratch pad that your kitty may love.
We all need a vacation once in a while, but not every hotel or resort out there is pet-friendly. This can result in paying for a pet sitter — a service that isn’t cheap, especially if you hire a good one. The same applies to boarding your pet.
If you’re lucky enough to have a friendly neighbor or a pet-loving friend, enlist them to take care of your pet while you’re enjoying some downtime on the beach. You can also offer to watch a neighbor’s pet, resulting in a mutual exchange that will save you both money and budgeting tasks.
It’s important to stay on top of your pet’s grooming, nail care, and general maintenance. However, these services can be quite costly if you have them done by a professional on a regular basis.
In order to spare your wallet, consider becoming your pet’s personal spa service. You can learn how to groom a dog on YouTube, as well as how to safely cut your cat’s nails. If your pet tends to be anxious, talk to your vet about a prescription to calm them during the process.
If you’re a fan of discount stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods, then you’re probably hip to the fact that they sell a wide variety of pet goods on the cheap. These shops have great food and water bowls for your pets at a lesser expense. While shopping, keep an eye out for toys, trays and mats, pet furniture, accessories, snacks, and more.
Spaying and neutering
If you think having one pet is expensive, imagine how costly it will be if your cat comes home pregnant, and gives birth to a litter of five kittens. That’s going to increase food and vet costs exponentially.
To avoid being saddled by a litter of puppies, no matter how cute they may be, always spay and neuter your pets. There are often local spay and neuter clinics that offer these services at a dramatically reduced rate.
Trainers are costly, yet well worth every dollar. If the cost is too much for your budget, consider offering a consultation fee to a trainer so you can learn the basics that you can employ. Dig into dog training books at your local library or watch videos online to learn how to train your pet yourself. A good foundation of training may help tremendously.
It depends on your unique situation which of these money-saving tips will work for you. For example, not everyone may need pet insurance. However, certainly one or more of these strategies will benefit you at the bank. So, go ahead and adopt that cat!