When I looked into my dog Izzy’s eyes for the first time, I immediately fell in love. She was a cute black and white kitten sitting alone in the pound. I could have never imagined that within six months I would spend well over a thousand dollars on her.
Pets quickly become members of the family. Just like a child, they sure can rack up costs. In order to avoid the mistakes that I’ve made, here are eight money saving secrets for pet owners.
Everything you could ever need for your pet can be found online. From medication to food, the internet has it all. Most of the time, the online prices are significantly cheaper. For instance, I paid $40 for a three month supply of heart guard. Online, you can buy a six month supply for $32.29. That is an average saving of $7.95 per pill and an overall saving of $47.70. There are also several places online that sell generic medications as well. You can also purchase the best brands of pet food, toys, crates, and other products online. You can buy all of these products in bulk to save money in the long run.
Keep it Simple
There is absolutely no need to buy expensive toys for your pets. Your dog will be just as happy with an empty water bottle as he is with a $15 dollar toy. Cats are the same way. Tie a cotton ball to a string, and keep your cat entertained for hours. This same principle applies to collars and accessories too. Your furry child does not care if they have a bedazzled, leather collar. They will be just as satisfied with a cheapo collar from the dollar store. I know that the cute beds, ceramic food and water bowls, and top of the line pet sweaters are hard to resist. However, your pet will be just
fine with a water bowl from the dollar store, an old pillow, and home knitted sweaters.
Do It Yourself
When it is possible-do it yourself. You will save hundreds if you groom your dog yourself. If you have a super hairy animal, at least bathe and brush them to maintain their coat. The same thing applies to training. There are numerous training resources out there. It is completely possible to train your animals yourself. If you have a pet with severe behavioral problems, opt into training sessions at Petsmart or other chain stores. This is much cheaper than hiring a personal pet trainer.
Spend a little now to save a lot in the long run. Make sure to keep your pet up to date on their
vaccinations. This will avoid treating costly health issues later. Make sure your pet takes heartworm and flea and tick medications. The average cost of heartworm medication: $40. The cost of treating your pet if they are already infected with heartworms: anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars. These little preventative care things will literally save you fortunes. Also, keeping your pet physically fit will make for a much healthier pet. Make them exercise. Monitor their food intake (this will save money on food too).
Look for deals on Medical Procedures
Often times, the ASPCA or other animal shelters will offer discounts on spays and neuters. These procedures can cost up to $300. When you look for the discounts, you can get a spay or neuter done for as little as $45. Sometimes they even offer these procedures for free! Your local pound, or animal shelter will usually do flea and tick dips for free as well. Keep your eyes open for these kinds of deals.
Sure, dog parks are a great way for your dog to meet other dogs. However, these parks usually charge a fee. Instead of paying for a dog park membership, meet other people with dogs. Set up doggie play dates. It is free and is just as satisfying for your doggy.
Stop with the Hotels
If you are going out of town, do not pay for your pet to stay in a pet hotel. These hotels are extremely pricey. Instead, hire a pet sitter. The rates will be much lower. You can even consider leaving them with family who will watch them for free. Also, now traveling with your pet is easier than ever. Sometimes, it will be cheaper just to take your pet with you on vacation. The bonus to this option is that there is no separation anxiety!
Shop around for Cheapest Vets
Never settle on your pet’s veterinary care. In that same breath, never overpay for vet visits. The prices for vets vary dramatically. You can save hundreds simply by switching your vet. Paying less does not necessarily mean that you are sacrificing quality. The best vet I ever met was also the cheapest vet I have ever come across. Compare veterinary costs. Look at customer reviews. It is absolutely possible to find a vet that is both awesome and affordable.
Making the decision to add a member to your family is a serious commitment. You will inevitably have to spend some money on your furry companion. However, there are ways to cut the costs significantly. Your pet will love you regardless of how much you spend on them. There are so many pets put into pounds and shelters because of all of the unexpected costs of owning a pet. Before you decide to give your pet up, try these tips to save money. Even if giving up your beloved pet has never been an option, there is always room to save money. Use some or all of the above mentioned tips to save money on your pet expenses.
Josephine is a freelance writer (and pet lover) at Survey Spencer, where she regularly writes about ways that people can save money. When she’s not writing articles and ebooks, she’s usually filling out paid surveys at survey panels like Toluna surveys. When she’s not working she is usually spending time with her daughter and her two cats.