How to Save Money on Pet Care
Your pet is your four-legged baby, and you’re willing to give him or her the best care possible. The American Pet Products Association says people spent nearly $61 billion on their animals in 2015, about 25 percent more than five years ago. But if family finances become a problem, or you just want to be frugal, there are many ways to save money on pet care. Here are 17:
Save money on medications. Consider buying generic or use an online price comparison tool like PriceJump. You can often pick up your online purchase with a ship-to-store option if you can’t wait for ground delivery.
Make your own chew bones. Ask your grocery store butcher for beef knuckles. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. A pack of six should run you about $2, compared with up to $40 at a pet store. This is a great way to save money on pet care.
Buy dog clothes at Build-a-Bear. Love to dress up your small pooch? This teddy bear workshop has just the right size for toy breeds, and usually costs much less than dog outfits. Wait for a sale, or shop the store online and use a Build-a-Bear coupon code.
Make your own pet food and treats. There are many resources on the internet. If you have a dog or cat with particular health issues, you can control the ingredients as opposed to buying pricey specialty foods. Just make sure you follow the directions exactly to avoid shortchanging your pet of needed nutrients. And see first whether this alternative is cost effective; it isn’t always.
Buy commercial food in bulk. The more you buy, the lower the cost per pound. Some merchants, such as Pet Food Direct, dog.com, and even ferret.com, give you a 10 percent discount if you sign up for automatic shipments. This also ensures you won’t run out of food.
Measure your pet’s food. Go by the recommendations of your veterinarian or the directions on the bag. Use an actual cup. This will save you money while helping prevent pet obesity.
Look for pet food coupons. Clip those coupons from the weekly circulars and Sunday paper. You can sometimes double or stack coupons at the grocery store, too. And remember that many large pet store chains take competitor coupons and these can be combined with rewards points.
Shop for pet products online. In addition to clipping and stacking printed ads, shop for food online using a coupon portal like valpak.com.
Groom your pet at home. Invest in a good quality nail clipper and hair trimmer, shampoo and brush. One highly recommended type is the Wahl Pet-Pro, which you can buy using Walmart coupon codes. Clean your pet’s teeth with a child’s toothbrush to slow tartar buildup. This may save you money on expensive dental visits.
Buy training pads in bulk. Whether you’re just training or use them all the time for small dogs, buy them in large quantities online or from a warehouse store like Sam’s Club.
Think simple with toys. The point of playthings is to keep your animal mentally stimulated and active. Check out second-hand sporting goods stores for deflated tennis balls for dogs, clean up an old plush toy from a garage sale, or build your own cat condo. Check out Pinterest and Reddit for great DIY cat activities and furniture.
Buy a used baby gate. If you need to contain your pet to one room, it’s often cheaper than a pet gate you buy at the store. Check out kids’ consignment shops or buy-sell-trade social media sites for good deals.
Skip fancy feeding bowls. There’s usually no need for fancy food and water bowls. Just use what you have on hand or buy them at your local thrift store.
Join a Facebook garage sale group. Scan your local page regularly for the items you need, or put out a request. You never know who might have just lost a pet and wants to give items (perhaps even food) a good home.
Shop around for veterinary care. Ask about prices for routine care and vaccinations, as well as whether the vet would accept installments for expensive procedures. Check your local animal shelter or veterinary college for lower-cost care. Finally, see if you can take your animal to a vet in a smaller town; he or she might charge less than a counterpart in a more populated area.
Negotiate. It might be worth a try to offer your veterinarian a valuable service – cleaning kennels, doing handyman work or answering phones – in exchange for a price break. Trade pet-sitting with a fellow dog mom or dad if you go out of town to save money on boarding.
Don’t forget the Humane Society. Its website offers resources for specific breeds as well as general care tips.
Saving money on pet care does not mean sacrificing your pet’s quality of life. It just takes some proactive searching to find what you’re looking for. Your Best Friend will love you all the same.