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We sure do love our furry (and maybe not-so-furry) friends. But boy, can they be expensive! Having a pet doesn't need to break the bank. Here are some ways you can save cash while still having the pet of your dreams.
One big tip in general is to avoid purchasing items from pet stores and veterinarian's offices. These items tend to be much more expensive and you can almost always find more affordable options on your own!
Here are some more specific tips and tricks to help you save money:
Food can be one of the most expensive parts of owning a pet. Why? Because pets eat…and eat…and eat. Depending on your pet it can be super easy to save some money while feeding your pet.
1. SHOP AROUND – When selecting a pet food, shop around. Avoid buying food at pet stores because they are frequently overpriced. Websites such as Amazon or Wag.com offer much better prices and depending on the cost, you may even qualify for free shipping. I can’t be the only one who is excited about not having to lug around a huge bag of dog food, right?
2. BUY IN BULK – When shopping for dogs and cats, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Dry kibble tends to be more cost effective than canned food. If you buy large bags of kibble in bulk be sure to preserve small portions in plastic bags or purchase an air tight storage container. (Please note that the ones specifically marketed for pet food storage are often more expensive!) Additionally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, you may have some friends with pets who might be willing to split a jumbo bag of food.
3. LOOK AT THE SERVING SIZE – When comparing expensive food brands with less expensive brands, you've got to look at the serving size. Did you know that most ‘cheaper’ name brand dog goods often require LARGER portion sizes in order for your dogs to feel full and get the nutrients they need? You may actually SAVE money by purchasing a more expensive food! Also, if your dogs are continually hungry, consider supplementing their food by adding in raw vegetables. This will make your dog’s feel fuller without adding too many extra calories. (As always be sure to check with your vet).
4. AVOID TREATS – Unfortunately food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent. You might find your vets are pressuring you to purchase expensive allergen-free foods or even weight-loss foods if your pets are overweight. Avoid purchasing food and treats from your vet unless absolutely necessary. In many cases vets may receive a kickback for promoting products. While they may work well for your pet, they might be unnecessarily expensive. If for example, your dog is showing an allergy to their dog food, consider looking into a brand that uses a different type of protein base (such as duck or fish).
1. DON'T PURCHASE FROM THE VET – As much as we’d like to skip vet visits if our pets appear to be healthy, there is something to be said for preventative visits. They can often take care of problems before they become problems or before they become more costly problems. However, much like the food, you don’t need to purchase all medications from your vet. Instead request a prescription and use an online retailer to purchase heartworm preventatives, flea and tick preventatives, vitamins, and more.
2. BUY FOR A LARGER SIZE PET – Some people choose to purchase a higher weight limit medication and simply lessen the dose in order to save a little money. Ex. Purchasing a flea and tick preventative for a larger dog, when you have a small dog. They typically cost the same, but will last twice as long. Keep in mind that you are doing this at your own risk and some vets may not recommend this.
1. HOW TO SAVE FOR DESTRUCTIVE DOGS – Depending on your pet, toys can be incredibly expensive. Particularly if your pet happens to destroy them. For destructive dogs you may prefer to purchase toys from the dollar store (since they will get destroyed anyway) or pull out the big guns and spring for something like a JollyBall. (Fun fact, JollyBalls are actually horse toys, but they can work very well for large, enthusiastic dogs. They come in a wide range of sizes, scents, and colors). This is another situation where purchasing from a pet store may cost you substantially more money!
2. USE CRAFTS FOR CATS – For cats, you may find they get more enjoyment out of a piece of yarn tied to a stick. Don’t be afraid to get crafty and make some toys for their enjoyment. Remember your pets should be monitored with new or homemade toys to be sure they are safe!
3. DON'T BUY THEM FROM THE PET STORE – Keep in mind that product placement can come into play here as well. For example, tennis balls for dogs may be more expensive than purchasing them from the sporting goods section of your local store.
Pets often require a lot of supplies. You may need to purchase collars, leashes, bowls, tanks, beds, bedding, water bottles, and much more. You have probably caught the theme by now, but try to avoid purchasing from pet stores!
1. CHECK THRIFT STORES – For fish tanks, hamster cages, and other similar items be sure to check out local thrift stores and yard sales. You might just get lucky. The same principles can apply for most pet supplies. However keep in mind that you may want to proceed with caution. For example, purchasing food or wood chips might not be safe. It might not be clear when the food expired or if the wood chips are ‘meant’ for rodents.
2. CHECK THE DOLLAR STORE – Pet beds can be extremely expensive and you know what, some pets don’t like them anyway! Purchase blankets or towels from the dollar store and try making a pet for your pets. Besides, some pets might end up spending more time on the sofa anyway…
3. USE GENERIC BOWLS – Pet food bowls do not need to break the bank. Nice looking generic ceramic bowls can be purchased from the dollar store or Walmart. Or better yet, consider getting plastic because then they won’t break!
1. GROOM YOUR PET YOURSELF – Depending on the type of pet your family owns, there may or may not be some care required. If possible wash and groom your own dog rather than go to a groomer. There are many YouTube videos that show the best ways to trim and groom particular dog breeds. Obviously, this might not always be an option so look for a local dog groomer rather than going to a pet store.
2. PRE-GROOM BEFORE TAKING TO A GROOMER – Even if you can't groom your pet on your own, anything helps. Did you know that many groomers charge a higher fee if you bring a dog that is extremely dirty, has fleas, or mats? You are better off setting aside some time to brush your dog to minimize mats and snarls.
3. LEARN HOW TO TRIM YOUR PET'S NAILS – Vets and groomers will trim your pets nails for you, but at a cost. If you are unable to trim your pets nails on your own, try to make sure you have the vet do it when your pet is there for vaccinations. If you go to the vet simply for a nail trim you might end up being charged for an office call AND the cost of the nail trimming!
Do you have any sure-fire tips for saving money with pets?