How much does it cost to care for a pet? A lot! These tips for saving money on pet care costs will help you balance saving money with caring for your dog or cat.
In other words, these eight ways to save money on pet care costs will keep your dog or cat healthy and help you achieve your financial goals.
Before the tips, a quip: “Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.” ~ Unknown.
That’s one of my favorite quips about pets – it makes me smile every time! But whether you’re a master or a staff member, you still need to include pet care costs in your monthly budget.
If you want to learn about natural pet care (which can save you money on pet care costs), read Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
And, read on for eight ways to save money on the cost of taking care of your dog or cat…
8 Ways to Save Money on Pet Care Costs
1. Keep the medical accessories you purchased for dog or cat surgeries. If your dog or cat has had surgery, it may have needed a medical device such as an Elizabethan collar to help the surgical areas heal. Pet medical devices are expensive – so don’t throw them out! If your dog or cat needs surgery and you don’t have the right accessories, ask your friends or family to borrow what you need.
If you have a pet collar but your dog or cat died, consider selling your medical accessories on Ebay or Craig’s List (donating is a much nicer thing to do, but it won’t help with the finances!).
2. Rent medical devices for your sick cat or dog. Some medical accessories – like the Elizabethan collar in the first tip – can be rented instead of bought. Ask your vet if they rent equipment, or use a Web site such as Craig’s List to search for accessories in your area. Depending on the type of medical accessories needed, you could save $50-$200 (or more) every time your dog or cat gets sick.
3. Shop around for medications for your sick pets. To save money on pet care costs for a sick dog or cat, do your research before purchasing medication from your veterinarian. Some vets mark up the prescription medications by 100% or more. If you have time to shop around for medications, you can save hundreds of dollars (depending on how sick your pet is).
If you can’t take care of your dog or cat, read Options for Pet Owners Who Can’t Take Care of Their Dogs.
4. Only vaccinate your pets if necessary. We have a cat who spends most of her day outdoors, but she almost never comes into contact with other animals because of our remote location. To save money on pet care costs, we haven’t been getting her yearly vaccinations. She hasn’t been vaccinated for four years now, and hasn’t been sick once (except for an occasional fur ball!). Not all cats and dogs need to be vaccinated yearly, depending on their health, habits, and personality. This could save you about $50 a year.
5. Don’t spend money on pet insurance. “Insuring your cat or dog against accidents or illness is becoming popular,” writes Kerry Taylor in 397 Ways to Save Money: Spend Smarter & Live Well on Less. “Plans can range from $20 per month for limited accident coverage to $50 per month covering illnesses and accidents.”
She says it’s more cost effective to put that premium insurance money in a high-interest savings account instead. Here’s her math: “Over a 10 year span vet bills for things covered by insurance generally total an average of $3,000 to $4,000. Assuming a $100 deductible and 10 claims, this leaves $2,500 to $3,500 actual payout from the insurance. Compared with an investment of $4,800 in premiums, it makes more financial sense to save the money in a high-interest savings account earmarked for pet medical bills.”
6. Shop around for a veterinarian. To save money on pet care costs, make sure you’ve done your homework on animal doctors! Ask your friends and family what vets they use, how much the vet charges, and if they’re happy with the vet. This can save you thousands of dollars, depending on how often you need to take your dog or cat to the vet.
7. Groom your dog (or cat) yourself. Sure, taking your hairy dog to a professional groomer saves time and hassle, but brushing and trimming Fido yourself can save a lot of money – even hundreds of dollars a year! Buy a set of combs, scissors, and clippers. It’s a one-time financial investment that will pay for itself over and over.
8. Don’t spend money on clothes for dogs or cats. Unless your tiny hairless doggy needs to be kept warm on cold days (and some do!), don’t add fashion to your pet care costs. Granted, pet clothes do add personality to your dogs and cats, but those threads can cost up hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
To learn about the annual costs of owning a dog, cat, or other animal, visit the ASPCA’s Pet Care Costs page.
For something more fun to think about than pet care costs, read What Your Favorite Dog Breed Reveals About Your Personality!
If you have any tips for saving money on pet care costs, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below…