Pets improve our lives in more ways than one, and it’s not just because they’re cuddly, tail-wagging bundles of affection. They instill kindness in us and motivate us to care about something other than ourselves.
However, basic pet ownership is costly when you consider food, medications, and grooming. That doesn’t even take into account the cost of the greatest treats, toys, and veterinarian care. (We’re sure you’ll want to.)
Don’t be discouraged. Use the eight strategies below to save money while spoiling your pet.
1. Purchase in bulk: Save money by purchasing things in bulk that have a lengthy shelf life or will not expire. Puppy pee training pads, bully sticks, poop bags, cat litter, cat toys, canned and dry food, and fish and small animal bedding are among these goods.
Certain dry foods can be stored for a long time and may even be frozen. If you’re buying food in bulk, make sure to ask the store or the manufacturer how long the dry food will last and if it can be frozen.
If you’re already a member of a human warehouse club like Sam’s Club or Costco, you’ll be able to save money on pet supplies by purchasing in bulk.
2. Repurpose: Many pricey pet toys are available on the market, but the money spent on these goods is largely wasted. Old, worn-out materials can be repurposed as toys that will keep pets entertained for a long time.
An old sock dangling enticingly in front of your cat could keep him occupied for hours. Worn-out tennis balls are just as good as new tennis balls for playing fetch with your dog. Play tug-of-war with your dog with knotted old t-shirts.
Your pet doesn’t care about the price, so don’t squander money on toys that aren’t necessary.
3. Feed leftovers to your pet: Because this suggestion may be contentious, let’s start with some ground rules: Cooked bones, garlic, or onion; too much fat, salt, and spices; or raw vegetable peels, grapes, and apple cores should not be fed to your pet.
Many human foods are safe for pets to eat. Raw vegetables and fruits are highly appealing to small nibblers. Also bear in mind that before pet food became a large business, pets ate our leftovers and lived long, healthy lives.
Please see your veterinarian if you have any questions about which human meals are safe for your pet. Also, if you’re feeding leftovers, take it slowly. Don’t introduce too many new foods at once, because you won’t know what caused your pet’s stomach to upset.
4. When traveling, leave your pets with sitters: Bringing your pet on vacation with you, as well as boarding your animal companion while you are away, can be costly.
Allowing your pet to stay with friends or family while you vacation is a preferable option. Not only will this save you money, but your pet will likely receive superior care than in a kennel.
If the individuals caring for your animal have pets of their own, you can reciprocate when they go on vacation.
5. Be prepared for and avoid medical issues: When it comes to your pet’s health, there are two methods to save money. To begin with, pet insurance is a fantastic strategy to avoid having to pay a huge number of money in the event of an unexpected medical emergency.
But even better is to avoid a health problem from arising in the first place, which will benefit both your money and your pet’s health.
Doing verything you can to keep your pet healthy will lower the chances of a costly medical problem. Ensure that your pet is provided a balanced diet, gets enough of exercise, and has frequent veterinary visits.
6. Train your dog at home: If your dog is particularly reactive, scared, has deeply rooted behavioral difficulties, or is stronger than you, seek help from a professional trainer. If you don’t have the financial means to hire a dog trainer, consider implementing a reward-based system at home.
The Humane Society’s chosen positive and cruelty-free training method is reward-based training, which simply means training your dog with treat rewards.
Teaching your dog to sit before giving him his dinner is a basic example of reward-based training. YouTube now provides a huge library of free positive-reinforcement training videos.
7. Do your pet’s grooming at home: Brushing your long-haired pet frequently to avoid matting is a simple home maintenance task. You can also brush your pet’s teeth (to save money on dental treatments), clean their ears, and bathe them at home.
There are times when it’s best to hire a professional, just as there are times when it’s best to hire a dog trainer. A professional should handle a severely matted dog, a pet whose nails haven’t been clipped in years, or a scared animal.
Maintain a cheerful attitude when grooming your pet at home. To keep your pet interested and happy during the operation, provide prizes both during and after the procedure. Start handling and grooming your pet when it’s young for the best outcomes.
8. Spay or neuter your pet: Pet overpopulation is a huge problem in North America, and it’s largely due to unsterilized pets having unplanned litters. Spaying or neutering your pet has a number of financial and ethical benefits.
When you leave a male cat alone, he will want to mark his territory, find a partner (or ten), and battle other males. Dogs that have not been neutered are also more aggressive. Both species’ unspayed females mark territory and must be kept away from males to prevent unintended litters.
Getting your pet fixed is a simple way to help with the overpopulation problem. You’ll also save money in a variety of ways, such as not having to clear up territorial marks or not having to pay for veterinary care for a cat involved in a street fight.