If you have pets, you know very well they’re a part of your family. They’re spoiled just as much as your kids are, or you may even call them your fur babies if you don’t have kids.
You also probably know that pets are expensive. That being said, you wouldn’t give them up for the world!
We found nine simple ways you can save money on your pets and their care and you won’t even have to skimp on the amount you spoil them!
1. Initial Price of Your Pet
You’ve more than likely heard the phrase, “Adopt, don’t shop.” While this is a great phrase to help persuade you to give a new, loving home to animals that have been abandoned by their previous owners, it’s also a great way to save money.
Adoption fees at animal shelters are extremely lower than the prices you would pay at a breeder or at a chain pet store, like Petland or Furry Babies. If you’re looking to just welcome any dog or cat into your home, then adopting from an animal shelter is definitely the cheapest (and best) route to go.
If you’re picky about what type of dog or cat you’d like to adopt, there are still ways you can welcome your favorite breed into your home without breaking the bank.
Keep an eye out at your local animal shelters to see if they have any of your breed-of-choice there. You can also use websites like Adopt-A-Pet, Petfinder, Petango and Get Your Pet to see if the breed you want has been posted online by animal shelters in your area.
These websites are great because you don’t have to spend hours upon hours going to every shelter you know or calling place after place to look for your breed. Plus, you might find some new rescue organizations you never even knew about before!
You can also sign up for email alerts from these websites so you know the exact moment when the profile for a breed of your choice has been posted.
If you’re not having any luck finding the breed of your choice by these methods, then you might want to start researching breeders in your area.
Breeders will typically have much higher prices than any of the previous methods mentioned, but if you’re sold on bringing one specific breed into your home, it’s worth it to research breeders.
Don’t just settle for the first breeder you find online. Look up other breeders in the area or in neighboring states to see if anyone else has lower prices. Yes, that means you may have to email, call or contact them on social media to find out their prices!
But don’t just settle on a lower price, either! Make sure you check into the breeder’s reputation, reviews from past clients, the health of the parents of the animal and the health of the baby animal itself.
Once you’re comfortable with all those factors and you feel like you’re making the right choice, then you can go ahead with the next steps that will get your new pet into your home.
2. Shop Around and Join Rewards Programs
Do your pets eat a lot of food? Then you’re probably going through a lot of money to feed them!
You can save money on bags of food by shopping around to see who has the best price on the brand your pets like the most.
You might have to go from store to store to compare prices, whether it’s online or in-person. It’s a good idea to do both though. Maybe a big-chain store has a better deal on pet food online?
Once you find a place with the best bargain, look into setting up a monthly auto-order. For example, on Chewy, you can save up to 30% on your first auto-ship order monthly order; you might not save 30% after your first order, but you still save money on auto-ship and you can get it delivered to you as much as you need.
If you sign up for a program like that, you won’t have to worry about going to get food all the time, it’ll come right to your door when you need it at the best price possible!
It’s also a good idea to sign up for reward programs at your local pet stores. For example, Petco’s Pals Rewards gives you one point for every dollar you spend, and when you reach 100 points, you’ll get $5 back to use as a coupon on your purchases.
There are also special sales for Pals Rewards members only, so you can also save money that way!
3. Don’t Buy Treats!
Most vets will tell you this: don’t buy treats. Your bank account will also agree with that statement.
In reality, treats are overpriced. Why buy a bag of expensive training treats when you could be using pieces of kibble to train your puppy?
As a pet owner, it’s really difficult to abide by this rule. There are so many types of treats available and some are great for hip and joint health, for healthy coats and for many other health reasons. But you must draw the line somewhere in order to maintain a healthy bank account as well.
Try making your own pet-safe treats. You’ll get more bang for your buck, depending on what you make, and there are plenty of recipes available online for pet-safe treats. You just have to do your research.
4. Make Your Own Toys
Have you ever bought a new toy for your dog or cat and it’s destroyed in literally five minutes flat?
Toys are NOT cheap, so that’s just like throwing money down the drain.
Try making your own toys. You might be able to repair them if they get ripped up, but at least you’re not buying toys over and over to replace the destroyed one.
If you’re lucky, your cat might be content with playing in a box or your dog might be happy with chewing on a used water bottle, sticks in your backyard or a simple tennis ball. These will cost you little to nothing extra and your pet will be happy and entertained.
5. Skip “Clothing” for Your Pets
Some people think it’s cute to put sweaters, shirts, jerseys, etc. on their pets.
Is it really necessary though?
You can save a lot of money just by NOT buying clothes for your pet. The only exception to your pet needing clothes may be a coat for when a winter polar vortex strikes and it’s -60 degrees with the wind chill and you have a short-haired dog.
Other than that, skip the fashion line for Fido.
6. Monthly Care
Do you have a puppy or a kitten that’s constantly growing? It’s probably wise to buy flea and tick and heartworm prevention on a monthly basis then.
These meds are given based on your pets’ weight, so the vet will probably recommend you buy it on a monthly basis until your pet is done growing. So, don’t get any ideas about not listening to this advice!
This is especially relevant if you have an extra-large-breed puppy. These puppies grow so fast, it doesn’t make sense to buy these prevention meds in bulk. By the time you go to give your pup the medicine in two months, they’ll be way out of the weight range for the meds you previously bought.
Once your pet is done growing though, feel free to buy your prevention meds in bulk!
7. Groom Your Pet at Home
Monthly grooming sessions for your pets can add up in your bank account fast. Regardless of what your pets’ fur types or sizes are, learn how to effectively groom them at home. There are tons of YouTube tutorials out there, so you have no excuse to say you can’t do it.
This also applies to cutting your pets’ nails. Learn how to do it yourself. It’ll be cheaper in the long run and you can cut them whenever you feel they need it, as opposed to saying to yourself, “We have an appointment next week. It can wait.”
8. Brush Your Pets’ Teeth
You brush your teeth, right? So, it makes sense that your pets’ teeth need to be brushed as well! Not only will it get rid of puppy breath or kitty breath, but you’re getting rid of plaque build up and all the same things you’re preventing on yourself when you brush your teeth, which improves your pets’ overall health.
Supposedly, you can also add a few years onto your pets’ lives by brushing their teeth. Why wouldn’t you brush their teeth after hearing that?
9. Create a Budget
Like anything else you spend money on, it’s wise to set a monthly budget for the money you plan on spending on your pets. If you set a budget, you must stick to it though! The budget will keep you in check and you won’t be wondering where all your money for the rest of your bills is by the end of the month.
Remember, you don’t have to be uber wealthy to own a pet. You can still enjoy the love of a fur baby on almost any budget if you plan and spend accordingly!