5 Ways To Save Money On Pet Expenses
by Jessica Turquette
1. Pet Insurance: The average dog of 50 lbs. in good health can cost you up to $1000 a year to feed and care for, so it’s important to save whenever you can without compromising quality. Having pet insurance can save you from giant veterinarian bills if your best friend winds up needing professional help. Most pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions or will stop coverage once the cat or dogs are over the age of 9, so keep that in mind when you shop. Investing in insurance when you dog or cat is under the age of one will give you the best long term rates and can save you thousands of dollars if your pet requires surgery.
2. Adopt or Rescue: The biggest one time expense with a dog is often acquiring the dog itself. Many people want a purebred, and don’t mind paying a premium to get it. There are other ways to get the dog you want and save big money. Most breeds have multiple rescue agencies all around the country that adopt pure breed dogs and many times you will have to wait less time to adopt a purebred than you would if you are waiting for a litter to be born from a breeder. It’s not unusual for breeders to charge $1000 or more for a puppy too! Consider that you could rescue the same breed for 1/10th the cost. If you’re not super picky on what type of best friend you want, there are always, and I mean always lots of dogs and cats at your local shelter or Humane Society that need a home. Rescuing a dog or cat can be the most rewarding way to bring a new best friend or lap warmer into your home and the best way to save you lots of money on the upfront cost of owning a pet.
3. Buy Quality Toys: Does your dog or cat destroy all the toys you bring home? Well consider that shopping in the discount bins can cost you much more in the long run. You get what you pay for, and often well made toys can last a long time. Consider that if your dog or cat is destructive allowing toy play only when they can be observed. If your dog sneaks off to de-squeak a toy or cat rips the heads off those cute little leather mice, take it away and store it for later. If the toy is meant to keep the dog busy consider toys that are made to keep them engaged like treat balls or a Kong. For interactive play consider something that is well made and constructed of quality fabric and materials. Cat wands that have replaceable attachments and dog toys made from ballistic quality nylon will keep your pet engaged and save you from replacing these items constantly. Keep the toys clean and store them inside to ensure maximum value for your dollar.
4.Feed Less Food: More than 50% of dogs are obese, and upward of 65% of dogs are overweight, plus more than 45% of cats are overweight. That means we are spending way too much on food. This is the easiest and fastest way to save money, if you have a fat dog or cat. Many of us are used to the way fat pets look, so we may not even be aware our furry household friends need to cut back a little on the calories. Most dogs should have a body build that tapers from shoulder to hips when you see them top down. If you look from the side, there should be a rise from the chest to hips. If your pet is tube shaped or round in the belly consider they may need less food. An even better way to save money is to purchase a higher quality food and feed less. The topic of pet food has frequented the pet happenings over the last few years, because it’s the most important aspect of caring for your pet. If you feed your pet cheap food, you will spend more money on vet trips period! Take the time to read the ingredients, and consider that the feed ratios on the back of bags are a guideline not an absolute. If your dog holds down the couch for a living and gets very little exercise they only need a fraction of what is recommended. My dogs get 75% of what the bag says they need to stay in great condition, and they are pretty active. Feed less and save big! Not only money but years too. Fat pets don’t live as long as their skinnier counterparts. Save money and get more years out of your pets.
5. Do-it-yourself bathing and brushing: If you have a dog or cat that requires a lot of grooming, you can save big by doing most if not all yourself. That doesn’t mean you need to take scissors and shears to Fido or Fluffy. The best advice is to take one day a week and brush your pet thoroughly. If you maintain their coat in-between grooming visits it will cost you less, a lot less. Matted dogs not only suffer with daily pain, but the grooming can be brutal and expensive. If you’re considering bathing your dog yourself, use a high quality shampoo that is free of sulfates. Don’t forget the rinse/conditioner either even short hair dogs need rinse. They will stay cleaner longer with quality shampoos and rinse, plus you often need to use much less product when it’s better quality.