Few things bring as much love and joy into our lives as our pets. In fact, a recent survey by FinanceBuzz found that 93 percent of people agree that having a furry family member improves their mental health, while 69 percent admit that they are more affectionate with their pet than their significant other!
But just like our human children, four-legged kids can be expensive to take care of each and every day. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can save while still keeping your pet healthy, happy and safe.
8 Ways to Save Money on Pets
Maintain healthy habits
Prevention is better than cure, says Charli Burbidge, cofounder of Petz. With that in mind, make sure your pet eats healthy, exercises daily, has regular check-ups and stays up to date on vaccinations. And don’t forget about oral hygiene! Brushing your pet's teeth daily will cut out trips to the vet for teeth cleaning, as well as prevent a number of diseases.
Go to the pharmacy
When possible, buy your pet’s medications from a pharmacy—not the vet, suggests Robert Bradley of Superb Dog. Pet parents can save big by getting meds that are common to humans at regular pharmacies (including discount ones like Costco), or ordering from discount pet pharmacies like 1-800-Pet-Meds.
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Invest in pet insurance
While it is an extra cost each month, it can wind up saving you big in the long run. Accidents and emergencies can happen to even the healthiest pet, and that type of care can be expensive. “No one has a crystal ball and can know whether or not you will ever need to file a claim,” explains Rob Jackson, chief pet protector at Healthy Paws. He recommends skipping coverage for wellness visits and taking out a policy for accidents and illness, which can cost anywhere between $20-$100 per month depending on your pet’s age and breed, as well as your location and coverage/deductible.
Groom at home
Acclimating your pet to home nail trims and ear cleanings can pay off, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, the vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance. If you are able to provide basic grooming services for your pet it will be less stressful for them, as well as your pocketbook.
Look into generic
Many of the big pet food companies also sell a generic brand pet food, which is just as high quality but may be offered in a limited selection of flavors, notes Steffa Mantilla, a former zookeeper and founder of Money Tamer.
Take out a subscription
Pet owners can get discounts when purchasing a monthly subscription on everything from food and treats to medications. Petco and Chewy offer 30 percent off your first subscription order and 5 percent off future orders (along with free shipping). Amazon also offers discounts on pet food and items through its Subscribe and Save option.
Team up with friends
If you have local pet parent pals, try to find ways to offset costs by joining forces, says Kate LaSala, a certified, professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. For example, if your dog and friend’s dog eat the same food or treats, you can order in bulk to save on shipping or get a discount. You can also take turns dog sitting when one of you is on vacation so there’s no need to hire a dog walker or sitter.
Check online sites or ask around to see if anyone wants to sell or even donate their used crates, toys, collars, leashes, etc. that are no longer being used instead of buying new.