Owning a pet is more expensive than most people think. Thereâ€™s food, vet bills and, depending on what you want to be able to do for your pet, a lot of toys, beds, and other things that you need to buy. Hereâ€™s how to save money without sacrificing the quality of care youâ€™re giving your furry friend.
Adopt From a Shelter
Shelter dogs have a stigma attached to them thatâ€™s hard to shake. Yes, there are some problem dogs and cats in there, but you have to realize that itâ€™s not really the animal, it was the previous pet owner.
That doesnâ€™t mean that these canâ€™t be challenging, but you have to walk into it understanding that itâ€™s a rehabilitation case. And, some of the tougher cases may not be fully fixable or may require years of work before you end up with the perfect pet.
But, thatâ€™s not entirely unlike buying a young puppy and training it. No, with a puppy you donâ€™t have the baggage, but you still have to get through the biting and chewing stages and teach the dog how to walk and potty train them.
Adopting from a shelter saves a pet that would otherwise be put down, which most pet owners hate to think about.
But not all shelter dogs are problems. Some of them were abandoned but have exceptional personalities and temperaments.
Most people believe that shelter dogs have something wrong with them, that theyâ€™ll never know their history, that they may have a disease, that they arenâ€™t purebred, or that theyâ€™re too old to be fun.
These are all just myths, except for the purebred thing. And, unless youâ€™re a breeder, why bother with the extra expense, inherent health problems of many purebreds, and local laws (some municipalities and apartment communities or condos ban certain breeds like Rottweilers and German Shepherds)?
Go Online For Discounts
Shop online for discounts on pet supplies. If you go to the big box stores (you know the ones), youâ€™ll usually pay an arm and a leg for basic stuff like brushes, food, and bowls. But, online stores that sell supplies for dogs and cats donâ€™t have the overhead that those big box stores have.
Plus, they tend not to get caught up in the expensive gimmicks in the same way that retail places do.
All of this spells â€œdiscountâ€ for you.
Do Grooming At Home
Groomers charge a lot of money for the work that they do. And, to some extent, thatâ€™s understandable. But, you donâ€™t need to pay a groomer to comb your pet, give it a bath, or clip its nails. If you have at least one weekend a month, get to know your pet on a more intimate level and take some time to groom him or her yourself.
While not all pets love the process, some do, and they almost always love the attention they get before and after.
Make Your Own Toys
Pet toys are pricey. Thereâ€™s almost no way around it. Toys are big business, and pet stores know it. Dogs especially need to be entertained or they become destructive. But, you can make your own toys out of real soup bones, rope, stripped down tennis balls, lacrosse balls, or extremely hard rubber for serious chewers.
If you need inspiration, check out Kong Toys – theyâ€™re said to be the hardest, most durable, and practically indestructible.
Buy Pet Food In Bulk Or At Large Warehouse Stores
Buy your pet food from a warehouse store or in retail stores in bulk, rather than the small bags. This is especially true if you have a large-breed dog that eats a lot. If youâ€™re one of those pet owners who has jumped on the raw food bandwagon, consider the cheap cuts of meat like organ meats, dark meat chicken thighs and leg quarters, and bulk bags of meats that are sold for between $0.99 and $1.69 per lb.
Shop your local butcherâ€™s market and for scraps and bones or go direct to a farmer for the undesirable cuts that no one eats like kidney (donâ€™t worry, your dog will probably love it).
They may not be the cheapest food, but itâ€™s the cheapest way to buy real meat in the grocery store.
Buy High-Quality Leashes That Will Last
Sometimes, cheaper isnâ€™t cheaper. If you buy high-quality leashes and collars, theyâ€™ll last probably as long as the dog does. Resist impulse buying and â€œcutesyâ€ things that donâ€™t last.
Yeah, thatâ€™s hard, especially if you love spoiling your dog or cat, but if youâ€™re concerned about saving money, go with durable options that arenâ€™t too expensive to replace and leave the froufrou stuff for wealthy people with money to burn.
Marie Williams is a veterinary technician. She loves sharing her insights on pet ownership on the web. Look for her posts on many petcare and veterinary blog sites.