Pets are important members of our families, and we want the best for them. Unfortunately, pet care can get expensive—especially if your beloved furry friend has a health problem. If you’re looking for ways to trim pet care costs, it’s important to be mindful of whether those costs you’re cutting also cut into your pet’s health over time.
There are many ways you can reduce the money you spend on pet care while keeping your pet as happy and healthy as possible. Check out these eight cost-saving tips:
- Preventative care: A lot of pet owners balk at the costs of routine veterinary care for their pets. The costs of annual exams, vaccinations and parasite protection all add up. However, these costs are minuscule compared to the costs of treating preventable health problems! Investing in preventative care—including vaccines, dental care, heartworm prevention and routine check-ups—will keep your pet healthy year after year, so you don’t have to fork out hundreds or thousands to treat ailments later.
- Quality food: Food is another area of pet care where up-front investment can save you in the long run. Choosing high-quality pet food might cost a little more when you buy, but there’s no substitute for the range of nutrients it provides to keep your pet healthy. Low-quality pet food might contain harmful ingredients and fillers that contribute to food allergies, obesity and diabetes. Instead of buying cheaper food, look out for sales at your pet store to buy when it’s cheaper, or buy food in bulk if it will keep for a long time.
- Spay or neuter: Spaying or neutering your pet as early as possible can reduce costs over the course of your pet’s entire life. Leaving your pet intact increases their risk for dangerous health problems like cancer, which cost a lot to treat. Intact pets might also make more messes that cost you to clean up, including spraying and scratching furniture. Plus, if your pet ends up pregnant, you’ll have additional costs with a litter of puppies or kittens! Many pet agencies and veterinary hospitals have free or low-cost clinics for spay or neuter procedures to help reduce the number of stray animals in your region.
- Homemade toys: Store-bought toys can be expensive. Worse, pets tend to lose interest in them quickly, meaning that pricey toy will go untouched for months. Instead of buying toys at the store, get creative and give your pets homemade toys! Tons of household objects like ping-pong and tennis balls, paper towel rolls and even cardboard boxes get cats and dogs excited. If you have a knack for sewing, you might even be able to make rope or plush toys out of fabric scraps.
- Smart pet food storage: Pet food that isn’t stored properly runs the risk of going bad, potentially getting your pet sick and forcing you to throw out unused food. Whether you buy pet food in small quantities or in bulk, understand the best storage methods for each type of food. Dry food needs to be kept away from the sun and sealed away from air exposure. Wet food should be stored in a cool, dry place or frozen to retain freshness. This will extend the shelf life of the food and protect you from throwing money away.
- Homemade treats: Pet treats are expensive, but they’re also not the best for your pet’s health. Treats are largely empty calories, giving your pet nothing but a tasty bite. Too many treats, and your pet could become obese! Instead of buying treats regularly, consider making pet-safe treats at home using inexpensive ingredients you already have. These treats can be made with whole fruits and vegetables, providing your pet with extra vitamins and minerals.
- Home grooming: Taking your pet to the groomer every few weeks for a routine brush and nail trimming can rack up the costs quickly. Instead, many grooming techniques can be done at home—you just need a little patience! Your pet should get a full brushing each day to remove dead hair and prevent mats, and you can safely clip your pet’s nails to prevent overgrowth. With a little practice, you might even be able to incorporate tooth brushing into your pet’s at-home routine!
- Pet insurance: One of the biggest dangers to pet owners’ wallets is the dreaded unexpected illness. If your pet gets sick out of the blue, exams, diagnostic tests and treatment can become extremely expensive. One way to protect yourself from paying large out-of-pocket vet costs is to purchase pet health insurance. You’ll pay a monthly premium, but the insurance plan will help pay for major ailments should they occur. If pet insurance isn’t the right fit for you, you could also start a health savings account for your pet, depositing a set amount each month to use in case of an emergency.
Pet care doesn’t have to be expensive, and your cost-saving measures don’t have to come at the expense of your pet’s wellbeing! Try out some of these cost-cutting tips and enjoy your healthy pet’s love for years to come.