If you have a pet, you are probably well aware that the dough shelled out for four-legged family members can rival the money spent on two-legged members. Luckily, there are many things you can do to lower your pet costs.
When choosing a veterinarian, you never want to sacrifice quality, but the prices that even good vets charge can vary. Shop around – humane societies are often a good source for reasonably-priced veterinary care. You may also be able to save money by having some things done outside of your regular vet’s office. Many cities offer low-cost vaccination and/or spay and neuter clinics. (Check with your city’s animal control department.) Pet supply stores also often host low-cost vaccination clinics. If your pet needs medication, ask your vet for a prescription and fill it elsewhere. Many pharmacies carry pet medication in addition to people medication and typically charge less than vets’ offices. Purchasing online is another option.
In an attempt to save money, many people skip things like annual check-ups, vaccinations, and flea medication. Is this a good idea? Not really. In fact, it may cost you more in the long-run. Vaccinations and flea medication help prevent diseases, and annual check-ups allow problems to be caught early. Another thing you should not skip is spaying or neutering your pet. Fixed pets have less health and behavioral problems, and you won’t have to worry about having more mouths to feed.
Toys and Accessories
Before you buy your dog that glittery pink T-shirt or your cat that mechanical toy mouse, think if it is really necessary. Of course, you probably don’t want your pet to live a deprived, toy-free existence, but you may already have things in the home that would serve as perfectly good toys. Many cats love playing with paper bags (remember to cut off the handles) and boxes. Put a tennis ball in a sock and you have an instant dog toy. Your pet won’t know that you didn’t spend $50 in some chi-chi boutique.
It is a good idea to check out various pet supply stores and websites to see who offers the best price, but think twice about buying the cheapest food. High-quality food costs more but may keep your pet healthier, lowering your vet costs. If you feed your pet wet and dry food, consider if both are needed. (You may want to consult with your vet.)
Dog owners may be able to save on grooming costs by doing what they can at home. (Cats, in general, do not appreciate grooming assistance!) Dog shampoo and scissors only cost a couple of bucks. Of course, you should educate yourself on proper grooming techniques before doing it yourself. You won’t save any money if you have to take your pet to the groomer to fix your mistakes.
You can’t put a price on the love pets give us, but you don’t have to let pet costs overwhelm your budget.