If you have a pet, you know how hard it can be to take care of one without spending what feels like a million dollars a year. If you don't have a pet, maybe it's because you know how expensive it can be to own one.
The key words here are can be. Owning a pet doesn't have to be so expensive. 65 percent of households in the United States own some sort of pet, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Here is a list of 20 ways you can save money as a pet owner throughout the year.
1. Measure the Amount of Food You Give Them
Measuring the amount of food you give your pet for each meal will stop you from over feeding. As a result, you will use less food each time your pet eats. You will also buy new food less often.
Additionally, you will save your pet from gaining extra pounds. A report from The National Academies says obese cats and dogs are more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues. Knowing this, you should make sure not to feed your pets more than necessary.
2. Get Them Spayed or Neutered
According to USA Today, getting your pet spayed or neutered will allow them to live longer and healthier lives. It will keep their chance for developing certain cancers low and will stop them from having unwanted babies.
This may sound harsh, but it could be expensive and unexpected if you don't get the procedure done. The Humane Society even says that spaying or neutering your pet will reduce their urge to roam away from home. Getting the procedure done will stop them from running into the street or other dangerous situations.
3. Budget Your Pet Purchases
You may want to create a budget for your pet purchases each month. This will allow you to see how much you have left over to spend on pet food and supplies every month. This could also be a good first step if you're just thinking about getting a pet.
Create a budget and determine if you actually have room to pay for a pet. For example, NBC New York estimates dog and cat owners spend $1-$2,000 a year per pet. If you cannot spare a couple extra thousand dollars a year, you may need to wait until you become more financially stable.
4. Do Not Live Where They Charge for Pets
Some rented homes and apartments charge pet rent, which allows pets only for an extra fee. If you want to save money, look for a place that doesn't mind animals and doesn't charge extra for them. It may take longer to find, but it could save you a lot of money in the long-run.
5. Look for Cheap but Effective Pet Insurance
If you don't have pet insurance and your pet gets sick, the vet is usually not cheap. Having pet insurance can save you money at the vet. If you pay monthly, you will only have to pay a deductible payment.
If you don't know much about pet insurance, read through the beginner's guide to pet insurance. You can pay as little as $19.99, depending on the deductible rate you choose. If your pet is particularly known for certain diseases or ailments, finding the best pet insurance is essential. You never want to be stuck without access to adequate medical care for your beloved pet. Cheap, quality insurance will ensure you don't get stuck.
6. Look for Discounts and Coupons for Food & Medications
You should always check for discounts before you buy medications, foods, and supplies for your pet. There are plenty of stores with pet supplies that offer coupons for their customers to save some cash fast.
Sign up for emails with your favorite pet store or consistently check the Sunday paper for coupons on the supplies you need. You can also sign up with sites like Retailmenot.com for coupons to your favorite pet stores.
7. Buy from Cheap but Quality Pet Stores
If you go to the pet store often, make sure you're going to the cheapest one with the most quality pet supplies in your area. You may even be able to shop online for much less money. Just make sure you're still getting quality items. Check out the best pet stores for in-depth explanations of some of the best places to shop for your beloved pets online.
8. Buy in Bulk
Buy in bulk if you can. You can usually save money on treats, food, heartworm pills and other pet supplies if you buy many of one item at one time. This will also save you some extra trips to the pet store. It's especially efficient to buy in bulk if you own more than one pet.
9. Make DIY Toys
Have you ever thought about making your own pet toys? You can save money by making instead of buying toys your pet will tear to pieces in minutes anyway. You can also get some quality arts and crafts time in by making your own toys. Maybe you can even think up a toy creation your pet can't rip apart. Click here for a great list of DIY dog toys and here for some easy DIY cat toys. You should also check out Pinterest for fun toy ideas.
10. Make Your Own Pet Food & Treats
Americans who own pets spend an average of $26.8 billion on pet food every year, according to PetFoodIndustry.com. If you have a pet or want one, you probably already know how expensive pet food can be when bought from the store.
It may be time-consuming, but the Huffington Post has confirmed you can definitely by making your own pet food. The Bark says it can also save your pet from consuming so many preservatives and additives. Check out All Recipes for some easy dog and cat treat and food recipes to try. Once you get to know the process, you can easily save money while feeding your pet or pets healthier food.
11. Ask a Friend or Family Member to Watch Your Pet Instead of Boarding Them at a Kennel
Using a kennel or doggy daycare can get expensive. If you're going away or need someone to walk your dog while you're at work, explore your options. Why not ask your friend's son or daughter to come walk, feed, and love your pet for a couple hours a day for $20 bucks?
A kennel service can cost about $40-$50 a day, depending on the size of your dog and where you live. You can cut this cost in half by finding someone else to do it. There are also websites online in which you can find pet sitters in your area. Just do a quick Google search to find the best sites near you. Remember to explore every option and make sure your pet is always in a safe space.
12. Don't Own a Pet if You Cannot Afford It
If you're not sure you can afford a pet, why get one? The Huffington Post recently said two surveys found that many pet owners give away their pets after not being able to afford vet bills. People also give up their pets because they cannot find quality, affordable housing with them. Take bills and housing into consideration before you commit to a pet.
Don't risk a bad situation for yourself or your pet by taking on more than you can financially handle. It may not be the right time right now. If you already have one pet and are thinking about getting another, seriously consider your budget and housing situation to determine if it's possible for you.
13. Train Your Pet Instead of Hiring a Trainer
It's much less expensive to read a book about how to train your pet than to hire a trainer. It will certainly take more time, but it will be worth it. Learning how to train your pet will help build a respectful relationship between you and your pet.
14. Adopt From a Shelter
About 7.6 million pets are left in shelters, throughout the country every year, according to the ASPCA. There are plenty of pets in desperate need of a home in shelters right now. Why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a specific breed when you could save one for little to no money?
Save money and lives by adopting from a shelter. You can log on to ASPCA's website right now to check which pets are available for adoption in your area.
15. Brush your Pets Teeth at Least Once a Week
PetMD says your pet's oral cavity can spread all kinds of bacteria. Keeping up on your pet's dental hygiene could prevent them from getting infections and diseases. It could also help you save money by not having to pay for vet bills to correct infections and diseases.
If you don't keep track of your pet's oral hygiene, you could end up shelling out extra cash to correct its infections. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease can cause damage to internal organs in pets as they age. It often goes untreated because pet owners don't pay enough attention to their pet's teeth. Keep this in mind.
16. Get your Pet Checked Over Regularly
Depending on the age of your pet and what kind, you need to take it to the vet for a check up a certain amount of times per year when it is a baby. Do some research on your pet to see how often it needs check ups before it reaches a year old. WebMD says you need to at least make sure to get your pet checked once a year after it surpasses a year of age.
17. Groom Your Pet Yourself
Instead of taking your pet to an expensive groomer, do it yourself. You can wash your pet in the tub or out in the backyard with the hose. Buy a shampoo for pets from your local or online pet store and it'll take you twenty minutes to bathe them if they're good. You can also trim your pet's nails and brush your pet yourself. Check out Caesar's Way for tips on how to groom your pet at home.
18. Get Your Pet Their Vaccines When They Need Them
Your pet is going to need to get its vaccines every so often. For example, such vaccines include influenza and rabies virus prevention vaccines. Once your pet turns one-year-old, it will usually have to get vaccines every three years in order to stay up to date. Talk to your vet to analyze your pet's vaccination types and dates.
19. Don't Let Your Pet Access Poisonous Foods
You can save yourself money on vet bills by keeping poisonous foods out of reach for your pets to eat. Many pet owners are not knowledgeable about foods that are poisonous to their pets. As a result, they don't know which foods to keep out of reach.
Don't be an ignorant pet owner. Do you research and find out what foods to keep away from your pet. Then, make a conscious effort to keep those foods away from your pet. If you want to learn more, the ASPCA provides a detailed list of poisonous foods for pets on their website.
20. Make Sure Your Pet Gets the Exercise it Needs
American Humane says all animals need some form of exercise. If you have a Great Dane, you're going to have to make sure it gets his or her exercise every day in order to keep he or she content and fit. Find out what kind of exercise is necessary to keep your pet healthy and happy. The Bark gives a detailed list of different dog breeds and the kinds of exercise they need.
Overall, there are various ways to save money as a pet owner. If you are not a pet owner yet, evaluate your budget and living situation before you make any permanent decisions. If you are already a pet owner, apply some of these methods to see if you can save money on your pet food, supplies, insurance, and health necessities this year.