How to Enjoy Your Pets and Save Money at the Same Time

by David Ning · 5 comments

Americans spend more money on their pets than just about anyone else. With an inclination to purchase purebred animals, feed them gourmet foods and dress them up in tutus.

It isn’t unusual to spend between $1000-2500 a year, depending upon the size of the animal, but who can really afford to do that? Luckily, there are some simple ways to save some money while still spoiling your pet silly.

How to Save Money on the Initial Expenses

The difference in price between a purebred animal and a shelter pet is considerable. A shelter dog may be available for $100 or a cat for $60 while their purebred counterparts go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The shelter pets arrive with all their vaccinations and their altering surgery complete. You would have to spend between $100-300 for the same services at the vet.

Save Money by Keeping Your Pets Inside

Animals that spend a lot of time outdoors or roaming can get parasites, infections, suffer injuries and face dangers that house pets don’t. Your cat should be kept indoors and your dog in a fenced yard.

Preventative Care is Cheaper

It might make you cringe to pay for a dental cleaning for your pet, but it is a lot cheaper than having to pay for dental surgery when tooth decay creates abscesses or other problems.

Heartworm medication may be a bit pricey, but compared to the cost of treating active heartworm infections it is petty cash.

spoil your petLearn to Groom your Pet

Cats rarely require much by way of grooming, but dogs need to be groomed regularly. Some dogs only need an annual trip to the groomers, and that isn’t too bad, but other pups require monthly trims.

If you have a pet that requires a lot of grooming, invest in a good quality pet clipper, nail trimmers, the proper brush and shampoo. I recommend starting your grooming project during the winter so by spring, you and the dog will look more presentable.

Find Free Clinics Offer Cheaper Services

Most large cities offer rabies vaccinations annually at a low cost clinic. Rather than spending the money at the local vet clinic, consider going down to the annual event. Spay and neuter programs are also available, saving you more than $100.

If there is a veterinarian school in your area, see if they provide low cost clinics. The students get to treat a variety of animals, and you get a serious discount on any procedures your pets need.

Talk to the Vet about Payment Options

When facing a large bill you need to sit down with your vet and discuss your situation. Few vets dislike animals, even if they may not be overly fond of their owners. If your pet needs to have a serious medical procedure done, and you just don’t have the money, working out a payment plan in advance will assure that your pet gets the care it needs and you have a way to pay for it.

If your vet can’t afford to drop his fees, he may know where you can get the same procedure performed for less. He may also know of someone who is willing to help out by donating something towards the care of needy animals. It never hurts to ask.

Finally, remember that beyond basic vet care, a leash, decent food and love, your pets really doesn’t need anything. That tutu may look adorable on “Pookie” but she will live just fine without it. Keep your cash for the important things.

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  • Page99 says:

    I totally advocate adopting a shelter pet, but in this area, many of the younger dogs are $200 – $325, so not really inexpensive.

    I’d also suggest, along the lines of preventive care, feeding high-quality food. Your pet will be healthier. Often, because the food is more nutritious, you feed less, which also means less waste to deal with.

  • BruceBucks says:

    I am scared to get any type of pet, because I know how expensive they can be. I would definitely buy from a shelter as I know there are tons of pets that need a home, and its way cheaper. Thanks for the article.

  • Cd Phi says:

    Totally agree with you on the preventative care topic. My dog has gone to the vet annually sometimes semi-annually to make sure everything is all good and dandy. Because of that, we only have to pay the minimum pet insurance and it’s quite affordable.

  • Actually, the best way to save money on your pets is to learn how to take care of your pet. I mean, those grooming task can be well taken care of by you. It is not that hard. Knowing how to take care of him will save you money on grooming and vet services. The only time I go to a vet for my dog is when there is something wrong with him. Anyway, you do get a pet to take care of and not be taken care of by vets, don’t you?

  • KM says:

    We have a parrot and have recently realized how little maintenance she requires (besides the daily cage cleaning and constant need for attention). Toys last a while – usually weeks – and she is even perfectly happy undoing knots from old clothes that we make. The 5-pound dry pellet food bag also lasts a while as she eats a lot of fruits and vegetables and she likes our food too. She doesn’t require any vaccinations and we can file her nails and beak ourselves, even though the place we bought her from would do it for free anyway. So yes, it cost around $1200 to get her 11 years ago (prices have since gone up), but she is very cheap and simple otherwise. If you live by the notion that time is money, however, than maybe she is quite expensive. I would assume reptiles and such would be even cheaper since they don’t require time.

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