For many people considering adopting their first pet, the potential costs of owning and caring for it can be daunting. From vet care to training to food, everything seems to come with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, those price tags don’t have to stop you from adopting a new best friend.
With a little creativity, and a few worthy investments (like pet insurance), there are several ways to save on your pet care. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started and to show you that the cost of keeping a pet healthy and happy doesn’t need to stop you from bringing one home.
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- How to Slash the Cost of Pet Care Products
- How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Parasites
- How Soon Should You Start Training With Your New Pup?
- Symptoms & Treatments of Common Dog Diseases
Get Pet Insurance
Accidents happen. So does illness. Pets are no exception. But if you’re adopting a pet and want to properly care for it, you’re going to need to take it to the vet when these things happen. And depending on whether or not you invest in pet insurance, that visit to the vet could be a couple of hundred dollars (or less) or a couple of thousand dollars. Inevitably, you will need to make visits to the vet at least a few times in your pet’s life, particularly as you adopt a new pet.
You’ll want exams, especially if it’s a rescue, and vaccinations as needed. “Insurance” often triggers thoughts of regular expenses, another column to add to your budget, money you’re throwing away monthly for what feels like nothing. But if you sign your pet up for pet insurance as early as possible, you’re sure to save thousands over the course of its life on veterinary care that you’ll realize your pet really needs. And in addition to saving the money from those vet appointments, you’ll also save yourself a lot of regret for not having signed up for pet insurance, to begin with. And you’ll have a happier, healthier pet. It’s an investment worth making.
Another way to save money on your pets is to keep up with preventative care. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the kind that you can tack onto your pet insurance, but you can’t go wrong with that, too. Preventative care with pet insurance includes regular checkups, teeth cleaning, and more that, while it might seem unnecessary at the moment, will keep your pet healthier and out of the vet’s office in the long run. Sounds like money saved.
However, if you don’t want to opt-in for pet insurance preventative care, there are still ways you can be proactive about keeping your pet healthy and preventing future illness and injury. If you ensure that your pet stays active and follows a healthy diet, this in itself is a form of preventative care. Overweight pets are much more prone to injury and illness as they age. So set up ways in and out of your home to keep your pet active, and if you have a dog (or a cat and a cat leash!), take it on walks and adventures as much as possible. Showing your pet a healthy lifestyle is just another way to save money.
Train Your Pet Yourself
A huge cost for pet owners, mainly dog owners, is often training. And while it might seem like a tall task, training your pet on your own is entirely possible. It may even still require some cost, but not nearly as much as paying for classes or hiring a professional trainer. Instead, you could put a fraction of that cost towards a course online that will teach you how to train your pet yourself. Or, if you’ve decided to take the pet insurance route, many pet insurance plans offer expert information about training your pet.
They also offer telehealth visits in which you can discuss training directly with a vet or an expert. Again, it seems like a big challenge, but if you have the time to train your pet yourself (a route many people do choose to take), then you’ll save yourself a big chunk of change right at the offset.
Get the Best Deal on Food
Once you have a pet, or if you have one already, you realize that you are, indeed, responsible for feeding another living being. Sure, it costs less, and they eat much less than if you were feeding a kid or a human (particularly teenagers… yikes), but it’s still another expense that you need to add to your budget. So rather than just buying any old bag of food you see at the store, get thrifty with your pet food shopping. A few ways are listed below.
- Loyalty Programs: Many pet stores and pet brands have loyalty programs you can sign up for. Some programs will be better than others, but they’re free, and it’s worth signing up for some to reap the benefits. Eventually, once you prove that loyalty, it will help out your wallet.
- Shop Around: Again, don’t just buy the first food you encounter in the first place available. It may take a little time and effort but shop around to find which stores have the best to offer and at the best price. Some local stores might be cheaper, while some larger chain stores might be cheaper.
- Buy in Bulk: Once you find the right food that works for your pet, buy in bulk! Buying in bulk nearly always saves money. This could also be linked in with the shopping around factor; if, while shopping around, you find places with deals when you buy in bulk, take note. That’s your spot to save.
Save On Vaccinations
Whether you take the pet insurance route or not, vaccinations are a must. Humane societies and shelters often provide vaccinations for animals when they take them in, but if you’re interested in getting extra vaccinations, booster doses, or if you end up adopting a pet that doesn’t come with vaccinations, you’ll have to get them on your own. Fortunately, there are ways this can be done cheaply.
There are often vet clinics run by veterinary students that offer vaccinations at a much lower price. Also, check with your local humane society, as they often have insight on discount ways to get your pets vaccinated if they aren’t already. And, of course, one of the best options would be to get pet insurance, as this often will give you the best deal on getting your pet vaccinated.
The bottom line is, that pets can be expensive – but they don’t have to be. Do your research, don’t buy the first things you see, and don’t necessarily always take the easy route unless the cost is worth the time saved.