Saving money on pet care
Pets can be a costly business. It is estimated that the average dog will cost its owner over £16,000 over its lifetime, and a cat will cost slightly less. Here are some ways of saving money on buying and caring for your pet.
Although you should always ensure you buy your puppy or kitten from a reputable person, who is taking the proper care and responsibility for your puppy, the rest of the litter, and one or both parents, if they are with the owner, there are ways of saving money when you buy your pet. Newspapers and specific websites that are dedicated to selling pets, as well as more general websites offering items for sale, such as Gumtree, will have details of pets for sale, and it makes sense to browse several of these, because the differences in cost can be significant. You can also ask friends that have litters, if you could buy one of theirs, and negotiate a cheaper price with them.
It is a less attractive option for many, but you can save money on the initial cost of purchasing your pet by buying an older pet, either from a private home, a breeder that has had a cancellation, or by adopting a pet from an animal shelter. You could also opt for a mixed breed dog or cat, which are significantly cheaper.
Things the pet needs
Shop around for items your pet will need, such as a bed, toys, and so on. Dog beds can be bought more cheaply from stores such as The Range or Wilkinsons, or eBay. Pound shops sell a wide range of dog toys, cat toys, and treats, and so on, and they even sell collars and leashes. So you can save money on all of these things if you shop around. Beware that a puppy will probably chew its bed up anyway, so it makes little sense to fork out large sums for a high-quality one. If you want to buy your pet a crate, shop around for the cheapest price, or consider buying one used, to save money.
Your pet’s diet is important and it’s not something you may want to scrimp on, but, as with many things, it is not always the case that the more costly the food you buy for your pet is, the better the quality.
Raw feeding is a diet that involves feeding your dog or cat only raw products. There is a wealth of information available on the internet, but the general consensus is to feed a totally meat diet, comprising 80% meat, such as chicken meat, 10% bone, 5% brain, eyes, and so on and 5% liver or other organ. You can save money by buying meat in bulk from your butcher, or going to a farmer’s market. Dogs and cats can eat lower quality cuts of meat, and things like chicken backs, which many butchers will even give you for free, so it is worth enquiring with them about this.
If you decide to feed your pet dried dog or cat food, or another type of food specific for pets, then check out all of your local pet shops to discern the cheapest place for the brand of pet food that is within your budget. Also check online, because often you can buy larger quantities of pet food at a fraction of the price of the local pet shops. Pets At Home, for example, has a reward scheme, whereby they send you vouchers in the post for 10% off a particular brand (usually the brand you use) or £5 off a £30 spend, and so on.
Supermarkets, also, have their own brand of pet food, and also stock some of the main brands. And again, stores like Wilkinsons stock a range of pet foods and treats as well.
It’s a good idea to take out pet insurance, which will help with any costs that are likely to be incurred should your pet become ill or have an accident. Most insurance policies won’t cover the initial vaccinations or the yearly boosters, or specific vaccinations your pet may need to go with you on holiday, or suchlike. Certain policies have limitations on either the total pay out if your pet has an accident, or a clause whereby you must pay the first £50 (or whatever) of the vets’ bills, in the event of a claim. You can do a comparison to find the cheapest price, and policies start from as low as £5 per month for a young dog or cat, so they are worth considering, as vet bills if your pet is ill can be in the hundreds of pounds, and even higher if your pet was to have an accident.
You can also usually get a special deal from the vets on a lifetime booster vaccinations, which may be around £100 for a dog’s lifetime, ultimately saving on the £35-a-year booster prices.
If you have a pooch regular flea treatment is a must. We have found instead of going to places like Pets at home or even direct from the vets it is infact far cheaper going onto Amazon and buying Frontline Flea Treatment from there. As you can see they cover every size of dog around and can really save you quite a lot every few months when you stock up.
Getting your pet microchipped is a good idea. The chip is small and causes little discomfort to your pet when it is inserted, and none afterwards, and it means your pet can be found if it is lost or stolen, for example. The usual cost of this service is around £10, but you can sometimes save money by having it done at the time of your pet’s vaccinations, or there are often special offers or even free offers with certain vets at certain times.
Ask friends or family to look after your pet, or for cats, to call round to your home periodically and let the cat in and out, replenish food and water, and so on, which will save large sums of money on kennel and cattery boarding fees, which could be in the region of £15 per day.
How do you save money when looking after your pet? Let us know any great money saving tips you may have!