How to Save on Pet Care Costs
Our pets can be a source of great love, joy and companionship. They can also be a source of great expense. The National Pet Products Association estimates that Americans will spend more than $55 billion on pet care this year, which comes out to about $500 per pet.
Of course, they’re worth every penny, but wouldn’t it be nice to save more than a few pennies on caring for them? Here are some ways to save on pet care expenses without skimping on care.
Do Your Research
Understanding the financial commitment you’re undertaking before you choose your pet can help you plan appropriately. Some pets require a greater financial commitment than others. Research the type of pet you want to learn about any potential health issues that could be costly down the road. Also consider a pet’s projected lifespan and ask yourself if you’re truly prepared to make a multi-year financial commitment.
Pet-proof your home to ensure dogs, cats and birds don’t have access to any harmful plants or chemicals that can cause health issues. Assemble and learn how to use a pet first aid kit, so you’re not running to the vet for little problems you can easily take care of on your own. And always feed your pets a good quality diet and treats (and skip the table scraps) to keep digestive issues at bay.
Skip the Spa
Pet ‘spas’ and doggie day care centers for boarding are all the rage, but those costs will add up fast! You’re better off finding a pet sitter who will come and stay with your pets at your home. It will be less expensive and there won’t be the disruption in routine that can trigger digestive or anxiety issues. Better yet, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to take care of pets while you’re away and do the same for them when they need it.
Consider Pet Insurance
This can be a tremendous safeguard against big vet bills, especially if your pet is prone to breed-specific hereditary health issues. Just as with our own health insurance, policies run the gamut from emergency only care to comprehensive coverage, so be sure to research and find a plan that best matches your pet’s needs.
If it seems you’re running out of pet food before you should, you might be overfeeding – and overspending. Use the feeding guidelines on the bag of dry food as a baseline measurement and confirm with your vet if it’s an appropriate amount for your pet’s breed, age and size. Overfeeding not only costs money now, it can lead to further expense from obesity-related health issues as pets age.