My dog is like a part of my family and a great companion, but he can also be a huge impact on my budget. Although they can bring us a lot of joy, the cost of a pet can really add up. And when you’re trying to save money or deal with your debt , it can be stressful. Here are 14 ways to not go broke having a pet and ways to save money on pets.
Ways to Save Money on Pets
- Look for cheaper food. When you’re shopping for your pet’s food, compare the ingredients for various brands. Sometimes you’ll find that the top quality, more expensive brand, has the same ingredients as a cheaper or generic brand. The only reason why it’s cheaper is because it has a different label. But don’t just go for the cheapest food in the store without making sure it is still nutritious and healthy for your pet. Spending a few extra dollars on healthy food can give your pet a longer, healthier life.
- Opt for dry food. In many cases, dry food will be cheaper than wet food. Plus, any leftovers are easily put back into the bag or wherever you store the dry food.
- Use coupons for food. The same way you find coupons to save money on your grocery bill , do the same thing for your pet’s food. You can find coupons at all the same coupon sites you use such as Coupons.com  and TheKrazyCouponLady.com. Go to the website of the food you use to search for coupon’s from the manufacturer. While you’re there, “Like” them on Facebook and sign up for e-mail alerts to get coupons or hear about deals. Lastly, you can find coupons at whatever store you’re shopping at for the food, whether it’s a pet store or not.
- Buy food in bulk. Like most things, pet food is cheaper when you purchase it in bulk. Buy food in larger quantities  to save money. If you are concerned with the food going bad, split the cost with a friend  or family member that uses the same type of food.
- Don’t overfeed your pet. Speaking of food, be sure to know how much is the right amount. Talk to your vet to determine how much food your pet should be having. Many dogs and cats develop obesity from overfeeding. Besides leaving your pet unhealthy and uncomfortable, overfeeding is wasting money on food and will lead to higher vet bills with an unhealthy animal. Watching food intake also pertains to treats. Limit the number of treats you give your pet. Don’t hesitate to break a treat into smaller pieces.
- Groom your pet at home. Skip taking your dog to the groomer, and groom your pet yourself. Ask your vet what you should look for in a shampoo. Also ask your vet to clip your pet’s nails when you visit, and discuss if it’s something you would be able to do yourself. Don’t forget to brush your dog often as well.
- Don’t buy expensive toys. My dog could care less about how much I spend on his toys. The only thing he cares about is that he has people playing with him and giving him attention. No matter how much a pet toy costs, odd are it’s going to be get chewed up or torn apart anyway. Just keep in mind that a toy doesn’t have anything that your dog or cat could choke on or that would be hazardous to his or her health.
- Join reward memberships. Pet stores, like Petsmart and Petco, offer reward programs . The process works just like your reward and loyalty programs at the grocery store. Sign up at the store, receive a membership card, and scan it every time you make a purchase to receive rewards and discounts.
- Sign up for e-mail alerts. In addition to signing up for reward programs at pet stores, make sure you sign up for e-mail alerts. Simply register your e-mail address, and you’ll receive coupons, information on sales and promotions, and even hear about events that the store may be hosting.
- Neuter or spay your pet. Neuter or spay your cat or dog to prevent costly health problems in the future. You can find low cost or no cost procedures at local shelters.
- Maintain your pets health. Taking care of your pet not only ensures them a longer, better quality life, but it will also eliminate vet bills. Be sure your pet is getting proper nutrition and exercise for their age and breed. Also be sure to be taking proper care of their teeth since poor gum hygiene can lead to other health problems.
- Know your pet’s breed. The best way you can maintain your pet’s health is knowing what specific care is required with their breed. Some breeds are prone to certain illnesses that can be preventable. Everything from the amount of activities they should be doing, to when and how they eat, and to how their fur should be taken care of can depend on the breed. You can find books at the library or information from reliable websites to teach you about the care for your breed. Do research then talk to your vet about any questions you have.
- Have a pet emergency fund. The same way you save for your own emergencies , save for your pets. Have a fund set aside in case your pet gets sick and needs special medication or surgery. This way if it happens, you’re prepared and don’t have to put the cost onto a credit card.
- Make money with your pet. A way to combat some of the pet costs, is to become a pet care provider. If your dog is good around other dogs, offer to dog sit, be a dog walker, and take dogs to the park for extra cash. Since you’re walking your dog anyway, if you can walk your neighbor’s dog too, you’re getting a chance to spend time with your pet while making extra money.
How do you save money on food and other pet supplies? What else can you do to save money on your pet?