How can I Save Money on Pet Care?

Diana Bocco

Pet care is expensive. When it's true that there is no price big enough to pay for the companionship and unconditional love that a pet provides, it's also true that pet care can sometimes be pretty heavy on your wallet. On average, it costs Americans $ 1500 US Dollars (USD) a year to care for a cat and almost $2000 USD for a dog. If you have a pet or are considering one, here are some things you can do to stretch your pet care budget without affecting the life quality of your four-legged companion.

On average, it costs almost $2000 USD a year to care for a dog.
On average, it costs almost $2000 USD a year to care for a dog.

Do not buy your pet. Not only are purebred animals expensive, but they are also more prone to genetic conditions and over-breeding. Adopting a pet from a shelter it's cheaper, saves a life, and helps stop the breeding cycle. Even if your heart is set on a specific breed, you may be able to find it in a shelter, so look there first.

Basic grooming, like trimming a pet's nails, can be done at home.
Basic grooming, like trimming a pet's nails, can be done at home.

Do not try to save money on food. Buy the highest quality pet food available at your veterinarian or at least shop at pet food stores. Never buy generic pet food at the supermarket, since it lacks nutritional value and is full of fillers and byproducts that can contribute to a myriad of diseases such as diabetes, digestive problems, and urinary tract infections. Buying high-quality food will save thousands of dollars in pet care in the long run. Another expense that actually saves you money is to spay or neuter your pet. It will reduce roaming, which can result in accidents, and eliminate the risk of certain cancers, perineal hernias, and prostate enlargement.

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While it may be tempting to buy generic pet food, don't skimp on high-quality dog or cat food.
While it may be tempting to buy generic pet food, don't skimp on high-quality dog or cat food.

If vet services are out of your reach, consider alternatives such as mobile clinics, teaching hospitals, and veterinarian colleges. Some pet stores, including Petland and PetSmart, offer vaccination and routine pet care by a licensed professional for a low fee. You can also learn to administer your own vaccines, trim your dog's nails, and provide basic grooming. You can even become certified in Pet First Aid at your local Red Cross. Learning how to deal with first aid (small cuts, splinters, etc.) and emergency situations can make a world of difference.

Shopping around for the best kind of cat litter can help save money.
Shopping around for the best kind of cat litter can help save money.

Finally, consider pet care insurance. For as little as $20 USD a month, you can have up to 80 percent veterinary bill coverage, which means you won't have to think twice if a major expense comes around.

Pet care insurance can cover a great deal of veterinary costs.
Pet care insurance can cover a great deal of veterinary costs.

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