Welcome back to Kyle, from Rather-Be-Shopping, for another guest post! Thanks, Kyle, for your always great money-saving tips. 🙂
Two out of three households in the United States have a pet of one species or another, and in total spend a whopping $55 billion per year on them. Whether it be a cat, dog, guinea pig, snake, or tropical fish, the cost to keep them healthy and happy can add up really quickly. Here are some easy to institute tips to help you love your pets, just not at full retail price.
~ Buy in Bulk When Possible
This seems like fairly obvious advice but it amazes me how many people I see buying these tiny little bags of dog food from the pet store and paying an arm and a leg for them. Always try to buy things like dog food, kitty litter, and pet treats from your local warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. We use to buy the Iams brand dog food from Costco for $45 for a 40-pound bag and last year we switch to Costco’s Super Premium Kirkland brand for $27.95 for the same sized bag and our dog loves it. At the time we switched I did some research and discovered the nutrition level between the two dog foods was very similar. By switching we save over a $100 a year and our golden retriever still gets the nutrition she needs.
~ Going on Vacation? Try DogVacay.com
We have found that one of the most expensive aspects of owning an animal occurs when we go away on a trip. If we can’t take our golden retriever with us we have to find someone to take care of her for us. We use to have her boarded at our veterinarian’s kennel but it was darn near costing us more than our actual trip. That is when I did some research and discovered a website called DogVacay.com which puts you in touch with local pet sitters. Sitters are completely vetted and typically turn their home into a small pet resort. I was able to save 40% when compared to the cost of the kennel and our dog gets much more exercise and attention.
~ Always Use a Coupon
When buying pet supplies, toys, food, and preventative medicine like HeartGard and Frontline, always take advantage of a money saving coupon. I learned several years ago to NOT buy our dog’s Frontline and HeartGard from our vet as they markup the costs. Be sure to shop around and try and find it cheaper online with a coupon. I typically buy from 1-800-Petmeds and have been very happy with their service. Here are some good coupons available for October.
~ Find The Right Veterinarian
When my wife and I first brought home our golden retriever puppy 10 years ago, we took her to the veterinarian nearest our home and didn’t really ask around about vets. We simply opted for convenience and ended up paying the price as the vet was very expensive and offered a luxury type service that just didn’t mesh with our wants or needs. Within a few months we started asking our friends about the vet they used and found a vet who looks just like Wilford Brimley and we absolutely love. He explains things vey well, never makes you feel guilty for declining a service or optional test, is reasonably priced, and is very down to earth about pet care. I really feel that finding a veterinarian who is on the same page as you is incredibly important and should be done well before you bring a pet into your live.
~ There’s An App For That
Check out the free smartphone app, Pet Care Services, to quickly do price comparisons of pet services in your area. This is a great way to save money on dog groomers, pet sitters, dog trainers, and pet food and supplies. The app will quickly put you in touch with local services that fit your budget and allow you to start slashing some of your monthly costs.
~ Become a DIY’er
The next time your dog needs a haircut or minor medical attention figure out how to do it yourself. Use YouTube and online resources like VetStreet.com to learn how to groom your dog and take care of them yourself. At least once a year, despite our best efforts, our dog would get a tick attached to her belly from running around our 3 acres. I finally took to the Internet and learned how to remove the tick myself and avoided a hefty vet bill in the process. The secret? Never attempt to pull the tick off your animal as the head of the tick can remain attached and cause an infection. Instead, cover the tick with a liberal amount of Vaseline, it will not be able to breathe, and within a few minutes it will release itself cleanly from the skin. It works like a charm.
What do you do to reduce the expenses associated with having a pet? Anyone make their own dog treats or chew toys?
About The Author: Kyle James operates Rather-Be-Shopping and spends his day adding new coupons to over 900 stores and writing about creative ways to save money.