Save money on dog care and wellness with quick tips anyone can implement for easy savings.
Don’t tell Sparky, but his weekly pedicures just got the axe. Ditto for his choice imported chew toys. And don’t get us started on the free-range chicken dinners. The poor dear. In these lean times, even our doggies must cut back. But with a few cost-saving tricks, your pooch mooch won’t be living paw to mouth. Here’s how to sneak in some savings right under his nose.
Pay Less with Prevention
Keeping your pup fit and trim can slash your vet bills down to size. Extra pounds don’t only weigh down his puppy power, but increase his chances of getting arthritis, diabetes, even cancer. Keeping your pup at a healthy weight helps prevent these devastating health problems. And, even though you pay a little up front, keeping up with your dog’s regularly scheduled vet visits cuts costs too. Early detection of certain health issues can spare you expensive emergency procedures in the future.
Bake in the Savings
Who needs gourmet dog treats when you can whip up a batch of Fur Baby Favorites with the ingredients you may already have in the cupboard? Just as yummy and made with love, your kitchen creations have another benefit: You actually know what’s in them. You control the nutritional content for the health of your pup.
Get Your Groom On
Bathing, nail trimming, teeth-brushing – why not treat these basic grooming tasks as opportunities to bond with your pup? You’ll save money on the fees while making your dog sparkle and shine. But if your pup’s fur-do requires professional grooming tools and styling know-how, take the time to learn how it’s done. Websites and grooming books offer tips and tools for novice home groomers just like you. Also look for grooming schools that may offer services for low fees.
Pool Your Pet People
Tap into the power of pet people in your neighborhood. By splitting bulk food and supply purchases, swapping pet sitting duties, even bartering for pet care services, you’ll all save money and connect through the love of pets. Car-washing for pet sitting, anyone?
Vet More for Less
Since it’s so important to continue routine veterinary care, it’s worth it to explore saving opportunities with your vet. For example, you might consider asking your vet to write a prescription instead of just filling it for you so you can shop around for the best medication prices. Many veterinarians may also be willing to work with you on the price of care. If money’s tight, ask if it’s possible to pay for your dog’s care over time. And if your dog needs vaccinations, consider low-cost clinics at pet stores, animal control centers and humane societies where licensed vets on staff offer reduced rates on microchipping and heartworm testing too.
Get a Pet Fund
When the big unexpected pet bills come in, it’s good to have a stash of cash at the ready. Be prepared for health emergencies and last minute pet care bills with your very own pet savings fund. Whether it’s a cookie jar or an actual bank account that works for you, just make sure to stuff a few bucks in it every week. This way, when it’s just not possible to shop around for the lowest price, you’ll be free to focus on what’s most important, your best friend, of course.
If you’re having trouble affording pet health care costs, see the useful suggestions and links from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Originally published January 2011; reviewed and updated November 2016.