We Green Monsters love our companion animals and many of us treat them like our adopted children. Like having children, it can be expensive to care for pets. Pets need premium quality food, toys to keep them entertained, comfortable beds for them to rest … not to mention the necessary accessories such as those must have rhinestone collars, fashionable leashes/harnesses, and cute little dresses or sweaters. Pets need to visit a veterinarian annually, as well as when they are ill or injured, costing perhaps hundreds to thousands of dollars.
And, if you want to travel (and your animal can’t travel with you), it is important to find a boarding location or companion animal caretaker. You don’t want to forget to tip the pet sitter, either. The costs all add up!
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the bare minimum cost to care for a medium sized canine is $695 per year, $875 per year for a large dog, and $670 per year for a cat. If we truly love our companion animals, would we only give them bare minimum care? This means that pet care costs are expected to be much greater for passionate pet parents. But there are ways we can still provide our animals with the best possible care without breaking the bank.
1. Purchase Quality Pet Food and Keep Your Animal Healthy
Brands of pet food that contain truly nutritious content generally will be more expensive. You’ll end up saving money in the long-term, however, by purchasing a better quality pet food. And more importantly, you’ll be preserving your animal’s health.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), approximately one third of America’s companion animals are overweight. Many pets experience serious medical conditions due to obesity. Be sure you are not overfeeding your animal, as this could be wasting your money and negatively impact your pet’s health
Obesity isn’t the only concern caused by poor quality diets – companion animals might also suffer from dental issues, allergies, hair loss, foul smelling feces, heart issues, kidney disease, a compromised immune system, cancer, and other health complications. These costly issues would need to be addressed later on down the line! (Take a look at these cost averages.)
2. Keep Up With Your Pet’s Dental Care
Pet dental care can be astronomically expensive. Click here to find out how to take care of your pet’s teeth.
3. Don’t Buy Food Supplements
If your animal is on a quality diet that provides all essentials of their nutrition why would they need expensive vitamins? Unless recommended specifically for your pet’s needs by a veterinarian this is an unnecessary expense.
4. Don’t Buy Treats
Pet treats can be very expensive and sometimes have low nutritional value. Instead of rewarding your pet with special snacks you can try giving them pieces of their regular diet as a reward for positive behavior. You can also make treats at home. By doing so, you avoid unnecessary preservatives and chemicals often found in store-bought treats. Homemade treats are a useful alternative for dogs with allergies. Plus you can pick and choose the ingredients you are adding to the treats, making them a much more nutritious alternative.
5. Avoid Medicated Products from Pet Stores
Medicated products such as flea shampoos can be pricey with no guarantee they will solve your pet’s problem. Often these products will only eat up your money and you’ll find you need to take your animal to the vet anyway to find practical solutions for your pet’s problems.
If you’re struggling to afford caring for your existing pets, can you imagine caring for more members of your family. Spaying or neutering is important for avoiding long-term medical issues. Going through heat and/or a pregnancy can have detrimental effects on your female dog’s health. Neutering males helps with their urge to get out and explore, possibly preventing an accident.
7. Avoid Costly Vet Visits
Yes, it’s important to take your animal to a veterinarian at least once a year even if he appears healthy. But it doesn’t mean you have to visit a veterinarian who charges exorbitant rates. If you are close to a university, find out if they have a veterinary program. These programs often offer low-cost vaccines and/or check-ups. If you visit a veterinarian and your pet needs medication check out sites such as 1800petmeds to save money on discounted generic brands. Do your own research and talk to your vet about whether your animal really needs all recommended vaccines (individual animals have different needs). You can also ask about holistic alternatives for certain pet health issues.
8. Stick to the Necessities and Learn DIY Care
Does your animal have fleas or ticks? Learn how to naturally control parasites. Does your animal need enrichment? Make pet-safe toys with pet-safe recycled products. Your pet doesn’t need the fanciest and most expensive products on the market to be happy. They won’t know the difference between the bargain collar and the boutique find. For more ideas, check out these life hacks that will make you the best pet parent in town.
Follow These Tips and Save Money – It’s Worth It for You and Your Pet
Investigate the financial aspects of having an animal before you consider adopting any pet. Any pet parent you ask will say the love and companionship a pet provides is a heck of a deal!
Image source: CoreyDavenport/Flickr