New pet owners don’t always realize how expensive it can be to care for a new member of their family. It’s one of the reasons why more and more pets are being abandoned because people find they just cannot afford to look after them.
This can be heartbreaking for the family concerned, but the RSPCA says that they are having 30 pets a day left with them for this very reason. There are things you can do to help reduce the cost of keeping your pet, and these tips might just mean that you can all stay together.
Food can be a large part of the cost of keeping a pet but you can reduce this expense by buying in bulk and by purchasing a shop’s own-brand products.
Generally, the larger the packet of food you buy, the cheaper it becomes. For instance, in one of the large supermarkets, a 1 kg bag of cat food costs £4.98. At one of the pet stores, you can buy a 15kg bag of the same cat food for £45.76, which works out to £3.05 per kg.
It might be harder to find £45 to buy the bigger bag, but you can see how much of a saving that is, and there are bags between these two sizes that will help to make your cat food cheaper.
Own brand products are often made by the same people who make the branded ones. So, if you want to save money, try your dog, cat, fish or whatever your pet is on the shop’s own brand and you will probably find they enjoy them just as much.
Keep an eye open for special offers. Buy one get one free is great if it is a food that will stay fresh for a while, or if it’s in tins. Discount codes are often shown in promotions, and making use of them all will help you to cut costs significantly.
Pedigree Animals Cost More To Care For
Research has shown that pedigree dogs and cats can cost as much as a third more to care for. Some pedigree breeds are more prone to illnesses, which of course means more vet bills. Not buying a pure-breed dog or cat could save you a lot of money.
Have Your Pet Neutered
There are some things that you should not skimp on or you could end up paying more money in the long run. Desexing cats and dogs, for instance, stops them from reproducing and giving you more mouths to feed. This may only be for a while until they are old enough to leave their mother, but when money is tight, you do not need that extra expense.
Cats Protection offer financial assistance for this operation in some circumstances, as does the Blue Cross, and many vets often hold special clinics for the purpose too – it’s just a matter of asking around locally. Make sure you do this for the good of your pet, your wallet and any potential future animals too.
Check Out The Vets And Medications
There is no NHS for animals. If your pet needs treatment you have to pay for it, but vets’ charges can vary greatly. Investigate the vets local to you and find out which is the cheapest. Chat with other pet owners and find out who they use before deciding which one to register your pet with.
If your dog or cat sneezes, there is no need to run straight to the vet. Minor ailments will sometimes put themselves right, and that could save you an extra vet bill. Of course, if they are involved in an accident or it is very apparent something more serious is wrong, you should get them to the vet as soon as possible.
Make sure you keep their jabs up to date, as failing to do so could be a false economy. If they become ill with something that could have been prevented by vaccination, the treatment will cost you more than their jab would have done.
There are medications that your pet will be prescribed that are specialist treatments for a specific problem. But there are other things, such as flea treatments, that you will find cheaper in places other than the vets.
There are many online stores now dedicated to animal products and you may just find you can save quite a lot of money by purchasing some of your pet treatments from them.
I recommend purchasing flea lotion and worming tablets from Pet Drugs Online, this is where I get my dog and cat treatments because the prices are very competitive.
It is worth looking into pet insurance to pay the vet bills. The cover varies greatly from policy to policy, so check out that you are getting exactly what you think. As well as treatment costs, some policies will pay the legal costs if your pet bites someone, or the cost of advertising if your pet is lost.
Most people will not want these extra things and will opt for a cheaper policy to cover the health of their pets more than anything else.
You need to shop around for the cheapest quotes as well. As an example, the difference between insuring a cat for basic treatment costs can vary by as much as £50 a year.
Some insurers you may wish to consider:
Petplan – One of the best! I’ve used Petplan for years and haven’t had any problems with claims.
PDSA Pet Insurance – The UK’s leading pet charity. The PDSA is funded entirely by public support and receive no government funding.
Use Charity Shops Or Car Boot Sales
You will often find bedding suitable for animals in charity shops or at car boot sales. The same goes for pet toys. Looking in these places can mean the difference between paying a few pence and a few pounds for the same thing, so they are always worth checking out.
You can also recycle old bedding or towels of your own. Your dog or cat will not be worried if the fleece in their bed used to belong to you, or if the bath towel you save for their bath time is not brand new.
Form a Pet Sitting Group
Paying someone to look after your pet while you are away can be very expensive. Form a group of like-minded people and take it in turns to care for each other’s pets when the need arises. When friends and neighbours have pets as well, this can be very useful and your pet may just be more comfortable as they are more likely to know the person.
These are just a few suggestions of ways to keep the cost of owning a pet lower, and hopefully will be enough for you to be able to keep your furry friend in the manner he or she has become accustomed to.