Adding a dog, cat, or any other kind of animal may seem like a great idea when you see their adorable face sitting at a shelter, but there are several things to think about before taking on the responsibility of an animal.
A dog can be a lot of work and can potentially take weeks to potty train, not chew on things, or not bark at every moving object.
Not only that, there is a huge cost that comes with having a pet. Unexpected emergencies can happen, they need vaccinations and physical annually, and may need preventatives for heartworm and fleas depending on the area you live in.
This post was inspired by my sister’s post, “Every Dog/Cat Deserves a Home But Not Every Home Deserves A Pet“.
If you do decide to get a pet or have a pet already, use these 9 tips below to save money on pet-related expenses.
1. Visit Low-Cost Clinics
Finding a low-cost clinic in your area can be a real game changer. A simple way to find an affordable clinic is by searching, “Low-Cost Clinic” and then typing in your city after it into Google. We started going to Thrive in Austin, which is a low-cost vet. We are paying a quarter of what other vets are charging in the area. The only downfall of using low-cost clinics is that they book up in advance, so you want to make sure you schedule appointments ahead of time.
Related: 50 Ways To Save $500+ Each Month
2. Get Pet Insurance
There are differing opinions on pet insurance and whether or not it is worth it. Plans can range from $20+ a month depending on your dog’s age, breed, size, and other factors. This can be a real money-saver in case your dog needs an emergency surgery or ends up being diagnosed with cancer and needs chemotherapy. However, insurance companies have fine writing and can sometimes be shady. We don’t currently have pet insurance, but we often think about it, especially since one of our dogs was having health issues when we first got her due to her previous owner being neglectful of her health.
3. Bark Box
BarkBox is a monthly subscription service for your furry friend. You get 2 toys a month, 2 bags of all-natural treats, a chew, which is all curated each month with a unique theme. Subscription boxes go for $25 a box, which is worth if your dog goes through toys and treats often. If you think about it, a bag of healthy treats cost around $8+ a bag, toys are generally $7+ each, and a chew costs around the same as well. This will save you money if you often buy these things, but if you don’t buy your dog toys or treats, I would skip this option, obviously. Shipping is free and you can cancel your subscription box at any time.
10% of all profits go to over 3,000 shelters across the U.S. and Canada.
4. Or Make Your Own Toys
Dogs are so incredibly easy to entertain. You could get a sock and put an empty water bottle in it and they’d be entertained for hours. Here is a list of 33 dog toys that you can make at home if you’re on a budget.
5. Save On Medication By Purchasing On 1-800 Pet Meds
We purchase all of our dog meds on 1-800 Pet Meds for 2 simple reasons. We never have to go to the vet to pick up the meds as they get straight to our house, and we also save hundreds of dollars each year.
For fun, I called up my vet and asked them how much they charge for heartworm medication because I wanted to see how much I was saving by buying meds online. They were charging $175 for the same medication that I was buying online for less than $100. Insanity!
Both of our dogs are on tick/flea and heartworm all year long since we live in Texas, so it can get pretty expensive, but we save a few hundred each year by purchasing the medication online.
Related: 50+ Ways To Make Extra Money
6. Stay Up To Date On Vaccines
Staying up to date on vaccines avoids unexpected costs. If your dog is not vaccinated with the proper vaccinations, you’re putting your dog and other dogs at risk for getting a life threatening disease. Having a dog is a responsibility that you took on when you adopted him or her, and it’s expected that you’d take care of their health as you would take care of yourself.
7. Get Daily Exercise
Between 20%-40% of dogs in the United States are obese (omg!) and are not getting enough exercise each day. Giving your dog daily exercise ensures that your dog is getting the proper amount of movement each day. This not only aids in making them happy, but it also avoids potential medical problems such as arthritis, cardiac problems, skin problems, and cancer. To save extra money on dog-related expenses, I recommend checking out Ebates to get cash back on your purchases. You can get $10 for signing up with my link here, and can save on tens of thousands of other items on their website by buying items you already buy.
8. Make Treats At Home
Making dog treats at home is so easy and can be much more affordable than buying treats at the store. I’ve made a large batch of dog treats before and they’re a hit with my dogs! Here is a simple 3 ingredient recipe with foods you probably already have in your kitchen.
A few healthy treats for dogs are:
- carrots (great for cleaning plaque off their teeth!)
- green beans
- sweet potatoes
9. Use Rover For Pet Sitting
If you’re gone all day or are going on vacation, getting a pet sitter is essential to taking care of your pet’s health and well-being. Rover has pet-sitters for as low as $10 a walk, and they provide several other options as well depending on what you need. You can get $20 toward your pet-sitting by signing up with my code here.
10. Brush Their Teeth Daily
Brushing your dog. cat, or other animals teeth are just as important as you brush your own teeth, yet it’s not a common thing pet owners do.
A few reasons why you should brush their teeth daily are:
- dental disease can lead to a long list of problems
- you’ll save money by avoiding these problems
- periodontal disease affects 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 (wow!)
- they can lose their teeth (painful for them)
The reality is that pets can get very expensive, especially as they get older into their senior years. Giving dogs up in their older years as they potentially get sick should never be an option, so make sure to think about the full cost of having a dog before adopting one. To save extra money on pet-related expenses, I recommend using Ibotta. You can also save on groceries, clothes, and thousands of other items on the app. Get $10 in your account by signing up here.
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