If you’re like me, you love your dog. Or you’re cat/bird/turtle/hamster/lizard or small woodland creature. While animals provide us with unconditional love and the everlasting feeling of “I Need You!” they sure can be expensive.
I put more thought into what my dog eats than what I eat. Seriously. You can find me sitting on the floor of my local grocery or pet store carefully analyzing the ingredients in whatever dog treat is on sale. If the ingredient list takes up half of the box, forget it. ::sigh:: I’m such a dog treat snob. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m not.
You know what stinks about spoiling your animal with… well, nutrition? It’s not cheap. Rarely can I snag a good deal when I’m buying healthy. However, I’ve heard countless stories of consumers that have written to their favorite animal feeding companies with stories of how much little Snookums or Meatball loves their food and requests for coupons (note: the owner requests for coupons, not Snookums and Meatball). More often than not, coupons are sent to them from the company. Companies LOVE fan mail. Wouldn’t you?
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According to Consumer Reports only 16 percent of Americans cut back on costs for their animals in the past two years so I know there are plenty of you out there, like me, that refuse to budge on animal expenses. – Source
But wouldn’t it be nice to provide Fido and Snowball (the two most generic names possible) the same excellent care and save some money while doing it? Of course.
The first step: Buy food in bulk. This sounds obvious. Because it is. But dog food can be expensive. I remember when money was tight I’d go out once every week for a small bag of dog food at $10 a pop. I thought that $10 at a time wasn’t that bad to pay for dog food. But I now see the error in my ways!
This past April I started buying in bulk and I will never turn back. First, I comparison shopped between PetsMart, PetCo and some local stores and wound up paying $40 for a BIG bag of dog food, (Bil Jac, if you’re wondering) which has lasted four months. Four months! Where I would have spent $40 a month on small bags, I’m essentially spending $10 a month!
As for veterinary costs, see if your vet or a good local vet has a preventative care program. Preventative care programs differ from pet insurance. I found pet insurance to be a waste when having a mutt as most do not cover breed-specific problems. Since I don’t know what my pup is fully made up (aside from love and cuddles!) it didn’t make any sense. I personally partake in my vet’s preventative care program where I pay $30 a month. So far, over the past two years I’ve saved nearly $1000 that I would have had to shell out of pocket. Granted, if you add up all of my payments, I’ve paid somewhere around $720 into the program over the past 24 months but I didn’t have to pay it all up front and that’s a huge savings on my wallet. When I take my dog in for his check-ups I’m in, out and don’t have to spend a dime (unless something is wrong or he needs medicine).
As for medication for your pet, well, that can get pricy. Look around online for better prices, more often than not you can find the medicine online at a cheaper price than your vet’s office. Also, you might be able to fill the medicine at a local drugstore or pharmacy if the medicine can be prescribed to humans at a lower cost. – Source
One big tip I’ve learned through owning my pup is never, EVER, EVER buy cheap flea and tick prevention. I shake my head in sadness to the memories of fleas. I’m only going to say this once, so listen up: always go name brand.