It’s a sad sign of the recession: according to a recent survey, more than 80% of animal shelters and rescue groups say they have taken in pets that were given up because of job losses or other money problems.
Other cat or dog owners may be trying to cut spending by skipping veterinary exams, a tactic that could backfire because it invites pet health problems that could be very expensive later on.
So what’s a cash-strapped pet lover to do? Here are 8 sure-fire tips for cutting the cost of pet ownership:
- 1. Don’t try to save money by buying cheap pet food. Quality food has less fillers and more real nutrition, meaning your pet won’t eat as much. Also, the health benefits of better pet foods can cut down on the need for veterinary care in the future.
- 2. Buy food and other pet supplies in bulk. You might save 5 to 10 percent by shopping at warehouse clubs such as Costco. You might also want to check the prices at the large discount stores, like Target or Wal-Mart, where items usually cost less than at pet specialty stores.
- 3. Shop around for pet medications. Check online outlets like 1800petmeds.com and find out what they charge for the medicine (both prescription and non-prescription) your pet’s doctor has recommended. You may be pleasantly surprised!
- 4. Save with coupons. Using a search engine like Yahoo! Or Google, type in “pet coupons” and click “search.” You’ll be able to print out dozens of manufacturer’s coupons. Also, check your newspaper for coupons from your favorite pet store chain such as Petco or Petsmart.
- 5. Try shopping for dog or cat toys and other new pet supplies at a dollar store. They often carry the same products as other stores, but charge a lot less.
- 6. Fire your groomer! Invest in a pet trimmer and go online for basic grooming tips. This tactic could pay for itself in just one or two grooming sessions.
- 7. Brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis can save on a professional teeth cleaning, which could cost hundreds of dollars.
- 8. Consider pet health insurance. If you don’t already have a policy for your pet, do some research, compare insurance companies and choose the pet insurance policy that fits your needs best. Depending on your pet, this could save you thousands of dollars a year!