Why Do Pets Cost So Much?
I can’t lie, pets are expensive. I took a minute to add up the basic costs for my two cats, and without factoring in vet costs I spend upwards of $50 each per month. When I had dogs, they were even more expensive to care for. So how can you rein in some of the costs? I pulled together some tips you might not have thought of.
While not all pets like toys, I’d guess that most like some sort of entertainment. One of my cats will play with toys, climb a cat tower, and has a tunnel he loves. He also plays with the other cat who is uninterested in any of the toys. Every dog I’ve had loved toys, and each had their favorites. But to be honest, the cost isn’t what the animals appreciate, so spend the least you can on toys.
Does your dog like tennis balls? Don’t buy the ones at the pet store, ask at a tennis court if they have old ones, or buy inexpensive ones at a discount store. I had one dog who loved plastic jars, peanut butter ones were a huge hit with him. I’d let him chew on it until I could see tears, then into the recycling bin it went. For my smallest dog, tiny stuffed animals were a favorite, I bought them wherever I could find them at a good price.
Where Does Your Pet Sleep?
Well, other than in bed with you, that is. Again, your pet has no idea that you paid top dollar for a monogrammed bed from a high-end outdoor store, there are plenty of inexpensive ones at discount stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. If you do let your pet sleep with you, and he or she has trouble getting up on the bed, there is no need for a fancy set of pet stairs. A small ottoman placed near the bed works great, and I have seen them at Target for under $15. Stairs can run anywhere from $20 all the way up to $100 for wooden ones. My little terrier loved her ottoman just fine!
Other Pet Supplies
Sure, cute pet bowls that match your décor are fun, but your pet doesn’t care what they look like! Ceramic or metal bowls can be found used on Craigslist, garage sales, or in a thrift store and are easy to disinfect. Pet crates are also easy to find used, and as long as they are in good shape, are a great value. When my last dog passed away, I gave quite a few of her supplies to a neighbor who has several dogs.
Food is Expensive
This is one area that is really hard to save money. Many animals have sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or other dietary needs. Having had a few dogs with food allergies in the past, I know how frustrating it is to deal with the scratching and other issues allergies cause. The peace of mind and health benefit of using good quality food is impossible to quantify. There are a few ways to keep food costs under control, though. I have found that Amazon often has good prices on my preferred brand, and as a bonus, it gets delivered to my front door. Another site with great pricing and amazing customer service is Chewy.com. My mother goes to a feed store (is that a Texas thing?) to get her dog’s food, and I remember in the past she bought dog food from her mechanic! Talk about an unusual place to get the right food for the best price!
Even if your pets are basically healthy, there are routine vet costs. Yearly shots, monthly flea and heartworm prevention, teeth cleaning, and spay or neuter surgery are all costly. Over the years I have found several ways to get all but teeth cleaning at discounted rates. For shots and spay/neutering, check with your public animal shelter. Many will have a monthly clinic for very low rates, and I have also had great luck with some non-profit shelters. Flea and heartworm medications can be a lot cheaper through an online pharmacy than through the vet’s office. Again, try the animal shelter or a non-profit to see if they have discounted medications.
How would you feel if your pet got lost and there was no way to track you down? That would be pretty emotionally wrenching. There are a few things you can do to help with that possibility. The first is to microchip your pet, there is a central database that maintains contact information to help reunite lost pets and their owners. A faster way to share your contact information is to make sure your pet never leaves the house without a collar and a tag. A tag that is riveted on the collar rather than one that hangs down is unlikely to get lost, so it is the best choice. As a bonus, it won’t make noise!
One thing you should be able to control is fines. Most places have leash laws, and most animal control facilities will charge you to get your pet back. I recently heard from a cousin that she was charged several hundred dollars for a dog that had been picked up a second time. Many shelters charge you for shots, microchipping, spay/neuter surgery and local license fees as part of the impound fee, and that adds up pretty fast. So, to save on these kinds of fees, keep track of your pets.
Spend More Quality Time with Your Furry Friends
My cats hate to be ignored, so I try to avoid spending much time on the phone. If your animals are the same way, BillCutterz can help you. We are in the business of saving you time and money, and it only takes a few minutes to sign up and submit your bills to us. Then while we spend time negotiating the best rates for you, you can take Fido for a walk!