Cost of Pet Ownership

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Cost of Pet Ownership

spot on savings reduce pet expenses
The cost of pet ownership can be quite high. However, so can the perks of having a pet.

This guide to simple frugal living will provide the everyday cheapskate with tips on everything from acquiring a cheap pet to getting cheap pet products.

As moms, one of the joys we may have is bringing home a pet for the family to love.

However, many people fail to realize the costs associated with having a pet. Aside from the pet itself, there are several pet-related expenditures you may have to make:
  1. Food. This is a no-brainer
  2. Leash/Collar for those walks around the neighborhood or at the park
  3. Shampoo to keep the dog clean
  4. Pet brush to keep their fur shiny and healthy. And remove fur when they start shedding.
  5. Flea/tick collar to protect them (and your family) from those pests
  6. (Heart)worm medicine to protect your dog's health
  7. Immunizations to keep your dog from falling ill
  8. Crate/kennel for housetraining
  9. Training pads
  10. Toys to keep them occupied
  11. Veterinarian fees for checkups.
  12. Fees for spaying and/neutering

As you can see, getting a pet is a commitment. Is it one that you are willing to make? If so, read on to find ways that you can lower the cost of pet ownership.

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Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: Picking Your Pet

In all honesty, the pet you choose may be the most expensive aspect of pet ownership. Some breeds are well into the hundreds. If, however, you do not have a particular breed in mind, there are tons of ways that you can acquire a family pet for less.

One way to lower the cost of pet ownership would be to adopt a pet from an animal shelter. Not only would you be saving money, but you would probably be saving an animal's life. With the abundance of pets that are abandoned by their owners, many animals that end up in animal shelters are put to sleep. You can save one from that fate, by adopting it.

Another option would be to checkout local online and offline ads for pet sales. Some resources are Craigslist and Freecycle. That way you can link up with pet owners who are either trying to find homes for a litter of animals or rehome pets that they can no longer take care of for whatever reason.

Often people are giving them away to good homes, but others may have a price tag attached. However, you will almost always pay less than you would in pet stores.

Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: Food

When it comes to our pets, we may feel the need to buy top of the line pet food. However, that is not necessary. A lower price tag does not necessarily mean lower quality.

When lowering the cost of pet ownership, you should avoid brands that include filler like corn. These fillers will only mean that your pet will get hungry faster. Which means you will have to feed them more often and, thus, buy food more often.

Another thing you can do to save money on food is to avoid overfeeding them. Follow the guidelines first and then observe their eating habits. If they never finish their food in one sitting, start feeding them less in a sitting.

Another way to save money on food is to utilize the abundance of pet food coupons that exist both online and offline. From pet store and pet food companies to your local newspaper circulars, you can always find coupons to save you money on pet food. Pair these up with good sales, and you can stock up on pet food for less.

Also, many people feed their dog what they eat. (People food.) Taking into consideration dietary restrictions and any supplements you may have to add, this could be a great way to save money on pet food. After all, most pet food companies reel us in by offering food that contain things that we eat anyway (chicken, beef, pork, fish, rice, etc.)


Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: Supplies

When it comes to lowering the cost of pet ownership with cheap pet products, your first stop should be local online resources such as eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, and online yard sales. You can post and search for ads concerning pet supplies. That way, people who have those supplies sitting around their house (either because their pets outgrew them or they no longer have the pets) can donate them or sell them to you at a discounted rate.

Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: Medical Care

Yes, pets often require medical attention. They require immunizations to keep them healthy. They require checkups. Sometimes they get sick or hurt themselves, and the costs to help them get better can easily run into the thousands.

Since most people cannot afford to take out a health insurance policy on their pets, perhaps you could set aside a little money each month as a "just in case" fund for your pet.

Then are medications that you may have to get for them as they get older. It may seem surprising, but animals can often fall prey to the same diseases and conditions as humans: arthritis, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer. And the medications to help with these ailments are no less costly. There are some ways to cut down on medical costs and lower the cost of pet ownership:
  1. Pay attention to your pet. If their behavior or appearance changes significantly, you may want to make a trip to the vet. Early detection can save you money.
  2. Go to the vet regularly. Prevention of disease is much easier and more cost effective than treating your pet after something has gone wrong.
  3. If you have a breed that is prone to certain conditions, you may want to consider buying an insurance policy for your pet. Taking this precautionary measure now can save you money in the future.
  4. Get the necessary vaccinations. You don't want to skip a $15 vaccination to lower the cost of pet ownership just to have to end up treating a $1500 infection. One way to save money on vaccinations is to do it yourself. You can buy many vaccinations in pet supply stores. If you are unsure how to administer the vaccine, ask someone at the store to tell you how. Some places will even do it for you.
  5. Call before you visit. The vet may be able to tell you what to do over the phone, rather than you wasting gas and money for an office visit.
  6. Consider cheaper options such as teaching hospitals, animal shelters, and the Humane Society.

Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: Medications

Medications are a necessary part of pet ownership. Especially if you get your pet when they are still babies. For examples, all puppies have worms when they are born and you must treat them regularly to get rid of the worms. If you don't they could die. The same goes for getting them their vaccinations. You can also take advantage of cheap vaccination clinics that are often offered at pet supply stores to lower the cost of pet ownership. Besides, vaccinations are, in themselves, a money saver. It is much cheaper to prevent an illness than it is to treat it.

Reduced Cost of Pet Ownership: The Fun Stuff

Now we get into the fun stuff: toys, grooming, and training.
  1. Toys. Just as we do with our children, we sometimes overload on pet toys that they don't really need. When shopping for pet toys remember that simple is good enough. And there is no need for them to have a different toy for every week. They just need something that they can interact with. If you can combine foods with treats (such as the many mechanisms on the market that require them to figure out how to get a treat out of the toy) then you are really on a ball.
  2. Grooming. We all want our pets to look their best. When it comes to grooming, learning to do it yourself will save you a lot of money in the long run. These days, you can find out how to do just about anything by watching a couple of videos online. Pet grooming is no different. Buy the necessary tools and view some instructional videos and you can save yourself hundreds of dollars that you may have handed over to professional groomers. Not to mention that regular grooming keeps your pet healthy longer.
  3. We also want our pets to be well trained. Maybe even to do cool tricks. As I mentioned before, if you are not willing to pay to have your pet trained, you can often learn how to do it yourself through books or videos. A lot of pet stores and pet supply stores also offer affordable pet training clinics that you could look into. By training your pet yourself, you save money and possibly your belongings, and your sanity.
Do you have any tips on how to save on the cost of pet ownership or know more ways of obtaining cheap pet products? Share your frugal living tip here:

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Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on lowering the cost of pet ownership? Next week we'll be talking about frugal home savings.

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