Since we don't have pets (due to allergies), I am excited to share this guest post from Andrea Woroch sharing how to save money on your pets.
Anyone who owns a pet knows that these four-legged creatures are more than just animals, they’re family members. Ensuring your dog or cat gets quality care for a healthy life comes with a price tag, though. According to data reported by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the average lifetime cost of raising a dog is $23,410, with specific costs varying by breed size. The lifetime cost of owning a cat is less but also varies, with indoor cats costing up to $4,150 and outdoor cats costing up to $11,275 on average, according to PetPlace.com
Food, grooming and annual checkups are just some of the expenses associated with animal care. Since you don’t want to compromise your fur baby's health or your household budget, read on for 8 ways to save money on pet-care expenses.
Auto ship for discounts on quality food
Most of your pet budget should go toward quality food. Your vet can point you toward the best brands for optimal health and wellness, though your pet will ultimately decide what he or she likes best. The Dog Food Advisor has a comprehensive list
of wet and dry food brands which it approves based on factors like the presence of real meat ingredients and fat-to-protein ratios. Since such quality food is a lot pricier, consider signing up for repeat delivery or auto ship from online pet retailers who provide free shipping and discounts of 10 to 15% off on these orders.
Sign up for loyalty perks
Take advantage of pet store loyalty programs to earn rewards and special savings. For example, Petco’s Pals Rewards
loyalty program provides $5 rewards for every $100 you spend, plus you’ll receive free birthday treats for your pet, bonus offers, coupons and details of upcoming sales. PetSmart’s PetPerks
program offers special member pricing on specialty marked items in store every month. When you come across a great deal on a product, treat or food your pet loves, stock up!
Ask about generic medications and treatments
Like prescription medication created for humans, treatments and medications for animals are often offered in generic forms for a better price. Chat with your veterinarian about these options to determine if they’re a good fit for your pet and his or her diagnosis. Typically, veterinarians are sensitive about medication costs and will offer this information anyway.
Order meds online
Unless your pet’s condition is life-threatening or requires immediate treatment, hold off on purchasing medication until you can research prices online. Several pet med websites offer name-brand and generic medications and treatments for less, especially when you search for additional discounts. Browse for coupon codes
on Coupon Sherpa for deals like free shipping and 20% off your order from PetCareRX.com
or 20% off flea and tick products from Only Natural Pet Store.
Consider clinic vaccinations
Keeping up with annual vaccinations is essential to maintaining the health of your pet. To save money on this annual expense, find local clinic vaccinations to avoid office visit fees of $30 to $50. These clinics often operate on certain days between specific time periods are available on a first come, first serve basis. These clinics should not replace the care provided by your veterinarian as they are designed to administer vaccines only.
Create a pet emergency fund
Create a pet emergency fund. Despite your best efforts to keep your pet safe and healthy, emergencies can happen and emotional stress is compounded when vet bills start climbing. Create a pet emergency fund to use in case of unexpected illness or accidents. Even setting aside $20 a month toward this fund will help give you peace of mind and allow you to make decisions based on your heart, not your wallet.
Make exercise a priority
Whether it’s scheduling playtime with your cat every evening or taking your dog on your morning runs, ensuring your pet gets adequate exercise is key to saving money on their mental and physical health. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% of cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight. This can lead to osteoarthritis, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even some cancers, all of which are costly to treat and devastating to pets and pet owners alike.
Learn at-home care
Brushing, ear cleaning, nail clipping and tooth brushing are all essential care activities which you can perform at home with some practice and patience. While you may opt to have a professional trim your cat’s nails, you can be in charge of brushing her to avoid painful matting and excessive hairballs. Gently cleaning your dog’s ears will help guard against itchy and painful bacteria growth which can lead to long-term issues if not treated. Your vet will be happy to provide at-home care instruction, as they’d rather owners take charge of these tasks so they can focus their expertise on more specialized issues.
How do you save money on your pets?
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer-finance expert who is passionate about helping families find simple ways to save more and spend less without sacrificing their lifestyle. She has worked with hundreds of national and regional outlets on consumer stories and has been interviewed by NBC's Today, Good Morning America, Dr. OZ, CNN, MSNBC, FOX & Friends, ABC World News, Inside Edition, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, New York Times, Cosmopolitan and many many more. Andrea also writes for various news outlets and her stories have been published on Forbes, AOL Daily Finance, Yahoo!, Huffington Post, LearnVest, New York Daily News “Dollar Stretcher” and ClarkHoward.com. Andrea lives in Bakersfield, CA with her husband and rambunctious, Goldendoole, and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first child this August. You can read more about Andrea and watch recent TV clips at www.AndreaWoroch.com.