One thing that both veteran and brand-new pet owners know is that pet ownership can get expensive. You’re not alone when you ask the question, “How can I lower my pet expenses?” And we have good news – there are plenty of ways to save! From finding a low cost pet food to claiming pet tax deductions, here are our tips for saving money as a pet owner.
How to Save Money on Your Pet’s Diet
No matter what kind of pet you have, food is going to be on the list of pet expenses. Keeping your dog or cat healthy with a well-rounded diet and plenty of treats is very important to their well-being and quality of life. Plus, with the right diet, you give your pet the best chance of living for a long time. Pet food is not a budget category where you want to be cheap, but you can definitely save money by making some smart decisions. Here are a few tips for how to lower your pet expenses related to food and diet for your pet.
Tip 1: Find a High Quality, Low Cost Pet Food
While you should never skimp on nutrition and quality with your pet’s diet, you can probably find a low cost pet food that will work great for your pet. Both cats and dogs need a diet that is predominantly animal protein, complemented by some carbs, fats, and grains. Shop around both online and at your local pet stores and consult your veterinarian to find a low cost pet food that works for your animal’s health and for your budget.
Tip 2: Make Homemade Treats Rather Than Buying
Some people might say you should just cut out treats and snacks to keep your pet expenses low, but these little bites in between meals serve a very important purpose. Not only are they delicious for your pet, but they also create small bonding moments throughout the day. Treats can be a wonderful way to endear your pet to a new person and they can also be a powerful training tool. That said, the cost of treats can really add up – especially if you aren’t being careful with how many snacks Fido gets each day!
Making homemade treats is not only healthier and more affordable but cuts back on the trash associated with pet treats that come in non-recyclable plastic bags. There are plenty of recipes for pet snacks that are simple and can be made quickly with ingredients you probably have in your pantry. Many don’t even require you to turn on the oven! Making homemade treats for your cat or dog can be a great way to lower your pet expenses without impacting your pet’s quality of life. Additionally, be conscious of how many treats you are giving to your pet daily. Keeping that number reasonable will not only help your wallet, it will also ensure your pet doesn’t start to gain weight.
Tip 3: Buy in Bulk
Whether it’s treats or low cost pet food, items tend to be more affordable when purchased in large quantities. And luckily, many pet foods and treats have a long shelf life, especially if stored properly (out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures and moisture). Some companies even have subscription services that allow you to save a little money by getting a consistent delivery of pet food.
Buying in bulk or using a subscription is a win-win situation because you don’t have to worry about buying pet food every time you go to the store and you lower your pet expenses!
How to Save Money on Your Pet’s Health Costs
Another pet expense that simply can’t be ignored is your animal’s healthcare. Vet bills can really start to add up, and many pet owners cite this as one of the most expensive things about owning a dog or a cat.
Like a healthy diet, proper care is not a budget category where you can get cheap or cut corners. Preventive care is key to ensuring you don’t incur the stressful surprise of an emergency veterinary visit. But, you can certainly save money by approaching veterinary care with the right budget mindset. Here are some tips for saving money on your pet’s health.
Tip 4: Find a Low Cost Vet or Veterinary College in Your Area
Not all veterinarians are created equal. Shop around your area and consult other pet owners about the most affordable and high-quality veterinary clinics in your neighborhood. A low cost veterinarian is often one that’s willing to work with you and make collaborative decisions about your pet’s health and what kind of medications or treatments they really need, versus what might be optional or can be postponed. Sometimes a low cost vet will even help you set up a payment plan for your pet’s care. But be cautious; do your research and be sure that whatever veterinarian you choose, they aren’t cutting corners to cut costs.
Larger cities might have a veterinary college where your pet can get their check-up from a veterinary student. Animal care from a veterinary clinic is often far less costly than a professional clinic, and you aren’t sacrificing on quality at all. These are the future veterinarians of the world!
Tip 5: Don’t Skip Veterinary Check-Ups
As with almost anything – including your health, your family’s health, and even the health of your automobiles – prevention is a money-saving effort. While it might seem tempting to delay or even cancel your pet’s annual veterinary check-ups, it can be a costly mistake. Treatment for various pet conditions, such as heartworm, is far more expensive than the prevention of that same condition. Ask your veterinarian if they offer wellness or care plans; some have options that let you bundle regular care and vaccines into an affordable upfront or monthly payment plan. You can also ask about pet insurance plans, which can save you both money and peace of mind.
By staying on top of your pet’s health with regular veterinary visits and a consistent daily care routine, you are actively lowering your pet expenses and saving money!
Other Tips for Lowering Your Pet Expenses
Once you’ve lowered your animal’s food and health expenses as much as possible, you can look into other ways to cut back. Here are two final tips for reducing your pet expenses.
Tip 6: See If You Qualify For Pet Tax Deductions
Most people’s pets won’t qualify for a tax deduction in a typical year, but it’s worth considering if you have a working animal. Service animals (including emotional support animals), animals that act or perform, and foster animals tend to qualify their owners for some deduction on the costs of their care.
One lesser-known deduction that some pet owners will qualify for is a deduction on the costs of moving your pet with you to a new location. There are a few details on this pet tax deduction – for example, the move has to be more than 50 miles from your previous address – but it’s certainly worth looking into if you’ve moved in the past year and your pet came with you.
Tip 7: Be Smart and Budget for Pet Care
One of the easiest ways to lower your pet expenses is with a carefully laid-out budget. Being smart about your pets’ wants and needs, your income, and your spending habits will allow you to stay confident.
It’s always a good idea to have a safety net of some kind for an emergency situation. Even the most well-prepared pet owners can fall victim to accidents, such as a curious dog who eats something they shouldn’t and then needs surgery for an intestinal blockage.
Before you buy that really adorable astronaut cat costume, think about how that money could otherwise be used for pet expenses. Budgeting carefully and saving money doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy fun things – it just means you are selective and careful about what you buy and when.
Low Cost Doesn’t Mean Low Care
Asking the question “How can I lower my pet expenses?” means you are a responsible, thoughtful pet owner. Finding low cost pet food and a low cost vet is a smart thing to do, not cheap or careless. You want the best for your pet and, when you are careful and consistent, it’s possible to find the best within your budget. Use these tips to create a smart pet budget so you can spend less time worrying about money and more time playing with your beloved furry friend!