Pet parenting can be an expensive endeavor these days, between all the regular expenses of food, flea and tick prevention, and just general pet stuff: litter, leashes, toys, beds … the list can seem to go on and on. That’s not always fun for our wallets.
And what happens if your pet gets sick? Veterinary care for some health issues can cost in the thousands. Here we’ll look at some of the best ways to save money on pets.
How to Save on Pet Supplies
1. Get or buy used: Some pet supplies don’t have to be brand new to do the job perfectly. Tennis balls left over from your summer hobby are perfect “fetch” toys. Doggie clothes from the thrift store or from a friend are just as useful. And a sturdy ceramic dish can be a food bowl – whether it has a cute pattern on it or not!
2. DIY: If you’re feeling crafty, a plethora of pet items can be made at home. An old sweater can become a dog bed or a rope toy, an old carpet can become a scratching post. You can even fashion your own homemade dog shampoo!
Invest in Prevention
3. Good food: A nutritious diet will help pets stay healthier longer. From staving off obesity to making sure your pet gets all their required vitamins and minerals, a high-quality pet food can pay for itself in health issues you and your pet will skip.
4. Vet checkups: Catching a health issue early can translate into thousands of dollars saved. For example, keeping your pet on flea & tick and heartworm preventions, and getting your pet checked for heartworm once a year, is less than half the cost of having to treat a pet for a heartworm infection. The difference is about $80 vs $180 every year.*
5. Exercise: Your doctor may tell you about the importance of exercise for yourself, too. It’s no different for pets. An active body is less likely to develop diseases associated with obesity, and a strong body is better at staving off would-be infections and viruses looking for a home.
Saving on Vet Costs
6. Humane society deals & vet deals: Did you know that local humane societies often host free or low-cost spay and neuter or vaccination services? These groups make it their mission to keep the pet population healthy, and they understand the constrains of the wallet. Look for an event in your area.
Also be on the lookout for veterinarians in your area offering deals. Some vets will offer special packages to attract new clients; others will offer yearly discount deals or memberships that include checkups, booster shots, and more.
7. Join a discount card / group: Groups like Pet Assure pull together a giant network of veterinarians and offer great prices across the board.
What’s more, PetPlus – the first membership benefits plan for pets – taps into this resource to provide even more savings. You could get 25% off office visits, vaccines, dental care, and even surgery and hospitalization!
Saving on Pet Meds
8. Buy generic: Oftentimes the generic version of a pet medication will cost less than a brand name version. Check our medication guides to find out if there’s a generic option to a medication your pet needs.
9. Buy meds online: Consumer Reports agrees that buying medications right at the vet’s office can mean paying too much. Buying pet medications online, from a Vet-VIPPS certified pharmacy (like PetCareRx), is a safe and less expensive way to get the exact same medications.
The Real Value of Pet Plans
10. Pet insurance or personal savings: Pet insurance is growing in popularity, but some pet parents still shy away from the premiums, wondering if they’ll really get the monetary benefit back from the plan. Some pet parents advise that setting money aside into a savings account specifically for pet emergency medical care makes more sense in the long run. It is hard to put a price on peace of mind, though.
11. Pet pharmacy benefits plan: For pet parents who aren’t enamored with the idea of pet insurance, or for those looking to supplement their insurance plans with a great way to save on medications, a pet pharmacy benefits plan is the answer.
What is a pet pharmacy benefits plan?
A pet pharmacy benefits plan is a simple monthly or yearly membership plan that you purchase for your pet in order to see great benefits and savings on medications. PetPlus offers up to 75% off the retail price of medications – that’s huge savings! What’s more, a plan like this doesn’t ask for a health history of your pet, and costs will never go up for a pre-existing condition or if your pet gets sick.
Find out more about how much you can save on a pharmacy benefits plan like PetPlus.
More on Budgeting for Pets
Understanding the Lifetime Cost of a Cat
Budgeting for the Cost of a Dog
*According to VPI insurance claims