Last updated on January 27th, 2024 at 05:47 pm
Having a pet is something that everyone should experience. Whether it’s a childhood family pet that teaches children about responsibility, unconditional love, life, and death, or a dog who has been in the family for years, pets play a central role in our lives and often leave a lifelong impression. They’re even good for our mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, owning a pet can be expensive. Just like people, pets can become sick and injured unexpectedly. If your pet becomes ill, you’ll have to the shoulder the costs of their treatment. Even while your pet is healthy, there are ongoing costs, like food, routine check-ups, boarding or pet-sitting for times you’re away, and more.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to save money when it comes to the family pet–while still making sure they stay happy and healthy!
How to Save Money Caring for Your Family Pet
Save Money by Ditching the Expensive Pet Toys
Pets are like people, they need to be able to have something to keep them busy. If you don’t provide your pets with any kind of entertainment, it can have a negative impact on their health and their behavior.
Some pets remain active long into old age, but it is not uncommon for dogs in particular to become much more sedentary as they enter their twilight years. However, even in old age, dogs will still need to be walked and exercised, and even the oldest dog can surprise you with bursts of energy from time to time.
If you want to reduce or minimize the amount of money you’re spending on toys, there are plenty of ways that you can make your own pet toys. You should always be careful about giving your pets items that weren’t designed specifically as pet toys, but there are some DIY toys that are fine.
To be safe, supervise your pet when they play with any toy, whether it’s a DIY pet toy or something you’ve purchased.
Cats are easily amused and will have no problem finding things to play with for themselves. Of all the toys that cats enjoy playing with, the scratching post is possibly the easiest one to make yourself. You definitely don’t have to buy an expensive scratching post from a fancy pet store, when it’s so easy to find online instructions for making your own.
Get Annual Vet Check-Ups
When your pet gets sick, things can quickly get expensive. We will get on to pet insurance shortly, and why you should definitely look into having it. However, whether or not you have insurance, you should aim to get a general health check-up for your pet once a year or so. This will give you a better chance to prevent or treat illnesses before they become more serious.
When a beloved family pet becomes sick, you don’t want to have to make a decision about their health based on money alone. However, vet costs can be high, especially for serious illnesses or injuries. You will have to shoulder the costs of medicine, surgeries, or other treatments. Having your pet’s health checked every year will help your vet to spot and deal with any health issues while they’re still survivable and affordable.
Consider Pet Insurance
Pet insurance will give you some financial protection should your pet become ill or injured. Without insurance in place, an unexpected illness can have a serious impact on your family finances. Vet bills aren’t cheap, especially when compared to the costs of even routine veterinary procedures.
With coverage from a pet insurance provider, your pet will be able to receive treatment for covered conditions when they need it, not when you can afford it. In many cases, this can literally be the difference between life and death.
Pet insurance is sold in packages according to the animal in question. If you have a cat and a dog, you will need to get both cat insurance and dog insurance. It’s fairly easy to shop online to get quotes for dog and/or cat insurance.
Depending on the policy or company you choose, you can even get compensation for cancellation costs if your pet’s health forces you to cancel a vacation on short notice. And, some policies may pay pet boarding fees if you’re hospitalized.
As with insurance policies for humans, there are always limits, terms, and conditions to be aware of, so shop carefully for the plan that’s best for you.
Set a Budget
Setting a general budget for your family’s finances is always a good idea if you’re looking for ways to make your money go further. With that in mind, make your pet’s needs part of your budget considerations.
If you aren’t currently setting aside a specific budget for your pet costs, a good way of getting the process started is to track how much you spend on your pet over the course of a month. This will give you a base figure. Then, take a good luck at where your money is going to see if there is anywhere you can save.
For example, would it be less expensive to buy your pet’s food with Amazon’s “subscribe and save” versus shopping at the pet store? Can you bathe your dog yourself instead of paying to them bathed?
Prioritize What You Need
When you are assessing what you need to buy your pet each month, divide the purchases up into things that you want to buy for your pet and things that your pet needs and which you must purchase no matter what. Needless to say, you should aim to set aside the money for what you need before you worry about the extras that you want to buy.
Having a family pet can quickly get expensive, especially if you have one that is fussy about their food or has special dietary or health needs. However, you can give your pet everything they need without having to break the bank.
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