There are many benefits to owning a pet. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets is linked to several health benefits including decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD.
Pet ownership has significantly increased over the past three decades, with 66% of U.S. households (86.9 million homes) owning a pet. Beyond the health benefits, pets bring immeasurable joy and companionship. That’s why it’s important to give them the care they need.
Pet care can get expensive. In 2022, Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets. Dog owners alone spent an average of $730 a year on their dogs. While our pets deserve the best, there are smart and responsible ways to save on pet costs without compromising their well-being. In this guide, we’ll explore practical strategies to help you trim down your pet expenses.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Every year, millions of animals end up in shelters, waiting for loving homes. By adopting a pet instead of buying one, not only do you save a life, but you also save a substantial amount of money. According to the ASPCA, “adoption fees are significantly lower than the cost of purchasing a pet from a breeder or pet store”. Additionally, adopted pets may come with vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and sometimes even microchipping, saving you hundreds of dollars in initial medical expenses.
Invest in Preventive Care
Prevention is key to minimizing long-term veterinary costs. Regular check-ups and vaccinations can help detect and prevent illnesses early, saving you from hefty medical bills later on. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), “routine veterinary visits help pets live a long, healthy, and happy life”. Annual or biannual exams can nip emerging health problems in the bud and extend your dog’s life.
Grooming costs can add up quickly, but many routine grooming tasks can be done at home. Basic grooming, such as brushing your pet’s fur, trimming nails, and cleaning ears, can easily be managed with some basic grooming tools.
Pet food is a significant expense for pet owners. While it’s tempting to buy cheaper, low-quality pet food, investing in high-quality, nutritious pet food can actually save you money in the long run. Quality pet food leads to better health, reducing the risk of costly medical treatments. According to the Humane Society, “feeding your pet the right amount and type of food helps him maintain a healthy weight, which is one of the best ways to prevent obesity-related illnesses and extend his lifespan”. You can reduce pet expenses by shopping around for the most affordable high-quality pet food.
DIY Toys and Treats
Pet toys and treats can be quite expensive, but many can be made at home using simple, safe ingredients. DIY toys and treats not only save money but also provide a personalized touch to your pet’s playtime. There are countless online resources and recipes available for pet-friendly homemade treats and toys, making it easy to indulge your pet without breaking the bank.
Consider investing in pet insurance. While it does involve a monthly premium, it can save you a significant amount in case of unexpected medical emergencies. This safety net can prevent financial strain during challenging times and ensure your pet receives the necessary care.
Caring for your pet doesn’t have to drain your finances. By making informed decisions, embracing preventive measures, and exploring creative alternatives, you can provide your furry friend with the best possible care while keeping your finances in check. Remember, the key to reducing pet costs lies in being proactive, resourceful, and well-informed. By following these strategies, you’ll not only save money but also ensure your pet leads a happy, healthy life.