Ways to Save Money on Pet Care

It costs the average pet owner about $1,000 to feed and provide vet care for a dog or cat each year.  Although veterinarian care is very expensive, there are steps you can take to keep those costs down throughout a pet’s life by

(1) choosing a very healthy breed that doesn’t have genetic problems;

(2) making sure the pet gets exercise every day and doesn’t become overweight;

(3) getting a vet exam once a year and keeping current on all vaccines;

(4) take preventative measures like brushing your pet’s teeth daily or giving them dental chews to prevent gum disease and have them spayed or neutered to prevent expensive health problems later;

(5) filling pet prescriptions at 1800PetMeds.com, PetCareRx.com or at Costco rather than the vet’s office because they charge significantly more for them, marking them up by more than 1000 percent;

(6) avoiding premium pet foods as they are a waste of money; and

(7) not paying pet health insurance because research shows that you never get anything more than you paid in, and often much less.

The biggest expense associated with owning a pet is food, with the average American spending $20 a month for cat food and $35 a month for dog food.  You can save more on pet food by buying in bulk and shopping at the big discount stores like Walmart or Target or at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. Pet food purchased online or at a vet’s office is usually 50 percent more expensive. 

Also, buy generic or store brand pet food rather than the well-known name brands provided that the food doesn’t contain a lot of fillers and additives.  You can save really big and the quality is the same with many generic brands, just make sure the package says it provides 100 percent of the animal’s daily nutritional requirements. 

Buy pet products, such as flea and tick control, at online websites such as 1-800-PetMeds or Petsmart.com, where they are significantly cheaper than at supermarkets.  They are usually less expensive at warehouse stores such as Costco. You can also get pet prescriptions filled at drugstores, such as Walgreens, where it is much cheaper than buying directly from the veterinarian, who marks up pet medicines by more than 1000 percent!   Many drugstore prescription plans will actually let you add your pets to the plan as a member of the family.

If you cannot afford to feed or provide vet care for your pet, visit humanesociety.org for a list of programs that might provide you with financial assistance or free help.

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The average pet owner spends more than $1000 per year on food and veterinarian care
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