As a pet owner, it can be challenging to manage expenses during a cost-of-living crisis. Still, with the right approach, you can save money on everything from pet insurance to vet bills and even make money from owning pets. Here are some tips to help you save money on your pet expenses.
Save on Pet Insurance
Insurance is one of the biggest expenditures when you have a pet. It may be tempting to cut it when money is tight, but in the long term, it’s a false economy. You should go for the highest coverage you can afford and look for lifetime coverage for your pets. This way, any conditions your pet develops will be insured for the rest of their lives.
When you renew your policy, check the “existing conditions” terms, paying particular attention to ailments common in your animal breed. You can compare prices on the same sites you use for home and car insurance. Joe Nutkins, who runs the Dog Training for Essex & Suffolk centre, warns against choosing the cheapest option. She recommends checking how many medical issues can be claimed yearly, the amount of coverage, and the excesses.
Joe says, “Look at ‘multiple pets’ policies. If you have more than one pet, some insurance companies will give discounts when insuring multiple pets. The same may apply if you insure your pet with your house or car insurance provider.”
Save on Vet Bills
To save on vet fees, look for payment plans. Your vet is likely to offer a yearly plan, which will include boosters and flea and worm treatment for dogs. It will almost always work out cheaper than buying these treatments separately. If you are given a prescription from the vet, ask if there is a cheaper alternative. There often is! You may have to pay a small fee for the vet to write the prescription, but you can then take it to an online pharmacy. Before you buy, check that it is accredited by a body such as the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and is registered as a pharmacy with the General Pharmaceutical Council.
The PDSA and Blue Cross provide low-cost or free vet treatment for those on some benefits, including pensioners. When choosing a vet, check if they offer discounts for over-60s.
Save on Pet Food
Buying in bulk can be cheaper, but check the price per weight and that it will still be in date by the time you’re likely to come to the end of it. Another way to save is to sign up for a subscription service like Pets at Home’s Easy Repeat scheme. Some dog food brands, such as Harringtons and Naturaw, also offer a discount for subscribing. Use cashback sites like Topcashback to earn money back every time you shop. They also often offer discounts on pet food.
Dog owner Polly Arrowsmith gets top-of-the-range pet food, Pooch and Mutt, at a 50% discount, with a 20% cashback too, by waiting for deals. She says, “This is top-of-the-range food and supplements, and I pay less for it than I would for some of the cheapest brands available. This deal comes about every two months, so I bulk buy and get free delivery. My dog is 12 and in excellent health.”
Many pets can be fed for free. For example, some vegetarian reptiles and even tortoises can be fed with foraged food. Paula Stewart, who runs The Animal Talent Agency (TATA), hasn’t paid for food for her tortoise, Jeff, for around five years. She forages plants, flowers, and weeds that are safe for him to eat. Check the safety of the foods by using the Tortoise Table app, which is also suitable for some plant-eating lizards. You can feed your dog leftover fruit, vegetables, and meat (look for yellow sticker items too and freeze) as part of their diet. There are a number of foods that are poisonous to dogs. Check the Toxic Food for dogs list on the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home website.
Check out specialist pet websites for discounts on a range of items and compare them with supermarket prices. Tails.com offers up to 80% discount codes for your first order and £10 to “refer a friend”. Pooch Pass is a digital discount site providing exclusive deals for dog owners across various products and services such as dog treats, toys, dog-friendly hotels, etc. (membership is £1.99 a month). Good Housekeeping readers can use an exclusive 30-day trial code “GHFREE30”.
Joanna Baker runs CollarClub, a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly subscription box for dogs, focusing on ethical and sustainable products (contents vary but contain a tasty chew or chewy toy and other products such as grooming items, recipe cards for making homemade treats, and accessories). Boxes are surprises, but you can inform them of medical needs.
1. Owning a pet can be an excellent way to earn extra money, with opportunities such as dog walking, pet grooming, or even starting a pet-sitting business.
2. You can save money by learning basic grooming skills, such as bathing your pet and trimming their nails, instead of paying for a professional groomer.
3. Investing in high-quality pet accessories, such as sturdy leashes and collars, can help you save money in the long run by reducing the risk of expensive vet bills due to injuries.
As a pet owner, there are many ways to save money without compromising the health and wellbeing of your pets. From insurance to vet bills and pet food, you can cut costs by shopping around, buying in bulk, and taking advantage of discounts and subscriptions. You can also save money by learning basic grooming skills and investing in high-quality pet accessories.
Saving money on your pet expenses is a matter of taking a proactive and economical approach. By shopping around, taking advantage of discounts and payment plans, and learning basic grooming skills, you can keep your pet healthy and happy without breaking the bank. With these tips and strategies, you can reduce your pet expenses and continue to enjoy the companionship of your furry friend.