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Being a pet owner is a big responsibility, and it takes a lot to decide if you are able to take on the challenge. Alongside providing endless love, affection and entertainment, your pets can also be a financial burden, with both upfront and ongoing costs; it’s easy for the bills to pile high. Many people don’t realise just how much a pet is similar to a child, they take a lot of energy from their owner! This is particularly true for dog and cat owners.
We have put together our favourite money saving tips for dog owners, and cat owners. This list will help you if you own a pet on a budget. Remember a pet is for life so as much as you can try to keep the costs low, if you are planning on buying a pet, make sure you do your research and check that you can afford it.
1. Save money on foodLots of pet owners assume that they are buying the best food for their pets just because it is the most expensive. But branded and expensive isn’t always better, as we have seen from the rise of discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.
Depending on your pets breed and age, what is best for them will differ. Visit independent websites and do your research! Once you do find a good brand of food for your pet have a look online and see if you can buy in bulk.
2. Get pet insuranceResearch suggests that 67% of dogs and 84% of cats in the UK are uninsured*, which leaves owners susceptible to large vet bills. An initial vet consultation can cost on average £30-35, however if it is out of hours you’d expect to pay a lot more than this. An annual insurance premium can cost you around £325 a year for a dog and £170 for a cat. However, you can find it much cheaper by doing your own research.
Just like any other insurance, it’s important to shop around. If you have more than one pet, insurance providers might be able to give you a discount of around 5-10% when you take out two or more policies. Try GoCompare or Compare the Market to shop around for the best deals.
3. DIY toysWe all know that dogs like to chew through their toys, particularly if they’re puppies! Why not avoid costs for new toys and have a fun DIY day with the children creating dog toys from your old socks, tennis balls, kitchen tea towels or clothes? There are lots of cheap DIY dog toys you can make if you fancy getting crafty.
You can also have a go and make your own pet beds from old pillows and pillow cases.
4. GroomingIf you have a longhaired dog, chances are they will need some grooming to keep them in good condition. Cats are generally lower maintenance and won’t need as much grooming as dogs (unless of course you have a longhaired cat!). Make sure you keep an eye on website such as Groupon for discounts on dog grooming discounts.
Equally, you can try and do it yourself. If you just need to purchase some dog shampoo, a brush and try and get them into a bath! Some dogs love water, and some hate it so it is easier said than done.
5. DaycareIf you work fulltime and own a pet it can be very expensive to put your pet into a daycare facility each day of the week. However, if you do this and you are a loyal customer, why not try to negotiate a better price? Or to cut down costs during summer months, why not ask a trusted friend or family member to look after your pet while you’re at work or on holiday? You could also find a local pet sitter who would give you a good deal. Many college and university students who are looking for work during the holidays are likely to be available for pet sitting.
6. Save money on pet prescriptionsJust like you would go online to find items cheaper than they would be in a shop, you can order your pets medication online for a fraction of the cost in store. All you have to do is ask your vet for prescription and order online. There are other online stores such as Vet UK and Medicanimal – just shop around! Owning a pet on a budget can be difficult at times, but just like everything it’s important to budget properly and also learn how to save money where you can. Some pets, like cats are less maintenance than dogs, as they don’t require walking, but with all the accessories it can be just as expensive.
What did you think about our money saving tips for pets, did you have any others that we missed? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page.