A toy here, new collar there. We might not think about it all the time but the cost of spoiling your pet sure can add up. Most of this stuff they really don’t need or benefit from. It is better to save up a little bit of money every month for a pet emergency, which can sometimes be costly and come at the worst possible times.
So be prepared and take some of these tips to cut down on pet care costs:
- Go to the Vet! “A number-one money-saver is preventative veterinary care,” says Dr. Z. Annual veterinary exams can catch health crises early on and can save you a lot of time and money. This includes heartworm preventative treatment, flea and tick control, and a thorough check-up of your pet’s gums, teeth, heart, lungs and internal organs. If it’s been a year or more since your pet has seen a vet, make that appointment today!
- Give Your Pet Regular Check-Ups
Weekly home checkups are a great way to nip potential health problems in the bud.
– Check under your pet’s fur for lumps, bumps, flakes or scabs. Check your pet’s ears and eyes for signs of redness or discharge. Make note of any changes in her eating or drinking habits. If something seems off, call your vet right away.
– Learn how to clean your pet’s ears, especially if your dog is prone to ear infections.
– Brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a toothpaste formulated for pets, and check his gums. In some cases, this can help prevent the need for dental cleanings, which can run up to $200 per visit.
– Check your pet’s breath. Bad breath can indicate a digestive problem that’s better dealt with sooner rather than later
- Vaccinate Wisely
“Although certain vaccines are required by law, there is no longer automatically one policy for all animals,” says Dr. Lila Miller, Vice President, ASPCA Veterinary Outreach. “Veterinarians are now advised to assess each individual animal’s risk of exposure when designing a vaccination program.” So before subjecting your pet―and your wallet—to general vaccinations, ask your pet’s vet which vaccines he or she recommends.
- Spay/Neuter Your Pets
“Spaying and neutering your pet will have a dramatic impact on their health,” says Dr. Z. “For females, it dramatically reduces the potentiality for breast cancer, and ovarian and uterine cancer disappears.” Neutering also reduces chances of testicular cancer in males. Not only will spaying or neutering save you on future health care, but it will significantly diminish your pet’s desire to wander―and will save you the surprise of an unplanned litter.
- Save Up for the Future
Invest the money you spend on toys and extra snacks into a fund for possible emergencies, and deposit a fixed amount into it every two weeks. If no emergencies arise, you’ll be all the richer, but if something does come up, money will not stand in the way of getting your pet the care she needs.
- Serve Healthy Food in Moderate Portions
Buy premium-quality food
“Buy a good, premium-quality dog or cat food,” advises Dr. Z. “Don’t go crazy,” he says, but remember that cheaper foods will set you back in the end. They are full of less digestible filler material and artificial colors that offer no nutrients and can contribute to allergies and digestive problems. A high-quality, age-appropriate food results in a healthy coat, more energy and fewer costly trips to the vet.
This includes resisting the urge to spoil your pets with too many treats! “You don’t need to feed your pets as much as people do,” Dr. Z. reminds us. “One of the things we’re confronting is a huge obesity problem. Serving moderate portions not only saves you money on food ―it also reduces the likelihood of obesity.”
- Groom Your Pets at Home
– Save the price of a visit to your groomer with regular brushings. While you’re at it, you’ll reduce the hair around your home and your cats will have fewer hairballs.
– Trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis. It’s not hard to do, and you’ll likely save yourself the cost of new furniture and curtains.
You might feel bad cutting down on gifts for your baby who shows you nothing but love and attention. Just remember, they show you that affection because that is all they want in return. They don;t care how they look as long as they’re warm, fed, healthy and happy.
What is the biggest splurge you have ever made on your dog?