A woman who saves money on dog care.

Making Your Pet Affordable

If you are a pet lover, you will probably always have a pet. Even after the loss of a dear friend, we tell ourselves we are done but it is never true. If pets are a permanent part of your life, you know that they can be quite expensive. Let’s take a look at some ways to make them easier on a budget. It is not as hard as you think.

Ways To Save On Pets

Believe it or not, there are a lot of ways to save on your pet. Like everything else savings wise, it all comes down to the little things. A lot of little savings can add up to big savings in the end.

Choose The Right Animal

First, you need to choose the right animal for your lifestyle and your budget. Lifestyle wise, if you are not very active, a small dog or even a cat might be just the thing. Small dogs require less exercise and cats generally just lounge around the house.

If a dog is your thing, choose wisely. Pure breeds are nice but often have more issues than a mixed breed or mutt dog. In addition, pure breeds can be very expensive, costing thousands of dollars. Sure, you can look into puppy financing even with bad credit, but that is just another expense on your monthly budget.

It is best not to start your pet journey in debt, so try to pick an animal that you can afford right away. If possible, consider adopting a pet from your local shelter.

In addition to the type of animal and breed, size makes a big difference in how much your pet will cost. The larger the dog, the more they will eat. That is obvious, but the real cost to a larger animal is vet care. Everything will be more expensive with a large dog. Spaying and neutering and many other surgeries often go up as the weight does. In addition, if they need medication, they will need more of it because of the size.

Keep Up With Vet Care

It is easy to get behind on regular vet visits. We live busy lives and our animals look healthy. The problem is that they can not tell us when they feel bad. Your pet is always happy to see you and they usually tough through the pain. By the time that they start showing symptoms of illness, it could be too late. Treatment becomes less effective and much more expensive. What would have been cured by a simple prescription could easily turn into 1600 dollars for a treatment.

Make sure that you take your pet for an annual exam and to be looked at any time you suspect something might be wrong. Many vets are offering membership packages these days that come with discounts on services and even free office visits. Take advantage.

Save On Toys And Food

Just as you can save money on your own food and entertainment, you can do the same for your pet. Shop for toys when they go on clearance. This is often after the holidays. Your dog does not care if they are playing with a candy cane squeaker in March, so stock up now.

As for pet food, make sure that you buy quality food and not the discount kibble. Cheap food lacks nutrition and the savings will bite you in the end. Shop for good food and be sure to choose the right one. A good mid level food is usually sufficient. Avoid the expensive gimmicks and trends like “grain free”. Unless your dog is having a problem, they do not need it. Dogs are omnivores and can process grain just fine. It is cats who can not, they require a meat based diet only which most quality cat food is.

Where you buy your food makes a difference as well. Shop around to all of the local pet stores and see who sells your food at the best price. Also check out online services like Chewy and be sure to join store savings clubs.

Finally, be sure to meter your animals food intake. Free feeding is usually a mistake and will result in overweight pets and wasted food. Measure out a food serving based on the recommended feeding size on the bag and then adjust the serving up or down with your pets weight.

Exercise Your Pet

If you do not have the time to exercise your pet, you bought the wrong breed or type of pet.

Cats need very little exercise, they tend to exercise themselves. Although, it never hurts to exercise them a bit. An occasional run around the room chasing a laser pointer will do the trick.

Dogs require some activity. Even if you have a backyard, a daily walk will keep them trim and in shape. Heart disease is a big issue with dogs, especially the bigger breeds, so keep them in shape. Walking has other benefits as well. It keeps your dog socialized and walking on concrete will keep those nails in check, saving you money on trimmings.

Save For Emergencies

Last but not least, you need to save for those little financial emergencies. In all likelihood, you will have at lest one major vet bill over the life of your pet, so be prepared for it.

Dedicate a small amount of money say 30 dollars a month to a dedicated pet health fund. Use it for routine examinations and the occasional major expense.

Even better, consider pet insurance. It might seem like a waste of money and that is partly true. After all, insurers would not offer it if they could not profit from it. The question that you have to answer is if a major expense happened, say for 1500 dollars or more, would you be able to come out of pocket for it. If not, insurance should be a consideration.

Wrapping Up

Once a pet lover, always a pet lover. That does not mean that you have to break your budget to pay for your fur baby though. Like every other part of your budget, there will be ways to save. Take the time to consider your options and keep some more money in your pocket….or investment fund.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.