According to the ASPCA, the cost of maintaining one medium-sized dog in your household during the first year is more than $1,500. A cat will need just more than $1,000. This is after the initial costs of adoption or purchase, it does not take into account specialized food, and it and only considers the minimal amount of toys and equipment (carriers and holiday presents not included). Multiple animals require, obviously, most cost outlay.
Still, there are ways to reduce those costs while still having happy pets. Here are some common expenses related to pet care, along with ways to reduce the amount you’ll spend.
Medical and Veterinary Services
To save money at the vet, look into bundling services, especially for the first year. Many veterinarians offer wellness packages that combine services to save money. If yours doesn’t, you can ask for separate procedures to be performed at the same time, for example a dental cleaning along with a spay or neutering for a dog. It is easier on your pet, since there will be only one time under anesthesia, and you will save money too!
Another way to save on vet costs is to call ahead before you bring in your pet. Many times, minor problems, such as a digestive issue can be solved over the phone. Be prepared to take your pet in for an office visit for something more serious or if your vet makes the request.
Make Your Own Toys
Skip the expensive toys and make some of your own. Your pet won’t know the difference in the price! Look up ideas on the Internet or try one of the following:
Place treats inside a small box or container and let your pet have some fun.
Make a chew toy for your dog by placing a water bottle in an old sock and then knotting the sock tightly.
Pick up some inexpensive ping pong balls. They bounce crazily and roll well, so cats and dogs will both get a lot of fun out of them for a low-cost. Toss more than one to up the level of fun. Just make sure that if you have a dog, he or she won’t try to swallow the ping pong balls.
Take a small towel and roll up some kibble or small treats. Your dog will have a lot of fun trying to get at them.
Tie a piece of string or yarn to a small object, such as a feather or yarn rolled into a ball. You can tie the other end to a stick or just wave the string around to engage your cat.
Flea and Tick Medications
Preventing fleas and ticks is more cost-effective than trying to remove an existing infestation. Stock up on flea and tick medications in the summer, when they tend to go on sale. Then apply them regularly to keep your pet healthy. Many online stores sell these medications at a discount. You’ll pay the most money if you buy them directly from your vet. Some stores and even some veterinarians will price match against online vendors. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you’ll save on shipping costs.