11 Tips for Cutting Pet Costs

Pets provide people of all ages with companionship, responsibility, and purpose. For older individuals who are at risk of becoming lonely and/or depressed, a pet can make all the difference in their emotional and physical well-being. However, the cost of providing adequate care for even one pet can become exorbitant very quickly. This can especially be a barrier to pet ownership for seniors who may already be on a tight budget. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help potential pet owners adopt a furry friend with confidence, or help a current owner lower their fur-babyís costs of care:

General Care

  • Adopt, donít buy. If you are looking to add a pet to your family, adopting from the humane society or a rescue organization is far more affordable than purchasing an animal from a breeder. Not to mention many purebred animals typically have some kind of breed-specific health issues that can mean large veterinarian bills later on. Many shelters and rescue organizations conduct special adoption events during which they offer reduced feesóand youíll be saving a life! (Furthermore, The Pets for the Elderly Foundation is a national charity that helps individuals age 60 and over pay for pet adoption fees in order to encourage companionship through pet ownership.)
  • Form pet-sitting circles. If you tend to travel and are close with neighbors or friends who also have pets, try to establish a pet-sitting group. Each participant will avoid the high costs of boarding or ďpet hotelsĒ in return for looking after someone elseís animals while they are away.
  • Buy used pet supplies. Many humane societies and local charities have thrift stores where you can find secondhand pet bowls, toys, and accessories. Buying these supplies new isnít necessary, and youíll save some dough while contributing to a good cause. Just make sure that your items are clean and in good condition in order to minimize hazards to your pet.
  • Do the grooming yourself. Frequent brushing is vital in order to keep your pet from developing painful and unsightly mats. Cats tend to keep themselves quite clean, but dogs are prone to getting rather smelly from time to time. Some heartier dogs can be bathed outside with a hose and some mild shampoo, while smaller, more fragile breeds can be bathed in the bath tub, or even a large sink. Just be sure to avoid getting water in your petís ears and dry them thoroughly following bath time, since ear infections are a common reason dog owners make trips to the vet. The sooner you condition your pet to be groomed, the easier it will be on the both of you.

Food

  • Donít overfeed your pet! Providing too much food for your animals can be unnecessarily expensive and cause them to become obese. Just as in humans, dogs and cats who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Sharing food with your pets may be a gesture of love, but overdoing it can result in some seriously expensive ailments.
  • Break treats into small pieces. Not only does this reduce your petís additional calorie intake, but it will also save you a nice chunk of change on a pet item that is usually quite pricey.
  • Make your own treats or pet food. It is vital that you do adequate research and/or consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your petís diet. Animalsí dietary requirements are very different from humansí, and some ingredients like onions and raisins can be deadly. However, many wet and dry cat and dog foods contain little proteinóusually of low qualityóand lots of fillers. The cost of most mass-produced pet foods and treats is far too high for the questionable nutritional content it provides. If you enjoy cooking, make your own pumpkin†dog biscuits or hearty ground turkey cat food to save some money, improve your petís diet and eliminate useless fillers that may be contributing to weight issues.
  • Food delivery for Fido. Some communities that provide Meals on Wheels services to homebound individuals may also offer a pet food delivery option as well.

Health Care

  • Low cost pet care. Many shelters offer reduced or free spay/neuter and vaccination programs. In fact, if you adopt, some shelters include these services in their pet adoption fees. Furthermore, some pet stores, such as Petco, offer affordable pet vaccinations, testing, microchipping, and preventative medications. Your community may have additional resources to help you pay for your petís veterinary care as well.
  • Donít buy pet medications at the vet. Veterinarians mark up these medications significantly, and most can be bought at local pharmacies, online retailers, or chain stores such as Costco and Target. Simply ask your vet for a prescription to fill at another outlet rather than purchasing them in the office. There may be a human equivalent of the required medication that can help you save as well. Just have an honest conversation with your veterinarian about your situation and your desire to minimize expenses.
  • Practice preventative care.†The best way to avoid expensive appointments with the vet is to be attentive to your petís health and day-to-day behavior. Allowing a simple issue grow into a serious or chronic condition is not good for your pet or your wallet. For instance, a simple, routine tooth brushing for your dog or cat can save you money on professional teeth cleanings, infected teeth, extractions, and even surgery. (Not to mention their breath will stay fresher longer!)

If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll be able to afford a pet, it’s best to put off this important decision until you can really commit. This is an investment that will (hopefully) last for a number of years, and you’ll want to provide the best care for your furry friend to ensure that they are happy and healthy. Fostering animals from local shelters or volunteering is a great way to†interact with pets and benefit your community at not cost to you.

Related
The Healing Power of Pets for Elderly People
Why a Visiting Pet Program Would Be Perfect for Seniors
How to Pick a Pet for an Older Adult
The Elder Loneliness Epidemic
The Problem of Loneliness with Aging Can Be Managed
Canine Caregivers Change the Lives of Alzheimerís Sufferers
Having a Purpose in Life Protects Your Brain

126 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Danielle I.
Danielle I1 years ago

Thanks for sharing :)

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Very useful !

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Joemar Karvelis
Joemar Karvelis1 years ago

Thanks

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Irene S.
Irene S1 years ago

Not to overfeed your pet is good advice! There are so many fat dogs and cats around.

But skipping the annual vaccination is another good idea to save money and do your pet good. It´s more benefit for the vet and the drug industry, than for your pet. Vaccination every three, five, seven or 15 years is more than enough.

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Caitlin B.
Past Member 2 years ago

thank you

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Tony D.
Anthony D2 years ago

TY

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Dave C.
David C2 years ago

thanks

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Genoveva M G.
Genovevs M M2 years ago

Great article and useful information.
Thanks

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