We all know how easy it is to love our pets. For some people, pets are just as important as raising a child! And while they may not be as costly as raising children, pets can and do cost a lot of money over the years. According to the ASPCA, a large-sized dog can cost its owner about $2,000 a year to care for, including food, grooming, and vet visits. Pets can quickly deplete your bank account if you aren’t careful during their lifetime.
So what can you do when you have a pet but are trying to stick to a budget? Read on for some helpful tips that will keep your beloved animal happy and healthy while keeping your bank account as full as possible.
1. Pet Insurance
When your pet is young and healthy, you may not give much thought to vet visits and prescriptions. However, it is important to take your pet to a trusted veterinarian at least once a year to keep up with their health and any preventative medications they may need. Using pet insurance is not as difficult as human health insurance. For example, you can usually get veterinarian care from anyone you choose when you have pet insurance. And although you should get pet insurance as soon as you buy or adopt your pet, you can still get it at any age without the worry of pre-existing conditions.
Pet insurance can cover a multitude of issues, from basic check-ups to prescriptions to major surgery. Most insurance companies reimburse their members up to 80% or more of the costs after the deductible is paid. You can typically choose how to pay for the insurance plan in whichever way is easiest for your budget – monthly, semi-annually, or annually. If your pet needs any major surgery or care, you won’t have to deplete your savings to get it for them.
2. Do-It-Yourself Tips
Taking your dog or cat to the groomers regularly can be costly. While you may not have every dog grooming skill down pat, you can learn the basics of pet grooming in order to save some money here and there. All you need to do is invest in quality grooming tools as soon as possible. This includes nail trimmers, brushes, combs, dog shampoos and conditioners, and wipes. Then, check out these DIY tips that you can learn on your own:
Nail trimming- Many animals, such as dogs, cats, and guinea pigs, have to have their nails clipped regularly. A quality pet nail clipper can do the job of a groomer for basically no cost aside from the initial purchase. Cut at the tip of the nail right before the curve, avoiding the “quick” – the pink part of the animal’s nail that will start to bleed if accidentally nicked.
Fur brushing- You should brush your pet’s fur every day to get rid of any dirt or matted fur. Daily brushing will also help you catch any issues before they get worse, such as fleas or ticks. If you catch them early, you will be able to get rid of them on your own in most cases, avoiding a costly vet bill.
Bathing- Most animals need help when it comes to bathing. As a general rule of thumb, dogs should be bathed once a month, unless they get overly dirty. Avoid over-bathing your dog as it can cause dry skin. Every dog needs to have a certain amount of oil in its skin in order to maintain a healthy coat. While you don’t need to bathe a cat, you can invest in some wet wipes to clean off the areas that they can’t reach, especially around their eyes.
Don’t worry if you have never done any of the above before. There are plenty of tutorials online, especially on YouTube, which can show you exactly what to do for your animal. Even social media channels, such as Facebook and TikTok, dedicate pages to these practices. You’ll learn all that you need to know!
3. Preventative Care
Preventative care measures are one of the best ideas when you need to budget for your pet. Even with pet insurance, waiting for something to happen to your pet can cost you plenty of money, time, and heartache. Instead, make sure your pet has all of their vaccinations and is given any preventative medicines they may need. This includes flea and tick medication and heartworm medication. Always take your pet to the vet for regular check-ups, at least once a year. Another preventative measure is to brush your dog or cat’s teeth every day. Why? Animals can develop tooth problems just like us! Broken or rotting teeth will lead to high dental bills; plus, they may increase their risk for issues like kidney and heart disease.
4. Feed Your Pet the Right Food
No matter what you do, you obviously can’t skimp on pet food! However, you could end up spending way too much money if you are splurging on expensive food that isn’t necessary. While you shouldn’t go for the least expensive pet food, you don’t have to fall for the claims of a high-priced dog or cat food that your pet doesn’t need. Talk with your vet to find a brand of food that will satisfy your pet and your budget. Make sure you know how much food your pet, especially a dog, should have per day. Too many pet owners overfeed their dogs on cheap food that has tons of filler. A more expensive brand that is more nutritious is a better idea. You won’t have to give them as much, and your bank account won’t go in the red over pet food. Plus, you won’t be contributing to your pet’s possible obesity if they get too much food and not enough exercise.