The following is a post from contributing writer Karen.
I’ve had pets all my life and can’t imagine them not being a part of our family. There were a few years when we didn’t have any pets because they were older and eventually all passed away.
This past September we were itching to have a furry companion again. The kids had never experienced a puppy since our previous pets were part of our family before the kids came along. Hence our new addition (pictured above) Pepper.
It’s important to be prepared for a new addition to your family. There are costs involved, but I’m determined to minimize those costs and reap the benefits of having a pet with lots of unconditional love.
10 Ways to Save Money on a Family Pet
- Adopt from a shelter and save a life. In my city, there are many shelters that are considered no kill shelters and offer adoption fees at reduced rates. Animals over 3 years old are free, so ask if you have something similar at your shelter. They may also have events where you can name your own adoption fee based on your budget.
- Join Pet Supply reward programs. Many Pet stores have reward programs and you can get coupons, sales and promotions sent to your inbox. Before heading out to the store, clip or print coupons for pet supplies you need. To maximize your savings, try stocking up on items when they are on sale and you have coupons.
- Keep your pet up to date on shots and general veterinarian care. If you skip a visit to save a few dollars, your pet could be susceptible to illness, costing you more in the long run.
- Ask your veterinarian for human prescriptions. Our dog recently had to be put on antibiotics and we got a prescription that is on the Publix free list. Obviously this may not always be available, but it never hurts to ask.
- Research the food you are buying your pet, and ask your veterinarian for recommendations. While expensive foods may drain your budget, cheap food can too. If there are lots of additives in the less expensive brands, it can cause your pet to eat more of it to be full. While medium priced foods can be just as nutritional without sacrificing your pets health. We also discovered our puppy has an allergy to chicken, costing us several veterinary bills in itching side effects, until we figured it out. We are paying for more expensive fish based foods now, but much less in veterinary bills. Check the bulk pricing of foods and buy if it’s cheaper. You can always split with a family member if it’s too much at one time.
- Try to find a low cost veterinarian in your city. Some of the shelters offer low cost services on a walk-in basis, but keep in mind that there maybe a long wait.
- Budget for your pets needs and have an emergency pet fund. You never know when your pet will need medical care and it helps to have a fund already set up for it. Be sure to include any boarding or pet care you might need if your family goes on vacation.
- Shop thrift stores for supplies. Just as you would your family, shop the local thrift stores for pet dishes, cat condos and more.
- Groom your pet as a family. We’ve been washing our new puppy since day one. It’s a good thing to teach the kids how to do. Buy a nail trimming kit and ask your veterinarian to give you a lesson. Clip them yourself in the future (if you are brave enough).
- Do your best to keep your pet healthy. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day. Take them for walks and make exercise a family activity. An overweight pet can experience health problems leading to more veterinary bills.
What money saving tips do you have for your family pet?
Another option for saving money is to foster a pet. The down side is you have to be willing to give the pet to a new home. It can be great to help an animal on the way to a new home. You can often claim expenses as donations and some charities will provide everything for free. You also don’t have to worry about medical bills as the charity would cover them. I have fostered before and love helping the animal get used to people and household noises and then watch it go to a new home. Going and getting a new foster was great. It taught my son about animals in need and caring. We have pets that stay with us as ours so we where never without a pet.