Saving Money On Pet Costs

Welcome to the saving money on pet costs page. On this page you will find an article describing five ways as a pet owner where you can save money on pet costs. In today's time of trying to stretch every dollar, saving money anywhere in the family budget should help. Below are some great ideas on how you can save money on your pet.

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Pictured: Picture of a dog and cat next to each other

Saving Money on Pet Costs

How much is that dog or cat you see in the window? Figure about $3,000 to $14,000 over the 15-year lifetime of your pet. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $48 billion dollars on pet products and services in 2010, as reported in Consumer Reports August, 2011 issue. What most pet owners are looking for are ways to save money on pet costs. This article will provide you with some tips on how you can save money on your pet.

Don't Pay a Premium for Premium Pet Food

Food is the biggest ongoing cost of owning a pet cat or dog which accounts for $20 billion dollars annually. The average family spends about $36 a month on food for dogs and $20 a month for cats. Most of this spending is on the so called premium and super premium varieties. Be aware that "premium" has no legal definition in terms of nutritional quality. Any food that you see on the supermarket shelf that's labeled "complete & balanced," and "total nutrition," or "100% nutritious" should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This indicates that it's adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets.

When comparing pet food prices you need to compare price per pound for all food being purchased either online or in pet or supermarket stores. Remember, when switching food you need to do it over a period of two weeks to give your pet time to adjust to the new food. If you should decide on making a change with his food.

Consider New Options For Flea & Tick Protection

When you choose a flea treatment for your pet, keep in mind the importance of killing not just adult fleas but also the eggs or larvae so says Mike Merchant, PhD., a professor and entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Service at Dallas.

Insecticides containing S-methoprene, for example cause fleas to lay sterile eggs and disrupt the larval flea's ability to develop properly, and S-methoprene is found in Frontline Plus, FiproGuard Plus and PetArmor Plus.

Advantage II, a leading brand with different ingredients, is also effective. This can be purchased for about $52 for a four-month supply. Be careful of inexpensive brands as they are not as effective and might require you to spray or treat your pet more often.

Comparison Shop for Your Pet's Veterinary Care

Most pet owners speak well of the vets, but also are critical of the vets' efforts to keep costs down. In most cases, veterinary care is usually done in an emergency. This makes it difficult for pet owners to know what a fair price for the services that vets provide. The best time to make comparison shopping is when your pet needs a routine checkup and not when it's sick or suffered an injury.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Call two or three nearby vets and ask what their physical exam fee is. Normally the range is from $35 to $46 per examination.
  • Ask for the range of fees for a fracture, spading, neutering, shots and emergencies.
  • if you have an emergency and it's not life threating, ask the emergency vet whether your pet can be treated the next day by its regular vet. Be sure to get a written diagnosis and cost estimate of the treatment plan and use it for comparison shopping.
  • If surgery is suggested, ask if it must be immediately or can it wait. Call three or four others and get estimates. Select the one that has the least expensive surgery quote.
If your pet should face a major health problem, ask your vet these questions before making any decisions:
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What's the prognosis for recovery?
  • What are the immediate and long term costs of each?
  • What will the pet's post-treatment quality of life be like?

Do Not Automatically Get Pet Medications From Your Vet

If your pet is taking a medication that's also prescribed to humans, as is often the case, you might be able to have the prescription filled inexpensively at a chain drugstore, supermarket pharmacy, or big retailer. Walgreen's, for example, allows customers to enroll their pets as family members in its Prescription Savings Club, Giant/Eagle, Kroger, and Target also have discount programs that are open to pets.

Drugstore discount programs usually offer generic medications for as little as $4 for 30 doses or $9 to $16 for 90 doses. When using this option be sure to ask the pharmacist whether you need to split the pills or do anything else to achieve the right dosage for your pet.

Be aware when purchasing medications from your vet that there are markups over wholesale by as much as 100% plus a $5 to $15 dispensing fee according to the American Animal Hospital Association's latest Veterinary Fee Reference. Some medicines, the markups are even higher when compared with retail prices. In emergencies you might not have a choice. In the times you don't, try to find cheaper prices for the medications whenever possible. Go to my cat & dog medical store now to see medications that are affordable!

Take Steps Now To Prevent Costly Problems

Taking preventive steps in the care for your pet now can save you costly dollars later. Here are some suggestions:

  • Brush your pet's teeth regularly. Tooth plaque build-up can lead to periodontal disease in pets, which in turn, can cause kidney and lung disease.
  • Spraying reduces mammary tumors in female animals.
  • Neutering might reduce aggression as well as some diseases in males.
  • Keep your pets leashed and fenced in for their protection from other animals and neighbors.
  • Keep shots current, but do not over-vaccinate.
  • Puppy socialization classes and obedience training is also helpful.
  • Do not over feed your pet. Obesity rates in cats and dogs are mirroring those of humans. this can cause arthritis and diabetes and create higher prescription bills.


The above are just a few suggestions for helping you to start saving money on pet costs. Each pet is unique and requires different care. However, you can save some money by following some of the suggestions mentioned.

I did not mention medical insurance for your pet. My recommendation is to have a separate pet emergency fund for this purpose. The reason being is that most pet insurance is more expensive and you will not get your money back (premiums paid) over the life of the policy. If you do decide to purchase a medical policy, read carefully all the provisions and under what circumstances will the policy reimburse you for out of pocket expenses before you commit.

Here are some additional links to my cats and dogs website, where you will find articles, food, dog wheelchairs, beds, and pet supply stores for cats and dogs.