How to Save on Your Pet:
Buy food over the internet at websites such as petco.com or amazon.com.
Sign up for discount programs at your local pet store. Many pet stores offer discounts with an accumulation of purchases. They either have it recorded at the store or you will receive an e-mail discount coupon.
Evaluate the cost of treats you give your pet. The cost of baby carrots, rice cakes, or apples from your local super market may be lower than purchasing ‘dog’ biscuits or treats. (*Always consult your veterinarian about any change in your pet’s dietary routine.)
Consider the amount of food that you are giving your pet at each meal and how many treats you give them during the day. We tend to over feed our pets. Consult your veterinarian on how much food your pet actually requires. If you are over feeding your pet, portion reduction will save on your pet food budget, and help to maintain the overall health of your pet.
It is essential that your pet has an annual exam, and while the visits can be expensive below are helpful tips on how to reduce costs.
When scheduling the annual appointment ask about the cost of the vet visit. In New York City the cost is around $90.00 per pet to see the vet. Since I am aware of this cost before the visit, I am able to add it my budget, and then evaluate how much I have to spend on possible tests and procedures.
After the vet examines your pet, she will tell you about the types of vaccinations, tests, and procedures that your pet needs. Before any procedure is conducted ask about the costs. The vet will be able to give you an estimate. Always ask for the high end and low end of that estimate. If your budget is tight, ask the vet if the procedure is mandatory, such as the rabies vaccination, or if the procedure is precautionary. Make sure the vet tells you the pros and cons of each procedure.
If your pet is on medication, ask your vet if you could purchase the medication on line. Depending on the medication, on line purchases will substantially reduce the cost. On line ordering is very easy. Your vet will give you the name of the medication and the dosage which you will need to place the order. After submitting your order the website contacts the veterinarian’s office for approval. After approval, the medication is sent to you through the mail.
Try to keep your pet healthy throughout the year by following a healthy diet, daily exercise, and hygiene, such as brushing their teeth, wiping their paws and genitals after their walks.
Boarding your pet at a kennel can be expensive depending on where you live. Below are some tips to think about and hopefully reduce the overall costs.
First determine if your pet needs to stay at a kennel. Is there someone you can hire to either stay at your house or care for your pet while you are away? This option may be cheaper than a kennel, and also reduce the stress your pet may endure by being away from their home and out of their environment.o In large cities there are dog walking and pet sitting agencies.o In suburban areas, employing trusted high school or college kids to ‘pet’ sit is a great option. When I was working my way through college, my friend’s parents employed me to stay at their house and ‘pet’ sit their 2 small dogs. This was great for me, as I earned extra money, and had a quiet, lovely house to live in for a week. (*Just like hiring a babysitter for your children, please make sure that you get references and trust the person you are employing.) Please read my article Boarding Your Dog & Info Sheet for a guideline on what information to provide for your pet sitter.
If you are boarding your pet at a kennel, speak to the owner about daily rates, other unexpected costs, and if they have a discount program. If you frequently board your pet, ask if they give a “Valued Customer” or membership discount.
Some boarding facilities provide food and treats for their ‘pet guests’. If your pet is on a specific diet and you provide the food, ask if you can receive a discount since your pet will not eat the food at the boarding facility.
If you are boarding more than one pet, ask if they offer a discount for boarding multiple pets.
While discounts and cost reduction are important, it is also important to make sure that you tip the staff taking care of your pet. While this cost will add to your overall budget, I believe that when you tip well, employees feel valued, and may speak highly of you to their boss. When I board my 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, I always tip the staff well. I usually board them once a year, and when I call to make arrangements I am always greeted with enthusiasm and professionalism, not to mention the fact that I am always given a great discount.