Owning a pet brings plenty of benefits, from boosting your mood to providing constant, uncomplicated companionship. But there’s a downside: pet ownership can be costly. In fact, according to ASPCA, owning a dog can cost as much as $2,000 per year. Your pet’s food, litter, toys, treats, medical care, and other supplies can really add up. But if you love your four-legged friend like a family member, it’s all worth it. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to save money on pet supplies so you can enjoy your animal companion for less.
Buy direct from the manufacturer
Pet stores bring some great conveniences, but you pay for them in the form of hefty markups. A great way to avoid this is to buy your pet’s treats, toys, and food directly from the manufacturer. For example, if you’re a fan of bully sticks for dogs, you can buy them online and stock up, so you’re never tempted to buy them at the grocery or pet store for a higher price. Depending on your preferred brand, you may also be able to buy your pet’s food straight from the source.
Buy longer-lasting treats
Got a heavy chewer or a pup who’s only happy with a bone? Make sure you’re providing them with long-lasting dog bones that you can stretch out over time. Some of the safest and longest-lasting dog chews include antlers and bully sticks. These are all single-ingredient chews that are easy for your dog to digest, making them safer than rawhides. Additionally, these kinds of chews are often great at helping to scrape away plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, which can mean fresher breath and better all-around health. Who wouldn’t want that?
Get pet health insurance
Depending on the age, breed, and health of your pet, as well as a few other factors, buying pet insurance could end up being a good way to save money on medical supplies and medications down the road. Pet insurance works just like your own health insurance or your car insurance. You pay a flat rate each month and then are only responsible for a deductible in the event of an emergency. However, pet insurance plans can be deceptive, and they don’t always cover every scenario, so be sure to look into this in-depth before signing up for a plan.
Subscribe and save
Many of your favorite stores now offer subscribe and save options that let you sign up for recurring shipments for a discounted price. This is a great way to shave off a percentage of your recurring costs, such as food, treats, medications, and supplements. Plus, if you’re the kind of pet owner who always forgets to order your pet’s supplies before they run out, a subscription option will keep you well-stocked.
Focus on prevention
Ultimately, you will spend less on things like surgeries, medications, and therapy on your pet if you frontload the healthcare with preventative options. For example, making sure to brush your pet’s teeth regularly (or providing them with chews that help scrape away the plaque buildup) can help prevent more serious dental costs down the road. Additionally, ensuring that they eat a proper diet and get enough exercise can help prevent diabetes and other costly issues later on in life. Make sure to supply your pets with preventative supplements, such as glucosamine, to support their bones and joints as well.
Of all the things we think about buying secondhand, pet supplies rarely come to mind. Surprisingly though, you can find all kinds of pre-loved pet gear at your local thrift stores and online marketplaces. Whether it be a new collar for your kitty or a pre-owned crate to help train a brand-new puppy, there’s nothing wrong with sourcing goods secondhand to save some money. Check secondhand stores, online marketplaces, estate sales, and yard sales to find essentials for your pets.
Look for coupons
Always make sure to check for coupons before checking out. If you like to shop online, we recommend installing a coupon plugin, such as Honey or RetailMeNot, that scours the web for you before finalizing your purchase. Not only do these handy little tools help you save cash by finding valuable coupons, but they also help you rack up cashback that you can use later. This is an effortless way to save on pet supplies. Make sure to check for local sales and store coupons as well.
In the same vein, make sure you inquire with your pet store or supplier about price matching. If you see a better price elsewhere, your retailer of choice may be willing to match it for you, so you know you’re getting the lowest possible price.
If you’re willing to let your cat or dog be a Guinea pig, so to speak, you may be able to get some free food, treats, and supplies in exchange. Manufacturers are always looking for pet owners to help them test and promote their latest offerings, so consider signing your pet up to be a tester. Look around online for websites that will automatically send you samples in exchange for filling out a survey or writing a review. Many manufacturers hand out samples in stores, too.
Buy medications online
Many people don’t realize that you can shop around for the best prices on medications for you and your pet, just like any other consumer good. Rather than buying your pet’s meds through the vet — where the markups are likely to be high — price them out at various online pharmacies and go with the one offering the lowest price.
Need help? Look for low-cost clinics
Pets can be expensive, but not having enough money should not preclude you from owning one. Love, care, and community resources can help you in the event of an emergency. If you need help caring for your pet or are struggling to provide it with basic care, consider reaching out to low-cost clinics, animal welfare organizations, and shelters in your area.