Of course, not all pets are created equally when it comes to expenses. Research shows that dog owners are typically better off with higher-paying jobs, which is why they probably continue to adopt dogs, the most expensive pet to keep today.
How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog?
If you’re not careful with your dog budgeting, from the toys and treats, to the food, dog walkers and sitters, and vet visits, you can be looking at $27,074 to $42,545 over the lifetime of your canine; for cat owners, the cost is between $21,917 and $30,942.
That’s why it’s so important to be cognizant of pet expenses and budget for the future. Without any personal check on your pet wallet, you can end up spending more than it costs for an average wedding today. The true cost to own a pet can deter you from owning another one in the future — and what fun is that? After all, pets make us happier and healthier — we deserve each other!
How to Control Pet Costs
If you’re considering ways in which you can increase your monthly savings while also balancing your pet requirements, you’ll need to establish a pet budget. The good news is, with a little planning, preparation, and DIY persistence, you can lower the cost of owning a dog or cat. Here’s how to cut those costs to the, um … bone:
Tip #1: Make the Toys
Annual dog toy expenditures can exceed $55, and $25 for cats. In a 10- to 20-year time frame, that number can add exceed a thousand dollars if you own multiple pets — so why not make the toys yourself?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be creative or into crafting. For cats, you can simply use some string in your house and a small, soft or stuffed animal that has been ignored or placed into the attic. For dogs, old squishy plastic toys from when kids were around can be thrown across the yard; it’s the same with old footballs and baseballs.
Tip #2: Create a Pet Budget
If you aren’t already doing this, get a journal or calendar and start tracking all of your pet expenditures. Establish a price cap each month that you’ll permit yourself to spend on your pet. If you find yourself exceeding that number, it will help you be more responsible in your purchases.
Tip #3: Pet-Sitting Swaps
Pet sitting can be a seriously expensive problem if you’re traveling, on vacation, or away for the holidays. Instead of paying someone hundreds of dollars to tend to your pet, find a pet sitting buddy in town. This can be a friend, neighbor, or coworker with whom you trade pet sitting services for free. Then create a calendar between the two of you and trade off assisting each another throughout the year so you can avoid the lofty pet-sitting and dog-walking expenses.
Tip #4: Focus Group Studies
Did you know that there are focus groups looking for pet owners to participate in every single day? If you sign up for one of these groups, you can receive free dog food for six months simply by offering up your opinion on a company’s dog food product. There are plenty of local marketing companies that are looking for you right now. Even if you don’t find one with a jackpot of free food, you will receive other news, discounts, and coupons for future expenditures.
Tip #5: Say ‘No’ to Vet Medicine
Veterinarians will often try to get you to buy dog or cat medicine at their office, making it seem more convenient for you. Although getting everything in a “one-stop-shop” kind of setting can seem appealing, you should know that vets mark-up these medications. Instead, ask the vet to write a prescription that you can retrieve at Walgreens, Kroger, and other cost-saving pharmacies.
Managing Your Pet Expenses
It’s important to not let your pet expenses control you. Remember, employing simple tricks like DIY pet toys, pharmacy pet medication refills, group focus studies, coupons, pet sitting and swapping, and a detailed pet budget, will all work wonders in helping you get your pet expenses under control as quickly as possible.
Photo Credit: Brambleberries Photography