Sunday, March 18, 2012

10 Ways to Save on Cost of Pet Care

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) recently announced that pet owners spent over $50 billion in 2011, a 5.3% increase over the previous year. As a proud pet parent, Kendall Perez is familiar with the rising cost of pet care.

Perez is the owner of two Labrador-Australian Shepherd mixes and founder of In addition to frequent exercise and annual vet check-ups, Perez recommends the following ways to save hundreds of dollars per year on pet care.
  1. Create an Emergency Fund: According to, there are at least nine reasons to create an emergency fund - including emergency pet care. Having an emergency fund can help offset the cost of emergency procedures without creating a financial hardship.
  2. Don't Skimp on Food: Food is most likely your highest pet expense next to vet care, but don't opt for low price over quality. By purchasing healthy food, you may ultimately save yourself costly vet bills in the future. 
  3. Purchase Pet Insurance: If you are the kind of pet parent who will spare no expense on veterinary care, consider purchasing pet insurance. The number of carriers has increased significantly in recent years, and most offer varying levels of coverage. 
  4. Take Advantage of Clinics: Many animal shelters, animal control facilities, and veterinary practices offer free clinics during the year. These clinics are an ideal time to schedule annual check-ups and update vaccinations. 
  5. Research Your Options: When facing a major vet bill, you may assume your only option is to put it on your credit card. However, other options may be available including financial aid through your state or breed-specific organizations.
  6. Buy Discount: If you shop in discount retailers like TJMaxx or Ross, check their pet care aisle for deals. You may be able to find non-food items such as pet beds, bowls, and toys for much less than pet store prices.
  7. Be Loyal: PetCo and PetSmart both have customer loyalty programs that offer discounts or cash back. You will also receive notification of upcoming sales so you can stock up on your favorite brands.
  8. Order Medications Online: Most people know that medications purchased from the vet come with a hefty price tag. Unless it's an emergency, request the prescription information and shop online. You may also be able to decrease cost buying the generic alternative.
  9. Fix For Less: Spaying or neutering your pet is a necessity, especially to avoid the cost of caring for an accidental litter. But the cost of the surgery may be $200 or more at your local vet. Check the ASPCA listing of Low Cost Spay/Neuter Programs to find a provider in your area.
  10. Do It Yourself: There are several pet care services you can administer at home to save money - bathing, brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming to name a few. Your vet can show you the proper way to provide at-home care, which means less cost for you and more quality time with your pet.   


  1. These are great suggestions, Vicki! When times get tough, every little bit helps and using these tips could save pet owners significant dollars.