5 Ways to Save Money on Pets

Trudy Jane, my youngest, enjoying a new toy--that was given to us, by the way!
Trudy Jane, my youngest, enjoying a new toy--that was given to us, by the way! | Source

How to Save Money on Pets

If you’re a pet lover, you know that having a pet is a necessary part of your financial planning, as the happiness they bring to you is worth the expense. However, having several, and taking care of them properly, can be expensive.

I’ve found five ways that can save a significant amount of money.


Save money on pet food

1) Food – I don’t skimp too much here, as my pets’ health and longevity is of the utmost importance to me. There are times I have added a cheaper food that my dog likes to his more expensive food that he may not like as well in order to get the picky little thing to eat. So, my expensive food lasts longer.

One thing I’ve discovered recently is to USE COUPONS! I’m not talking about $1.00 off or even $3.00 off. I have started buying cat and dog food coupons (also cat litter) on eBay. I can get expensive brands for half the price—or less—by buying two coupons for the price of one. So far, my biggest savings has been around $28, as I was able to get a particular bag for free.

You can also make your own treats. Microwave a cheap package of hotdogs until well-done. Cut into bite-sized pieces for your dog. These will keep in the fridge for several weeks. Or keep them in the freezer to last even longer. Take the unwanted skin off chicken and fry it up. You can do the same when trimming fat from pork or beef. These morsels make great treats!

Save Money on Pet Toys

2) Toys – Trade dog and cat toys with your friends. I used to get caught up in buying expensive toys that I thought my pets would just love, but my animals are pretty set on what they like. My dog likes to interact with me with any toy that squeaks. My cats like interactive toys, too, or plain gray mice, or—just like toddlers—boxes! So, trading with friends can help you both try different toys without wasting money. And your pets get variety!


My darling Gizmo with a nice haircut!
My darling Gizmo with a nice haircut! | Source

Save on Pet Grooming

3) Grooming – If you have animals that don’t require trimming, you’re in luck. However, if you’re like me, I have to take my little fur-ball to the groomer every three to four months. Even this isn’t bad, as I know others who go every six weeks!

I waited too long to start my dog on shaving at home. By the time I attempted this, he was too scared of the sound, and I don’t want to be the bad guy. Let someone else be. But I did invest in a good pair of blunted yet sharp scissors for about ten bucks.So what happened?

I trim as much as I can on the body between professional groomings, trying to cut out some of the matted areas. I also cut around the eyes and trim the face. My dog knows to be perfectly still when the scissors are around his eyes. If I am vigilant on trimming between groomings, I can sometimes limit our visits to twice per year.


Save on Boarding Your Pet

4) Boarding – This is another area where you can trade off with friends. If your friends like dogs, get him or her used to them and their house. Cats are happier in their own homes, so finding someone who would check on them, feed and water them, and pet them a bit would be ideal. I have a friend who is a cat lover and has helped me out with this for years. For your friends who have children, consider trading out babysitting for pet-sitting. What parents wouldn’t love to have a night out without the kids?

Save on Vet Visits

5) Vet Visits– I have friends who give their own vaccinations, and, while I can’t bring myself to do that, I do stagger how many of my brood of seven that I take to the vet at once. Also, I don’t always go back to the vet after exactly a year. I’ll generally stretch out a few more months. Some research seems to indicate that vaccinations are good for longer than a year, anyway. I am concerned for my pets’ health, too, so I don’t know if yearly vaccinations are what they need. In my mind, the jury is still out on this one. That’s something you’ll have to decide for your own little family.

You don’t have to buy flea and tick medications at the vet’s office, either. Try drugstore.com, going through ebates.com first for extra discounts. EBay is another option, and, surprisingly, Amazon.com is very competitive. Who knew?


A young Setzer--should have toilet-trained back then! She looks ready!
A young Setzer--should have toilet-trained back then! She looks ready! | Source

More Ways to Save on Your Pets

Now, if you would toilet train your cats, you could really save a lot of money on litter. There are books on that, but I’m a bit wary of that chore. Maybe one day I’ll attempt it and write a hub about it.


More by this Author


Comments 45 comments

KMattox profile image

KMattox 5 years ago from USA

Victoria Lynn,

I am a proud pet owner too. Fortunately for me I don't have to groom much, but like you I save where I can and I don't skimp on necessities. Thanks for the Ebay tip for coupons. I'll start researching that. If you have suggestions how and what to look for I would certainly be interested. Thanks Again I voted up and useful.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yeah, I just thought of ebaying for coupons one day, and now I can hardly buy cat or dog food or cat litter without a coupon! Seems like a waste to do so. Start by typing in what brand you would like to look for, plus "dog (or cat) food coupon." I've looked for different brands--some with no luck. I am still researching the best foods but am not sure of what is. I mean, sometimes I can't afford to eat the best food, either. I can always find Iams coupons for cats. I consider that a pretty good food, but not the best. I've been looking for Nutro Natural coupons but not much luck. I have been able to find some Blue coupons for my dog, who has skin problems, so I try to find specialty dog foods. I figure that even if you bid the full price of ONE bag of food, and you get two FREE coupons, you are saving 20 to 30 bucks! Do you have dogs or cats? If cats, I find Fresh Step to be the best litter, and I can find coupons to help with that. That's a start. Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting!


pbsandwichofdoom profile image

pbsandwichofdoom 5 years ago

Great ideas here, Victoria Lynn. I especially like the pet sitting idea. When I was little, we had a sheltie, and she hated staying at kennels while we were away. So, if you can save money while making your pets happier, why not? Voted up, interesting, and useful!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thank you pbsandwich! I took my dog to board him two different weekends, I think. It felt like leaving a child at daycare for the first time. I cried the first time, actually. I felt awful because I knew he was a momma's boy and he wasn't crazy about hanging out with other dogs, except for the ones he knows personally. so, I couldn't do it anymore. I knew he couldn't be happy there. I have had friends keep him (that he feels comfortable with) at their houses and will return the favor with their dogs, or had someone housesit, or take him with me when possible. Thanks for the positive feedback!


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

I take my cat with me whenever possible. Boarding is so expensive and pets hate it. Great ideas here.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, truthfornow! I would take my cats if I didn't have six! haha. But I do arrange for a familiar face to come check on them and spend some time with them whie I'm gone. Thanks for reading and commenting.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for the good ideas. There are two dogs and three cats in my family. I love them all dearly, but it does get expensive looking after them! Voted useful and interesting.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I agree! I love mine, too, but I'm always brainstorming, looking for ways to save without sacrificing the quality of care they receive. The best thing for me lately has been saving on food with the coupons. That has made a big difference. Thanks for the comment!


danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

Good tips! You can also make a lot of doggie toys (you can even reuse the squeaky thing) or just repair old ones. And I so wish my cats could master the "toilet using" trick. Time and money saved!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks! I never thought of reusing the squeaky part--great idea! I may actually try the toilet training on my cats one day. It would take a lot of patience and time, though! Thanks for the comment, danielleantosz.


gardenexplorer 5 years ago

Your're right on with the cost cutting tips. We've been doing the extended vaccination times as well. We babysit our grandogs on a regular basis so we have no hesitation in dropping off one or more of our pack with the kids. We leave the cat at home and another of our kids with the grandkids come by the house on a daily basis to tend to it's loving. The only thing I haven't done is the coupons for pet food. We had an Australian Shepard that was allergic to corn and that greatly limited the choice of dog food. I also get my heartworm and flea meds on line from Canada and save a bundle.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, garden explorer! Great comments. I don't know what my dog is allergic to, but his skin is very sensitive. I, too, try to avoid at least corn and wheat. Where do you order your heartworm and flea meds from Canada, if you don't mind my asking? Is there a website? Thanks so much!


gardenexplorer profile image

gardenexplorer 5 years ago

I get the Advantage Multi made by Bayer, www.petcarechoice.com It's called Advocate outside the US. It portects against Heartworm, Fleas, Louse, Hookworm, Whipworm, Roundworm and a bunch of other stuff I have no idea what they are. We've been using it for over 20 years on a variety of dogs from Jack Russle Terries to Old English Sheepdogs. We've never had a worm or flea problem with the dogs. The cats were another matter.

I originally got the Advantage Multi (Advocate) from a supplier in Australia before it was even sold here in the states. I think I'm getting it for about half the price that my vet sells it for.

Another thing I do and will get some criticism for is getting it in a weight size larger that covers the combined weight of all the dogs and sharing one tube on all three dogs. It's not recommended but I've been doing that for the last 5 or 6 years and it's working ok. My vet is not happy with the technique but says the dogs are doing fine and to just be careful to give each dog enough since to much is acceptable but not enouth diminishes protection. The largest size package is not much more that the smallest size in cost so it amounts to quite a savings.

We've been feeding our dogs Costco Chicken and Rice and have really been happy with it. The ingredients are chicken primary, with chicken meal and whole grain brown rice next. It doesn't have any corn or wheat. The ingredients are equal to or better than any of the super premium foods on the market and it's $25 for a 40lb bag.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

We don't have a Costco nearby, but I think reading ingredients on any brand is key. Thanks for the information. I have such a problem with my dog with fleas. Not so much with my cats. I'll look for the Advantage Multi. I appreciate your taking the time to give all that information. We sure love our pets, don't we?


gardenexplorer profile image

gardenexplorer 5 years ago

The only thing Advantage Multi doesn't cover is ticks. Fortunately we're in an area that doesn't have a tick problem. We're on a pond with a flock of geese and ducks that love to eat the little critters. Other than picking up a tick when we go hiking, the dogs controlling them is a non-issue.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I don't have many ticks where I live. Maybe just treating the yard would take care of that. Fleas are the bigger issue, and it seems that products that treat both fleas and ticks aren't as effective on fleas. Maybe that's just me. Sounds like you live in a nice place. thanks again.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Victoria, these are GREAT tips! Just great! I do my own medicating for both the cats and dogs..shots, sub-Q fluids when needed, pills, etc...also clip nails and do trimming of fur....I don't draw blood..not qualified for that. Also, order flea meds. online..but I did not know about Amazon and, since I'm a "one click" buyer..that's a great "411" ! We always get home pet sitters/checkers/visitors when we are both away; it's the only way we can do it as we actually have an animal sanctuary so..boarding them would be way too expensive! LO!! Love the toy exchange! Great idea! I NEVER thought of going to eBay to buy coupons...specially a great deal of 2 for 1 ! These are wonderful ideas. thank you . ALL UPS!!!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

thanks, Lucky Cats! I wish I had your bravery of giving the shots! Maybe I need to ask someone to teach me! But the onine stuff is great, and the eBay thing was a real find for me! And if we trade toys, will we ever have to really buy more? Maybe some special ones at Christmas! haha Thanks--love talking to you!


pinaythoughts profile image

pinaythoughts 5 years ago from Philippines

this is great to know. I will learn more about coupons as I still don't get the concept, maybe because, it isn't used that much yet in my country.

I will look forward to your hub about toilet training, hopefully, you'll make one for dogs too as I have two dogs now. :) God bless!!!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Pinay...no coupons in your country? Interesting. Hey, if I EVER do toilet train my cats, I will definitely write about it! haha. thanks for reading!


melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

Keeping the cat litter box super clean, in my cat's case, is a great way to save money (even though it costs more in litter.) He has urinary problems (he had a perineal urethrostomy... have a hub on that) and it costs a ton when he gets sick. Not to mention that I worry a ton when he's sick. Keeping his litter box super duper clean does a lot in preventing a UTI.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I don't have any new hubs ready yet tonight, so I thought I'd recycle this one. I thought of this today when I handed over numerous coupons today to buy cat supplies. By buying a coupon for $15 for an almost $30 bag of cat food, I save about 15 bucks. Plus, I was sent a lot of other coupons by the seller for 50 plus cents off cat treats, with one of them for a free bag of treats. PLUS, I had two coupons for free cat litter (the best brand, in my opinion) that I got cheaply and used today. After discovering that I could find coupons that saved significantly, now I can't go to the pet store to buy cat or dog food (or cat litter) without a coupon! I have to get one before I can go!


Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

You have cute kids, Victoria Lynn. My husband and I like to travel, but instead of leaving our boys at the kennel, we do arrange for friends and family to check in on them. The last time I picked my two dogs from the kennel, I really did wonder if the staff exercised them at all. My older dog suffered from kennel cough for weeks. Never again. I feel much better that I have my boys in their home while we're gone. The people who look after them either stay in our home or spend a lot of time with our dogs each day. I don't have kids, but I do have the furry kind. They are so precious to us. It doesn't hurt to make arrangements other than a kennel stay.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I don't have human kids either, Arlene. I had had cats for so long that I had figured it out when I left them--I had friends who could come by. The cats could go almost 2 days if they had to. I'm usually not gone for more than an overnight stay, anyway, so they're fine. The first time I took my dog , though, to be boarded, I cried like a mom leaving her infant at day care for the first time. He cried, too. He's such a momma's boy, and, although I've socialized him, he never wanted to hang out with a bunch of strange dogs. I boarded him maybe twice and that was the end. After that, I would ask people to come by or pay to housesit. I've even talked my parents to let him stay in the basement. They're old school, so no to in the house! Thanks for your comments, ARlene!!!!!!!!!!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Great tips-and he is so adorable, reminds me of a peek-a-poo I had a few years back. I only have a cat now and she is almost 17!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Which one, Jackie? the dog? Yeah, he's adorable! A wonderful shitzu, pekingnese, terrier mix. Plus, the wonderful 6 cats! I have one I adopted that was abandoned after the old lady next door died 2 years ago. He's probably about 18 now, and I adore him. I'll take care of him 'til he dies. I love my animals. Thanks for stopping by and reading!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Hi Victoria...I had to re visit this hub because I like it so much. and your heart!!! Plus, I also don't have human kids..just the furry kind...and they are my life. Beautiful story about your 18 year old. We adopeted Basil...actually, it began as a foster but, ended up being permanent...he was 20 at the time and it's been 2 years to the month...sadly, over this weekend, we had to let Mr. Basil cross over...he had a tumor in his cheek; inoperable according to our very trusted and beloved Veterinarian...so we let him leave this life..for the next...makes me think of CATS...a different "jellicle life." Love your hubs and the personal side of these stories, Victoria!!! Kathy


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Hi, Kathy--YOU are the one with heart. I love reading about your stories of saving those precious dogs and cats. Yes, the "jellicle life!" Love that. I wonder how long my old Prince Albert will hang on. He seems content enough...the sweet old soul. He has one eye that looks like a cataract, but the vet thinks it's from head trauma. He looks pretty worn out, but he gets around okay. Sorry about your Basil. I bet you made his last 2 years great. I hope you keep doing what you're doing. I hope one day I can do more, as well. Our furry kids need us, and maybe those of us without human kids are the ones who must be there for them. Great to hear from you, Lucky Cats (Kathy!)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

So I went to the pet store last night and came out with a 20 lb. bag of Iams, plus two 12.5 oz cans of Wellness cat food--all for about $3.50. Why? Because I had found the coupon for a free bag of Iams on the internet (actually, two coupons for less than one 20 lb price), and sometimes people will send extra coupons to use, as in the case of the canned cat food. I can't purchase pet food anymore without taking advantage of coupons! I'm spending less with 6 cats and a dog than I did with half that many cats, I'm sure! Love to save money!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

That's great Victoria Lynn to get all that for 3.50. I may have to take lessons from You!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

You should, homestead...! Saves a lot of money. I won't let myself buy cat food and litter, or dog food now without coupons. :-)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

More very good ideas for saving money on pets. I have been doing my own grooming on Clancey (shih ztu) for years. He prefers me to the groomers. And I am very protective of my little guy. Rated up and thanks.

vocalcoach~


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

vocalcoach--I wish I had started grooming my Gizmo as a puppy. I waited too long and now he growls at me, so I let the professionals be the bad guys. I'll start early if I ever have another dog that needs to be groomed. That saves a lot of money. Thanks for hopping over here to read this hub!


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Hi Victoria Lynn since you do not have to board your family and are not subject to rules about vaccines your pets might not even need, you are safe to vaccinate a lot less. See my hub on the issue. I cant use many of your suggestions where I live but I am glad to see others thinking about the issues!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

DrMark--I have always wondered about how often pets REALLY need to be vaccinated. I want to do what is best and safest for them. I do want to read your hub. Thanks for the information!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

I need to check out those pet coupons...I do try to get them good food...but yes...coupons are good! Lovely suggestions and here's to our fur-kids! ;)


Tom Schumacher profile image

Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

As an avid pet lover I can honestly say using coupons, making homemade treats, and asking friends to pet sit are excellent ways to save money. I only wish there were as creative ways to save on vet bills ; ).


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 3 years ago from Central Florida

Great article. I am slowly looking into being a pet owner again and these tips are handy. Thumbs up and shared.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I never knew you could buy pet food coupons on eBay! That is good to know. I groom my Miniature Schnauzer most of the time with scissors. About twice a year I have her done by a groomer. It took a lot of courage on my part of trim her nails, but I do that now, too. BTW: Your little doggie is SO cute!

Voted UP and shared, and Pinned to my Pets board.


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 3 years ago

This is very useful. It is true that you need to really have a budget if you have a pet. Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas.

Voted up and more. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

CC-- I hear ya! Go fur-kids! The coupons do help when you can find the ones you want!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I hear ya, Tom! There's not much we can do about those vet bills, huh? :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Angelo--I hope you get the perfect pet soon! Enjoy!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

mary--Yes, the coupons are hit and miss as far as value. I hit the jackpot when I got 10 or 20 ? bags of 20 lbs Iams for $68! I haven't seen that since! Thanks for the compliment for Gizmo. He IS a doll, isn't he? :-) Thanks for the votes, share, and pin!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

ignugent17--Brilliant? Wow, thanks! I love your comments! Thanks. :-)

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