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Saving Money On Pets

Updated on October 30, 2009
Our dog Ralphie.
Our dog Ralphie.

Having a pet is a wonderful experience and I was fortunate growing up that my parents let us all have our own. This equaled rabbits, dogs, birds and more. I read a statistic recently that said 63% of American households had pets. I think this is wonderful, as a pet can bring so much joy to a person. That being said, pets can be pretty expensive. Here are some ways you can save money on while still being a pet owner.

It all starts when you make your choice of pet. Dogs and cats are the most popular, so I will focus this hub on those animals. That being said there are plenty of other options for pets that are still wonderful, especially for children. Hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, ferrets, birds and fish all come to mind. You won't catch a snake in my house, but many people have those as well. Typically the smaller the animal the cheaper it will be.

If you decide on a dog or cat, like most people do, please consider carefully the kind of animal. The larger the animal, the more expensive it will cost in the long run. But initially, consider whether you want a pure bred animal or a mixed breed (otherwise known as a mutt). I have known plenty of people that get their heart set on a particular breed and spend upwards of $1000 just to buy the pet. We have spent many an hour trying to decide the best breed for our family. In the end we decided on either a Labrador retriever (for their personality) or a husky (to handle the cold Ohio winters). So did we run out and buy an expensive dog to satisfy our urge for a pet? Nope. We looked all over the internet, in numerous shelters and on Craigslist where we finally found the perfect dog for our family - a Lab-Husky mix for $25. We didn't spend much money and we got exactly what we wanted in a dog. We started our journey having a pet with very little money spent, which is the best way to save money initially.

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to save money. One of the most expensive things you can do is purchase a new pet on a whim. If you give yourself some time to plan you can find some of what you need used, which will save you a lot of money. The pet food makers really want you to become a loyal customer and offer numerous freebies for new pet owners. Sign up for these ahead of time and try the products out when you get your pet.

I have found that giving your dog or cat a good quality food will be cheaper in the long run, even though it might cost a little more for each bag of food. Speaking of bags of food, dry food is almost always cheaper than canned and usually better for your pet. Keep an eye out for coupons too, because I have gotten many free cans of dog food by using coupons. While we use dry food 99% of the time, I am not going to pass up something free. There are plenty of coupons out there for dry food too. If you have a specific brand your pet eats, check out that companies website, they frequently offer coupons and deals there.

When you get an animal, unless you are specifically interested in breeding it, you will need to get it spayed and neutered. I found a wonderful program that allowed us to neuter our large dog for around $80. Friends of Animals partners with vets local to you for low cost animal control.

There are other things you can do to keep your pet costs down. Think of it like owning a car. Routine maintenance will save you money in the long run. Make sure your pet has the shots they need, when they need them. Don't over feed them, as even an extra pound of two can mean an overweight animal, which leads to expensive medical problems. Be very careful about letting your pet eat human food as some foods are toxic. Make sure they get the proper amount of exercise and provide them with the things they need - food, water, shelter and love. Pets can be a wonderful addition to a family and I am thankful that it doesn't have to break the bank to own one.

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    • profile image

      themostexpensivedog 

      7 years ago

      It is good to actually plan before getting a pet. To know in advance that you can afford it is important for the well being of the pet.

    • profile image

      andrewmcd 

      7 years ago

      great hub, thanks

    • rachel.htpmv profile image

      rachel.htpmv 

      7 years ago

      I agree -- I definitely think that investing in nicer dry pet food is a) better for your pet, and b)helps you save on taking them to the vet. Nutritional food helps build a healthy pet, right? Thanks for this hub!

    • profile image

      NelsonMuntzBB 

      8 years ago

      very nice! keep the good work!

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 

      8 years ago

      Nice little hub.

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