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How To Manage Your Pet Expenses

Updated on January 8, 2013


Today, pets are considered almost members of our families. We sometimes treat them better or buy more for them than we buy for ourselves.

But does spending a lot of money on our pets mean that we love them more?

I like to think no...I like to think that the love and attention that I shower on my pets is more important than how much money I spend on them.

After all, my dogs are "just" dogs....they don't know the value of anything monetary so why spend so much on them? Wouldn't it be better to give them what they really need? Me?


Don't buy a pedigreed dog. If you're looking for a purebred dog, check shelters, ads and rescue associations for the breed you are looking for. Contact breeders as sometimes they may have an older purebred or one that is not suitable for breeding that they may want to sell you or give to a good home.


Spay and neuter your dog. Dog licenses cost considerably less for a neutered pet.

Purchase a puppy plan. If your vet has a puppy plan, it is well worth the money up front. For a set fee, you get all your puppy's vaccinations, examinations, nail trims and most often neutering all for one set price. This usually includes extra visits. The only thing it will not cover is medication, testing and other procedures.

Use kibble for training or treats. Small bites of their regular food will save you tons of money on expensive dog treats. Plus you are giving them what they should be eating and not giving them foods that will increase their weight.

Do it yourself grooming and hygiene. There are many things that a dog owner can do themselves to save dollars such as brushing your dog's teeth regularly, trimming their nails, brushing them to keep up their coat, or even bathing and trimming. For folks without all the amenities there are many U-wash places to bathe your dogs.

For neutering your dog, consider low-cost neuter and spay clinics. You can save a bundle or if you adopt from a rescue organization or some shelters, the fee is built in, very nominal, and it's already done for you.

Instead of doggie daycare set up regular play dates with dogs and dog owners you know. The socialization is the important thing and having your dog associate with dogs that interact well. It just takes commitment and time.

Buy pet food in bigger quantities and store it appropriately. Buying in larger quantities saves money. Make sure you check what the shelf life is and then store appropriately. Convenient storage bins are available.

Low-cost shot clinics. Especially if you have a large number of dogs, either giving the shots yourself or having someone knowledgeable do it is worth the savings. Otherwise, do low-cost vaccination clinics.

Pet food. Finding the right pet food can save you money in the long run....simply because your pet will be healthier. Scrimping and buying a cheap food will probably end up in higher vet bills for things like allergies.

Pet maintenance. Especially for dogs, making sure he or she is not overweight and that exercise is a daily routine will increase your pet's quality of life, probably help them live longer and will save on vet bills.

Inquire about pet plans or methods of payment at your vet and if not satisfied, inquire about pricing at other vets. Ask about senior discounts or other plans they might have that aren't advertised.

Pet boarding policies. If you kennel your pet, check on pricing policies and exactly which services are covered and which are extra such as giving special food or medicine. Check on their emergency policies because you could be faced with a major vet bill should something happen and you didn't know the routine.

House sitters. Sometimes having someone stay at your house that you know and trust and that your pet knows and trusts can save you money and aggravation. It usually is cheaper as well.

Dog toys and accessories. If you need pet toys or working tools, do your homework and don't spend money on expensive toys or beds. Sometimes the most natural things are the best or homemade things like a ball with a rag rope. Instead of expensive pet beds, buy a less expensive pad and cover it with a washable plush throw.

Rawhide and other delights. Check with your vet on natural things for your pet to exercise his or her jaws and teeth on. Rawhide and other treats of this kind can cost you lots of money down the road if they lodge in your pet's stomach. There are natural alternatives such as meaty real bones. Check with your vet to see what natural chews are recommended.

Consider adoption. There are hundreds of pets in anyone's area just dying (literally) for a home. They will cost you next to nothing and they will be your best friend for life!


Spending a lot of money on your pets doesn't replace love and affection.  Pets only need that from us and proper care to be happy.

Think of saving money on your pets as keeping money in the bank.  I always like to think of it that way.  In case something (god forbid) does happen to my dogs, I feel that the extra money I have to spend on them to get them well is justified. 

Cut the costs where you can and remember that spending less doesn't mean you love them just means you're frugal! 

I also like to think of it as money I can spend another day way in the future on another pet.  It pays to save today and plan for the future.


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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 5 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Awesome information on this hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Thanks TKI - I appreciate it and having several gets to be goofy sometimes on do they really need that or is it just ME?

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      You are so smart to write a hub about our furry friends. Since they are part of our family, you came up with a lot of practical suggestions that we can all learn from. Thanks for sharing. Rated up and awesome.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Simone...I have to be I suppose with all that I keep bringing home! Yikes.

      Darski - I totally agree with for them is the most important thing in the world and mine sure know it!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      My friend, for my cat & dog, which is of course my family I have only bought organic food for them, they will live longer and food is the most important for them then toys or anything except love. I take them to the vet once a year and he is always amazing how heallthy they are. So that is my take on my pets, they do eat better then me, but I need them in my life, they are my children. Love you hub, but this is important to feed them healthy food with NO crap in the & peace always your fan and friend, darski

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, these are some fabulous personal finance pet tips! You're the ultimate expert, akirchner!