We all love our pets, and we all understand that there is a significant investment in keeping them healthy and with us for a long time. However, are you aware that there are a number of ways you can save money on your pet's care? The savings can be quite significant and can make a real difference in your journey towards saving up your home loan down payment.
How To Save Money On Your Pet
- Neutering/Spaying: Find out if the local shelters offer free neutering and spaying. Many local shelters and animal hospitals offer this service free of charge or at discounted rates for residents. This can be a significant savings for you.
- Annual Vaccines: Cats need to have annual rabies as well as distemper shots and dogs need to have annual rabies shots. Check out your local animal shelters and find out when they are holding clinics. Often these clinics will do rabies shots free of charge or at significant discounts.
- Grooming: Check to see if you have students in a local agricultural school, 4-H clubs or other organizations that might be offering "pet washes" as a means of fund-raising. This can often greatly reduce your grooming charges! Most of us wash our pets far too often, greatly increasing the chance that our pet's skin becomes dry. Check with your veterinarian as you'll find out that most dogs shouldn't be washed more than every few months.
- Heartworm Medications: Dogs require heartworm medications on a monthly basis and is best taken year round for full protection. Talk to your veterinarian and find out the most cost effective method. You may save money if you purchase larger quantities of medications than smaller quantities as generally they cost less in bulk.
- Flea and Tick Medications: It's important that you investigate all of the methods of flea and tick medications for your dog or your cat. There are collars, drops, baths and a variety of other options that you can purchase to prevent flea and tick infestations for your pets. Check to see what the most cost effective option is. For cat owners, often collars can get caught on brush, bushes and plants and can create issues. Be sure the option you select is best for your pet. Once you decide on an option check with your veterinarian for the name of the manufacturers of the products and check their websites for coupons, rebates and if you don't see them email their customer service departments and ask for coupons!
- Dental Care: You can easily care for your pets teeth using a simple baking soda solution and a child's toothbrush. No need for expensive teeth cleanings.
- Worm Treatment: You can de-worm your dog at home saving you more than a hundred dollars a year in de-worming treatments. For additional information you can visit ASPCA website.
These types of savings can add up very quickly. To see how much you're saving on pet costs, contact your veterinarian and find out the regular costs. Once you do that set aside a "pet jar" jar and deposit all of your savings into it on a regular basis. Count it up annually and find out how much you've really saved. Your savings can go towards purchasing that much desired new home, new vacation home or anything else you're saving for. (You may also want to check out our article on saving money in jars.)
Regular Checkup Savings
Do you have a school in your area that offers veterinarian training? Many times these schools offer clinics that can provide you with quality health care for your pets! In addition, 4-H clubs, animal shelters and even your own vet may offer specials on your pets care. Contact the local Humane Society and find out when they are having clinics as well as often vets from all over your area will band together and volunteer their services once a month to provide regular checkups. You can take advantage of these services by making a donation to the Humane Society (usually in pre-set amounts depending on the services). Look into pet insurance and find out if it is cost effective for you.
Saving Money on Food
All of us want our pets to stay healthy and normally health starts with their diet. Don't purchase "generic" dog food for your dog. In the long run this costs you more money than it saves you. Your best bet is to find a high quality dog or cat food and feed according to the package directions. The higher the quality of the food you buy the more digestible it is and this will result in your pet eating less. Always buy pet food in bulk when possible as it will cost you less per pound than buying in smaller packages.
Training of Dogs
It's easy to save money on training your dog. You can simply do this at home on your own. There are many great books available that discuss how to best train your pet and if you do it yourself you'll have a well behaved dog at a savings of upwards of a couple of hundred dollars!
Walking/Exercise of your Dog
All of our animals need a good amount of exercise and fresh air. If you are in a neighborhood where a number of pet lovers live, you can "swap off" walking and exercise of your dog. If you check with all the neighbors who have dogs, you can each volunteer to take a number of dogs for a walk each day. This way everyone has a turn to walk the dogs, get their exercise and the added benefit is that the dogs socialize better as well.
Check towns around you for a dog park. Most of these dog parks offer free admission simply registering your dog (certifying they have no aggressive tendencies) and you can use the park anytime you want. This is a great opportunity for your dog to play with other dogs, get much needed exercise and save you money by not having to depend on doggie day care for socialization skills.
We all love our pets, they can be costly but with a few common sense things we can do much to minimize our expenses and still keep our pets happy and healthy for many years. Just by some preplanning and early thoughts you can save hundreds of dollars a year caring for your pet and make a significant dent in your mortgage down payment fund.
This article is written by guest author Doreen Martel exclusively for Save For House.