5 Tips to Nip Away Your Pet Expenses


PetsHaving a pet is a fine balance: We love our pooches, but we know that pet hair isn’t a fashion accessory. They burrow in our purses, poke out of our car windows and try to lick our face masks away. We’ve compiled the best insider tips to help you scratch away at your pet’s expenses—you and Junior won’t remember how you coexisted without us!

Look for Veterinary Colleges

Money isn’t a reason not to bring your pet in for regular checkups, but vet visits are expensive. Do a quick Google search or refer to this list to see if there are any veterinary colleges in your area. If so, they are probably looking for new patients and likely offered reduced rates. Don’t worry about putting Mr. Fuzzy in the hands of students—they are supervised and accredited for treating animals!

Go to the Vet Regularly!

We know that this may be hard for some money-savers to stomach, but going in for regular “tuneups and oil changes” is the first line of financial defense of your pet care bills. Failure to diagnose early will translate to much more expensive treatment bills in the future. For example, canine cataract surgery can easily cost $2,000 to $3,000, and a kidney transplant can cost $7,000 or more. Treating heartworm in a dog can cost over $700, whereas heartworm prevention ranges from about $5 to $15 per month.

Consider Pet Insurance

Pet coverage can cost $2,000 to $6,000 over the course of your pet’s life, and odds are that you probably won’t wind up paying that much for any particular treatment. All the same, if you’re one of those people who would do absolutely anything for your pet, then pet insurance might make sense. Treatments once reserved for humans, like radiation therapy, are now available for pets, but they can set you back more than $7,000.

Buy Bulk Pet Food

It’s not Buster’s fault that he’s gotta eat. As with most things, pet food is far less expensive if you buy it in a big bag rather than in smaller packets. If you’re having trouble finishing the huge bag by yourself, go in on it with pet-owning friends and neighbors. One 4.4-pound bag of AvoDerm Natural dog food costs $10 on sale at PetCo, which comes out to $2.72 per pound. At that rate, a 28-pound bag should cost $63. Instead, the giant bag offers you almost half off, at only $34!

Save on Accessories

Note, we don’t say buy fewer accessories—just consider buying them more economically. The dollar store often sells the same basic toys that premium pet stores sell for $7. Crazy that a simple store choice can save you 700%!

More than anything, maintaining your pet’s health will be the easiest solution in the long run—both for you and for your beloved Speedo.

  • Jennifer

    I would think twice about buying pet toys at the Dollar Store. Who knows if they meet standard safety requirements. Maybe just buy toys that you know are good quality on clearance at the pet store.

    • The LearnVest Staff

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for your comment. While dollar stores are supposed to uphold safety standards, we understand that buying pet toys from such a store might be outside of the comfort zone of some of our readers. Thanks for weighing in!

      • DeclutterDefineDesign

        The next best place to buy inexpensive items for your furry friend is Wal*mart.

  • Robin

    Other places to find great deals on dog toys/accessories are discount stores like Ross or Marshalls. I’ve found many items that the pet stores carry there, but at a fraction of the cost.

  • Melissa Chambers

    I buy bulk replacement squeakers on Amazon and a bag of cotton fiber-fill at Walmart and restuff and add new squeakers to the toys my dog destroys.  The squeakers come out to about 25 cents a piece and much less for the new stuffing per toy.  When he tears up a toy I put it in the closet and fix it a few weeks later.  When he gets it back it is like a whole new toy to him!  He really doesn’t need that many toys at one time so I can keep a rotation of toys going and he doesn’t get bored with them.