By Blake Herzog
We’re finding that most everything costs more these days, putting the pinch on our household budgets. The choices are tough, and we want to spare everyone as much pain as possible while deciding where to scale back spending.
Of course, this includes our furry and four-legged family members, whose unconditional love gives us the feeling they would do absolutely anything for their people.
But we don’t want them to have to sacrifice anything important to them or their quality of life, and there are many ways to reduce our spending on pet care and products without depriving them of what they truly need or want:
Take advantage of loyalty clubs/cards
National pet supply chains and some local stores offer loyalty clubs and cards to keep customers returning. Make sure you’re using these discounts to the furthest of your ability, and if there’s a paid tier, do the math to see whether you might come out ahead.
Store pet food properly
Your cat or dog may (and should) turn up their nose at stale kibble or wet food that’s been out for too long, so it’s important to not pour too much into the dish at one time and keep the rest stored in an airtight container or under other optimal conditions. This is particularly important if your pet eats a costlier prescription diet.
GIY (Groom It Yourself)
If your pets compete in pet shows this may not be a great idea. Otherwise, consider buying a good brush and comb, scissors, nail clippers and a bottle of shampoo.
A monthly bath and trim should be sufficient for most pets. You can take them in to see a pro if they get into a bigger mess, though you may want to take them in occasionally anyway so they are more comfortable in that environment.
Have fun with toys
One way to resist the temptation of buying all the shiny, adorable new pet toys you see in the store is to start fashioning some homemade ones for your crew. They can be as simple as tossing out an empty paper towel roll or a bit more complex, like rope or tug toys or recycling squeakers from destroyed playthings in old socks, stuffed animals or other objects that can be redeployed this way.
If you aim a little higher with your DIY ambitions, you could build cat condos, pet stairs and dog/cat houses.
Think carefully about pet insurance
A fast-growing number of pet parents are purchasing it, but it’s a better investment in some cases than others. Of course we have no way of knowing if or when a terrible accident or illness will befall our beloved animals, and the equation can include the peace of mind the insurance gives you.
Premiums rise dramatically with a pet’s age so it may be a better idea for a younger pet than one who is older or has preexisting conditions that won’t be covered.