How much could that doggie (or kitty) in the window cost? Anywhere from $580 to $875 per year just for the basics, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
That’s in addition to “capital costs” such as purchase or adoption fees, spaying/neutering, collar, leash, crate, carrier bag, training and microchip implantation.
Obviously, the estimates are merely that. Prices vary by region, and vet bills may be low for a while, then rise as your furry friend gets older. You may already own some of the equipment (e.g., your former cat’s carrier), or choose to borrow dog-training books from the library instead of attending formal classes.
Too, different owners have different habits: Some lavish their dogs with toys and treats and keep them in doggy day care, while others crate-train their pooches and throw sticks during daily walks. A doting cat owner might buy a new catnip mouse every week, whereas others will never buy a single toy.
Even the most frugal pet owner is going to have to spend some money. The question is whether you’re using that money wisely. The following tactics will help you stretch available funds to provide the best life you can afford for your animal companion.
Get it online
1. Forget brick-and-mortar. Sites such as Wag.com, PetSmart and Petco regularly run sales, hand out coupons and offer free shipping for food, medication and supplies. And yes, free shipping may apply even toward heavy stuff, such as giant sacks of kibble or large boxes of kitty litter.
2. Snag rebates. Access those online merchants through a cash-back shopping site, and you’ll get rebates of up to 15 percent.
3. Go generic. Kendal Perez, who blogs at Hassle-Free Savings, always buys generic heartworm meds online for her two dogs. Recently she was about to reorder with a $5 coupon when her husband found a much better price through a different merchant. “It pays to shop around,” she says. Use a price comparison website such as PriceGrabber.com or FatWallet.com to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
4. Subscribe to save. You can set up a recurring order for products you use regularly, such as food or litter. This may mean a product discount (Amazon.com gives one), but at the very least it saves you time, gasoline and the premium you’ll pay if you find you’re out of cat food some Sunday evening.