6 Sane Ways to Lower Your Pet Bills

Man with dog
Anna Tronova / Shutterstock.com

Yes, your pet is just like family. But you don’t need to waste money caring for your furry friend.

This year, owners will spend an estimated $72.13 billion on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association. Don’t go crazy adding extra cash to that total. Instead, consider these ideas to keep your pet and your budget happy.

1. Look for low-priced vet care

Veterinarian checking small dog.
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

There are a host of no-cost and low-cost animal medical care providers. They offer inexpensive vaccinations, spaying, neutering and more.

Contact rescue or other animal-welfare groups, including the one where you adopted your pet. You can get a rundown of animal welfare groups in your area at Petfinder.com. The ASPCA also has a list of low-cost spay and neuter programs for which your pet may qualify.

The Humane Society has a list of charities that provide needy pet owners with financial assistance for the medical care of pets. Click on your state to find a charity near you.

2. Consider pet insurance

Vitalinka / Shutterstock.com

As we’ve previously reported, the cost of pet health insurance depends on many variables, including your pet’s species and breed, where you live and your pet’s age.

To give you an idea, the average accident and illness premium for dogs was $535 annually in 2017, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. For cats, it was $335.

Such insurance can make sense if your pet is a member of a breed that has a history of high-cost medical needs. Pet surgeries and medical treatments are so prevalent now that pet health insurance providers are routinely entering the marketplace. That has made it easier for pet owners to personalize insurance and find cost-effective plans.

3. Don’t forget to coupon

Woman with cat
Anton27 / Shutterstock.com

Some major coupon sites that often have pet food and supplies include Coupons.com, The Krazy Coupon Lady and Living Rich With Coupons.

Check online pet food suppliers, too, including Chewy and EntirelyPets. They often offer major discounts on prescription food and other in-demand products.

If you are signed up for cash-back sites — such as Ebates, Mr. Rebates or Swagbucks — you can save even more on your online pet supply purchases in the form of a cash-back check. If you’re not signed up for one or all of these sites, you are missing out on a painless way to save money online. Check them out.

Also read: “8 Tips for Slashing Your Pet Food Bill.”

4. Consider boarding alternatives

Pet hotel
PongMoji / Shutterstock.com

Rather than pay to board your dog or cat when you go out of town, consider taking your pet with you on trips. PetsWelcome and Pets Can Stay are sites that will help you find animal-friendly accommodations. Also, check with your vet to find a low-cost, in-home pet-sitter. Or, arrange to swap pet-sitting duties with friends who also need their pets cared for when they’re away from home.

5. Create low-cost toys

Tabby cat curled up in a scarf on a chair.
Konstantin Aksenov / Shutterstock.com

Retailers sell a variety of pet toys at a high cost, but it’s just as easy to devise low-cost alternatives. You can make a cat scratching post by wrapping sisal rope around a post, says VetStreet. A twisted towel can make a great toy for tug-of-war with a dog, the site notes. Just make sure you avoid toys that could prove toxic or result in choking. Talk to your vet or those at local animal shelters for other ideas.

6. Prioritize prevention

Young woman holding bulldog.
Branislav Nenin / Shutterstock.com

As with humans, pets are less likely to need expensive medical attention if they have good health habits. Get the recommended immunizations for your pets, stick with recommended dog and cat foods, keep cats indoors and make sure dogs get the exercise they need. Also, be aware of the common hazards your species and breed face. Check out “10 Pet Dangers You Don’t Know About.” Read up on the type of critter you have and get tips from animal-safety advocates like the Center for Pet Safety and American Humane.

What expenses have you run into with your pet? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon

They say you get what you pay for — but not always. Sometimes, you can uncover a good deal at a great price.

Never Buy These 12 Things at a Thrift Store
Never Buy These 12 Things at a Thrift Store

Sometimes a great deal is not worth it — or, even worse, is dangerous.

7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon
7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon

Use these websites and other tools to save money — or earn extra cash — when shopping at Amazon.

How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes
How to Fix 6 Common Retirement Mistakes

Here’s how to strengthen your nest egg before or even during your golden years so these missteps don’t ruin your retirement.

What Is Umbrella Insurance, and Do I Need It?
What Is Umbrella Insurance, and Do I Need It?

Umbrella insurance picks up where car and homeowners insurance leaves off. Do you need it? Here’s how to know.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.