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Ways to Save Money When Owning a Pet

So many of us consider our pet a family member. After all, no matter whether you have a cuddly dog or a fun reptile, choosing to add to the household can add to your budget. Here are a few practical tips to help you save when owning a pet:

A dog in a bathtub covered in soap.

  • Keep your pet healthy. Invest in quality food and provide your pet with the recommended amount of exercise. Make sure your pet has all the advised vaccinations and preventative medication.
  • Train your pet yourself. If your pet requires training, do it yourself. There are tons of videos and books available, so spend a bit of time researching training methods. Of course, if you're not confident you can help your pet yourself, it's wise to seek the advice of a professional.
  • Brush your pet's teeth. Tooth and gum decay can cause significant health problems – including heart disease. Take the time to brush your cat or dog's teeth every day to help him stay healthy.
  • Look for a non-profit vet. These are often attached to animal shelters and offer lower costs than other vets.
  • Make sure your pet gets physicals twice a year. This way, your vet will notice right away if there are any signs of ill health, and you can take action sooner.
  • Invest in pet insurance. Vet bills can easily run to $1,000 or more, so it's simply smart to get your pet insured. Some insurance policies cover as much as 90 percent of the vet bills and will pay your vet bills immediately after a visit, while others will reimburse you after you've paid the bill yourself.
  • Shop around for the best prices on medications. You can often find reasonably priced medications and preventative medications online, for example, at GoodRx for Pets.
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered. If you haven't already, do this as soon as possible. Taking care of a couple of newborn pet babies might be fun – but it's also expensive.
  • Groom your pet yourself. Most groomers do an outstanding job, but if you have the time and patience to groom your pet yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money.
  • Get friends or neighbors to help out – and reciprocate. Whether you need a dog walker or cat sitter, instead of hiring a professional, see if you can barter with a neighbor or friend.
  • Invest in toys to keep your pets occupied. Pets who love your company but who stay at home all day while you work can get bored – and that could lead to destructive behavior like your cat ripping up your couch or your dog eating your sneakers. If you provide your pet with the right kinds of toys to keep his mind engaged, it will be better for him – and your wallet.

Last but certainly not least, it's a good idea to set aside some money each month for an emergency fund for your pet. Because the last thing you want is not to be able to take good care of your four-legged friend in his time of need.

Family in the kitchen.

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