How to Save Money on Your Pets


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
I think it’s safe to say we furparents love to go all-out on our pets. We can scrimp on ourselves, but when it comes to our beloved cats and dogs, the sky is the limit. While I can appreciate our desire to spoil our pets, it’s actually better to save on our pets. I know it’s easier said than done, but look at it this way: you need to save on your pets not because you’re cheap; you need to save to be able to have funds for emergencies. And I think being prepared is one of the best ways to express your love for your pet.

Here’s my list of top methods for saving on pet-related expenses.

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Buy Food in Bulk

A lot of money-saving methods for people’s groceries apply to pet supplies, as well. Case in point: buying in bulk. When you buy pet food in bulk, you can save a lot of money. Pet food – whether the dry or canned variety – tends to keep pretty well, which is why buying in bulk is ideal.

Of course, this requires a larger initial financial outlay, and you need to find space for the large stash of food. But the long-term savings will be more than worth it. Having a large stash of food is also super-convenient. I have a cat with a pretty prodigious appetite. Being able to get food in the pantry has saved me time, gas, and parking money.

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Consider Package Weight, Not Just Price

Just because a specific brand of supplies is cheaper, that doesn’t mean it’s the most economical option. Often, a cheaper package will also have fewer contents. You can get a can of food or bottle of pet shampoo for a higher price, but if you’re getting considerably more than the cheaper option, this is the way to go. So balance how much product you’re getting for the price you’re paying and go for the one that gives you more bang for your buck.

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Buy Medicine from Regular Drugstores

If your vet prescribed meds to your cat or dog, check if they prescribed people medicine. If so, you can save more money if you buy the medicine from a regular drugstore. People medicine that is branded for pets is usually sold at a steep markup. So get the “regular” version instead.
Medicine for people is usually cheaper because they sell in larger quantities. But of course, you need to make sure that the medicine you’re buying from the drugstore is appropriate for your pet. Always consult your vet before making any health- or medicine-related decisions concerning your pets.

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Reuse Old Socks or Slippers as Toys

If you have a happy, bitey dog (which pretty much describes all dogs, as far as I’m concerned!) chances are they’ve chomped their way through dozens of chew toys. And just like pet medicine, pet toys can be really pricey – which is a bit of a waste, considering the fact that they just get chewed and drooled on. And that’s why it’s a great idea to repurpose old slippers and socks as chew toys for your pooch. I also think these are better for your pets because they carry your scent. This could help form a stronger bond between you and your pooch. Or maybe they would just enjoy biting something that smells like you!

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Buy Bones and Meat By-Products from the Butcher

If you’ve been looking for a cheap alternative to commercial pet foods, you can buy meat by-products directly from your friendly neighborhood butcher. You’ll have to spend a bit more time on food prep, but you will have more control over the ingredients that go into your pet’s food. Plus, it’s way cheaper. This is one of the best ways to save money on dog food.

Also, bones are super-cheap if you buy them from the butcher. I would get a big cow leg bone, boil it, and give it to my Labrador retriever for her to munch on. Chomping on a big bone is good for a dog’s dental health, plus it gives them an outlet for their destructive habits. Plus, it’s 100% natural, which is always a good thing.

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Use Generic Feeding Dishes

Unpopular opinion: a lot of feeding dishes or bowls for pets look pretty tacky. There are nice, classy options, but those tend to cost a lot of money. Since this article trying to give you tips on how to save money on your pets, expensive is not the way to go.

Instead, buy generic dishes and bowls from the home section of your favorite department store. These bowls are usually pretty durable, look classy, and, most important of all, are really affordable. All my dogs and cats now eat from saucers purchased from my nearby Walmart.

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Bathe Your Pet Yourself

I love my pets. I love spending time with them, and I love doing all sorts of things with them. Hardly an hour goes by that I don’t interact with them in some way. Except for bathing them. I really hate bathing my dogs, since I end up needing a bath myself.

So my first instinct is to take my dogs (and cat!) to the groomer to be bathed. That is until I added up my yearly costs, which were pretty considerable. So I had to suck it up and bathe my dogs myself. To be honest, I would still rather take them to the groomer, but I gotta be thrifty. On the brighter side of things, bathing my dogs myself has amounted to some pretty big savings… which I can use to spoil my furbabies even more!

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Trim Your Pet’s Nails Yourself

Nail trimming is one of the most overpriced services of my local groomer. A quick nail-clipping, which only takes a minute or two, can cost up to $10! So I decided to buy my own nail clipper and do the job myself. There’s a bit of a learning curve with this. Like people’s nails, you shouldn’t cut the nail all the way at the bottom. Plus, some cats and dogs hate having their nails trimmed. If they’re that type, you’ll have to work on your skills a bit more.

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