This past September we were itching to have a furry companion again. The kids had never experienced a puppy since our previous pets were part of our family before the kids came along. Hence our new addition (pictured above) Pepper.
It’s important to be prepared for a new addition to your family. There are costs involved, but I’m determined to minimize those costs and reap the benefits of having a pet with lots of unconditional love. Even when they chew up your shrubs!
10 Ways to Save Money on a Family Pet
- Join Pet Supply reward programs. Many Pet stores have reward programs and you can get coupons, sales and promotions sent to your inbox. Before heading out to the store, clip or print coupons for pet supplies you need. To maximize your savings, try stocking up on items when they are on sale and you have coupons.
- Keep your pet up to date on shots and general veterinarian care. If you skip a visit to save a few dollars, your pet could be susceptible to illness, costing you more in the long run.
- Try to find a low cost veterinarian in your city. Some of the shelters offer low cost services on a walk-in basis, but keep in mind that there maybe a long wait. The Jacksonville Humane Society Animal Hospital offers reduced fees for services. If you know what services or vaccinations you need for your pet, call around for pricing. You can also search the Human Society Registry for low cost spay/neuter facilities in your zip code area. If you are an elementary school teacher or staff member in Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. John’s county, visit St. Francis Animal Hospital to pick up a FREE Teacher’s Pet Passport coupon book. (must show proof)
- Ask your veterinarian for human prescriptions. Our dog recently had to be put on antibiotics and we got a prescription that is on the Publix free list. Obviously this may not always be available, but it never hurts to ask.
- Adopt from a shelter and save a life. In my city, there are many shelters that are considered no kill shelters and offer adoption fees at reduced rates. Animals over 3 years old are free, so ask if you have something similar at your shelter. They may also have events where you can name your own adoption fee based on your budget. Recently they had an even for military and first responders to adopt for free, or wear your Pawjamas, and adopt for free. Pepper (photo above) was adopted from The Jacksonville Humane Society in September of 2012. She just turned 1 in July (Photo on right). We couldn’t imagine our lives without her.
- Research the food you are buying your pet, and ask your veterinarian for recommendations. While expensive foods may drain your budget, cheap food can too. If there are lots of additives in the less expensive brands, it can cause your pet to eat more of it to be full. While medium priced foods can be just as nutritional without sacrificing your pets health. We also discovered our puppy has an allergy to chicken, costing us several veterinary bills in itching side effects, until we figured it out. We are paying for more expensive fish based foods now, but much less in veterinary bills. Check the bulk pricing of foods and buy if it’s cheaper. You can always split with a family member if it’s too much at one time.
- Budget for your pets need and have an emergency pet fund. You never know when your pet will need medical care and it helps to have a fund already set up for it. Be sure to include any boarding or pet care you might need if your family goes on vacation.
- Shop thrift stores for supplies. Just as you would your family, shop the local thrift stores for pet dishes, cat condos and more.
- Groom your pet as a family. We’ve been washing our new puppy since day one. It’s a good thing to teach the kids how to do. Buy a nail trimming kit and ask your veterinarian to give you a lesson. Clip them yourself in the future (if you are brave enough).
- Do your best to keep your pet healthy. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day. Take them for walks and make exercise a family activity. An overweight pet can experience health problems leading to more veterinary bills.
- Trade servies while on Vacation. Someone has to take care of your pet while you’re on vacation. Whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit or the family fishes. If you have a family or neighbors with pets, discuss trading services and helping each other out when either of you go out of town. Be sure your pet ‘likes’ the neighbor first, or it could be a problem.
- Get your pet microchipped. Most adoption facilities require all pets to be microchipped before being adopted. The cost is usually added into the adoption fee. We simply had to register the microchip when we adopted pepper. If your pet goes missing, it’s a good way for a pet to find it’s way back to you. And avoid any family heartbreak.
- Pet Insurance. If you are the type of person who will do anything for your pet, including spending thousands of dollars for treatments, you may want to look into Pet Insurance. I recommend speaking to your local veteranarian for their advice and options.
If you do not have pets, consider helping out a family member or neighbor when you get pet freebies with your coupons. I also highly recommend donating items to your local Animal Shelter.
What money saving tips do you have for your family pet?