Savvy savings: Easy ways to save on your pet costs

Pet costs
Rens Hageman
Rens Hageman

Two in five of us have a pet but ownership is considerably more expensive than people think. According to PDSA research, 2.6 million owners said their pet would cost up to £500 over their entire lifetime.

In reality, a cat costs around £17,000, while a dog can set you back £16,000 to £31,000 depending on the breed.

Pedigree or crossbreed

If you’re thinking of buying a pet, choose a rescue animal over a pricey pedigree - crossbreeds often have far fewer health problems to contend with. Plus, if you adopt a dog or cat, the rescue centre will have them spayed/neutered and make sure they’re vaccinated before they come to you.

• Find an animal to rehome from BlueCross, Dogs Trust, or CatChat. If you want to rescue a certain dog breed use DogPages.

Save on vet bills

Vet bills can be extortionate and uninsured owners typically fork out £810 per incident to treat their sick or injured animal says MORE TH>N - which is three times more expensive than an average £261 annual insurance policy.

Vet treatment for sprains, arthritis and hip dysplasia can top £1,200. To reduce pet insurance premiums, owners with more than one animal can opt for a multi-pet policy saving 5-15 per cent compared to separate contracts.

• You can save on medicine costs by being online via VioVet and PetDrugsOnline. To order medication you’ll need a prescription from your veterinary surgeon. Alternatively, ask your vet about over-the-counter options from the chemist.

Protecting your pet

Pet insurance doesn’t usually cover vaccinations and worming and flea treatments but joining a pet health scheme will give you discounted jabs, wellness checks and money-off treatments for a monthly payment, for example ThePetHealthClub charges £12.50 monthly for small dogs and cats and £15.50 for larger dogs, and TheHealthyPetClub from £10.99 per month.

Budget boarding

Boarding fees for a kennel or cattery will push up your holiday budget, so asking a friend or neighbour to help out or forming a pet-sitting club with local pet owner friends could save you money - and be a great way to meet fellow pet lovers, too.

• Register with BorrowMyDoggy for some mutually beneficial doggy day-care!

Food bills

Feeding eats up cash. On average a cat owner spends £48 on food, rising to £54 a month for a dog - more than a quarter of the cost to feed a human, says Protect Your Bubble.

You can save by bulk buying pet food from websites such as Zooplus or Pet-supermarket which offer popular brands for less. The larger the amount, the less it’ll cost you so consider clubbing together with friends to bulk buy.

• Supermarkets regularly run price drops on pet foods. To check out the latest offers visit mySupermarket to find best buys at the leading stores.

Grooming and treats

We lavish £183 on toys and treats and £26 on clothing, bedding and accessories yearly, says American Express. Save on the £177 annual grooming cost by buying pet hair and claw clippers and doing the job yourself while children’s toys in charity shops make a cheap alternative to pricey pet toys.

Sign up to the free PetsAtHome VIP card to save in stores and receive a birthday treat! Make homemade pet-friendly treats using Cesarsway for inspiration. Ultimately, as long as you provide your pet with a healthy diet, fresh water, treatment when needed, exercise and love, you’ll have one happy four-legged friend!

• If you can’t afford to own a pet, share one. Local animal rescue centres need walkers or volunteer to be a guide-dog puppy walker, or offer dog-walking or pet-sitting services.

Paws for thought

1. Dogs aged eight weeks and over must be micro-chipped, so the animal’s owner can be traced. Chip-less owners face a £500 fine.

2. If you own a West Highland White called Ellie you’re likely to be seeing the vet as it’s the most accident-prone pet!

3. Check you’re covered for accidental damage on your home insurance. A tortoise knocked over a heat lamp causing a fire and £6,000 damage bill. The tortoise was ok.

4. Three in five of owners say their pet has improved their health and wealth, with pets saving a person £322 annually in healthcare costs, says Purina.

5. Dog lovers are fit typically walking 351 hours a year, covering 1,092 miles, says Butcher’s Pet Care.

(Article source: Yours)

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