We all know that, in humans, prevention is the best medicine. Well, it’s not much different in our pets. A little bit of prevention may seem to be more expensive, but in the long run is the most frugal thing to do.
Obviously there is no guarantee in life, but what can when do when our pet is young & healthy to avoid problems later on?
Feed your pet quality food. Yes, you can buy pet food for as little as $.50 per pound, but do you want to do that long term? Feeding low quality food is ok in a financial emergency, but shouldn’t be done long term. Cheap pet food is typically high in grain and byproducts, and sometimes is made in countries that have questionable ingredients and processing techniques. If the cost of pet food is keeping you buying the cheap stuff, perhaps you can research making your own, it really isn’t difficult. For more information check out this link and this one.
Visit the vet often. I recommend going to a private pet practice. These days private vets are often cheaper than the chain store vets simply because they have to compete to keep their business open. A private vet will be able to devote more time to getting to know you and your pet. Be sure to select a vet who knows about your breed of pet as some are more prone to certain conditions than others. Our vet charges $40 for an annual check-up and will see two animals in one appointment, which is less than my human doctor charges.
I can also tell you from experience that if your pet ever needs surgery, or another expensive treatment, your private vet is much more likely to give you a price you can afford. When our beloved Sheba (a lab/pit bull mix) needed to have a tumor removed we took her to a chain vet and got a quote of $1300. We took her to a private vet, who is now our regular vet, and she charged only $400 for the same surgery.
Save on monthly medication by purchasing in bulk. If you’ve ever experienced a flea infestation you know how much work, and how expensive it can be, to clean up the problem. Monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention are standard care for pets these days. Don’t be tempted to skip these because of the expense. We purchase these medications in bulk online, either from eBay, Amazon or Wag.com. While the upfront cost is higher, the per-month cost is significantly less. Amazon is also the cheapest source I’ve found for dog crates, if you’re in the market for one.
Finally, I cannot stress how important exercise is for your pet. Keeping your pet’s body and mind occupied is a great way to keep them from destroying your house while you build your bond.
Oh, and spay & neuter your pets! This is the most frugal pet parenting advice there is! The procedure can be done at a very low cost, or even for free, at your local SPCA or Humane Society.
Happy pet parenting!
Other articles in this series:
Adopt Your Pet