5 Ways to Spend Less on Fido and Fluffy
Fido and Fluffy have become common members of most households. Rarely do you find a home that doesn't have a cat or dog, and in many households, pet owners treat their pet as if it were their son or daughter. Maybe it's the companionship, or maybe it's the unconditional love a pet provides, but life is often much fuller when you have an animal living under your roof.
While having a pet may make your life fuller, sometimes it won't make you monetarily richer. Everyone knows that pets can be expensive. With veterinary bills to pay, grooming, toys, food, training, treats, and other expenses, having a pet can drain your bank account quickly. So how can you pamper your pets without breaking the bank? Can you save money on your pet without switching them to cheaper food or eliminating the purchase of toys they love so much? The answer is YES!
Here are five simple ways to save money on pet expenses.
Adopt from a Shelter
If you are thinking about adding a furry new member to your family, visit your local animal shelter (or go to PetFinder.com) instead of going to a pet store or a breeder. Most animal shelters require an adoption fee of no more than $150, and your new pet will come spayed or neutered, microchipped, and up-to-date on his or her vaccines. The same cannot be said for the $400-$3500 pet store or breeder animal who will not come spayed or neutered, won't be up-to-date on his or her vaccines, and definitely will not be microchipped.
The best part of adopting a pet from the shelter? You will save a life that is in jeopardy of being euthanized due to overcrowding AND open up a cage for another animal to have a shot at finding a home. Saving lives while saving money? Sounds like a win-win situation!
Instead of taking Fido or Fluffy to the groomer for baths and nail trimmings (which can cost anywhere from $120-$600 per year), buy a pair of nail clippers and some shampoo and groom your pet yourself! Nail clippers cost around $10, a bottle of shampoo that will last you 4 months (if you have a big dog) costs around $15, and a brush costs no more than $20.
So put Fido in the tub (or if you don't have a tub, go outside and use your hose) and give him a bath on your own! And instead of taking Fido or Fluffy to get his or her nails trimmed, just do it yourself! If you have never trimmed the nails of a dog or cat before, you can check out this video on how to trim your cat's nails or this video on how to trim your dog's nails.
Purchase Durable Toys
This tip may seem counter-intuitive, because durable toys tend to be more expensive than regular toys, but by purchasing toys that will hold up well to chewing, tugging, scratching, biting, and being thrown around, you will save money in the long run.
For example, you could get a $5 plastic Frisbee at Petco that your dog will destroy in two days or you could spend around $20 on a more durable Frisbee that will last for six months. Think about it: Would you rather spend $450 on Frisbees every six months — or only spend $20? A few of the best durable toys for Fido or Fluffy include the Classic Kong, the Turbo Scratcher, and the Dura Doggie Disc.
Train Fido Yourself
Training your dog is absolutely essential. Without proper training, your dog will bark, chew on things, and basically do whatever he or she wants whenever he or she wants. But don't feel the need to shell out hundreds of dollars to take puppy-training classes with your new dog. It is possible to train your dog yourself! All you need are treats and some sort of training guide to follow.
By simply running a search on Amazon.com for "How to Train Your Dog," you can find 410 results (mostly books and movies) that will help you train your dog. Most of these products cost less than $20! Or, if you want to train your dog and only spend money on treats, you can Google "how to train your dog" and check out one or more of the 10,400,000 video, article, and blog results. Either way, take the time to train your dog yourself and save a couple hundred dollars.
Toilet Train Fluffy
Most people don't think about this money-saving option due to the fact that toilet training a cat seems like it would be an impossible task. However, it is possible to toilet train your cat! If you don't want to spend $80 on a kitty toilet training system (aka the Litter Kwitter), all you need is time, patience, and a sturdy litter box that will fit on your toilet seat while supporting your cat's weight.
Start by putting your cat's litter box next to the toilet, then day by day elevate the litter box using newspapers until it is the same height as the toilet. Once it is at the same height, place the litter box on the toilet. After a few days, remove the litter box and replace it with a bowl filled with some litter. Allow your cat to get used to the new set-up and keep an eye on where your cat places his or her feet. If you see your cat while he or she is going to the bathroom and all four feet are not placed on the toilet seat, simply place your cat's feet on the seat to get him or her used to balancing on the seat. After your cat is consistently going number one and two in the bowl with all four feet on the toilet seat, slowly reduce the amount of litter in the bowl until you can remove the bowl and your cat uses the toilet!
Alternately, if you would prefer not to have your cat using your toilet and you allow your cat to be an indoor-outdoor cat, you can train him or her to go to the bathroom outside. Simply place his or her litter box outside in a planter for a few days, then remove the box and just have a little litter in the planter, and finally remove the litter altogether. Either way, no more smelly litter box and no more spending money on kitty litter!
By utilizing the tips listed above, you can save money on your pet's expenses without making any dietary or playtime compromises. Here's to full bank accounts and happy pets!
Do you have any tips on how to save money on pet expenses? Share them in the comment section!
This is a guest post by Ashley Jacobs. Ashley is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara and currently works as the Editor of Cash Flow Sherpas. Read more by Ashley: