How To Become a Frugal Pet Owner

become a frugal pet owner

I’m the first to admit that I spend A LOT of money on my pets. I like to buy them the really good food. Plus, I’m a sucker for getting them lots of toys. Pets are definitely a big responsibility. However, there are steps you can take to become a frugal pet owner.

What I Spend a Lot of Money On For My Pets

Before we get into how to become a frugal pet owner, let me be honest about the big costs I pay for my own pups:

  • I buy them really good food. My dogs get high-quality kibble and treats. Additionally, they get fresh-frozen meal delivery. For me, it’s worth it to keep them healthy. I believe that eating well prevents big health problems, thus saving money in the end. (~$600 per month)
  • They have pet insurance. People’s opinions differ on this. However, I’d rather pay out of pocket upfront than have to cope with a surprise big vet bill down the line. Plus I never want money to be the reason that my pet can’t get health care if needed. (~$15o per month for two dogs)
  • I use daily walkers for my dog. My puppy needs to exercise and socialize. I could take him to the dog park myself. However, that cuts into my work time. Therefore, I hire a pack walker. (~$600 per month)

Additional Pet Expenses

In addition to those big costs, I frequently spend money on:

  • Having someone else wash my dogs and trim their nails.
  • Preventive health care (flea and heart worm meds); however, that’s mostly covered by their pet insurance.
  • Lots of toys and chew treats to keep them busy at home.
  • Overnight stays with the walker when I want to go out of town without pets.
  • Extra costs for pet-friendly hotel services when I travel with my pets.
  • Loss of items in the home because one of the dogs is still a puppy who occasionally destroys my things.

How I Could Become a Frugal Pet Owner

Truth be told, I’m probably not going to significantly decrease my own personal spending in this area. However, if money gets tight, the key ways that I could become a more frugal pet owner would be:

  • Make my dogs’ fresh food myself. This would still be healthy but cheaper than the delivery service.
  • Take my own dog to the dog park every day. This would eliminate the cost of the walkers.
  • Do baths and nail trims myself, although I really get nervous about the latter.
  • Perhaps cut out pet insurance although personally, I don’t think that’s a wise decision. It could lead to greater costs down the line.

Other Tips to Become a Frugal Pet Owner

Those are the changes that I could make in order to reduce pet costs in my own home. But they aren’t the only options. Depending on the pets you have (or want to get), here are some tips to reducing pet costs:

Be Smart About Getting a Pet

If you don’t yet have a pet then think ahead. Adopt, don’t shop. Look for shelters that offer low-cost adoptions. Alternatively, consider a foster-to-adopt pet program that might cost you nothing at all. In fact, fosters sometimes get their health care needs taken care of for you.

Think about the costs of the pet. An older pet might be better about not destroying things in the home than a puppy would be. An already-trained pet might prevent the costs of classes. You might even consider the costs of bathing a long-haired vs. short-haired animal.

Shop Around for Free / Cheap Pet Supplies

Pets need toys. They need beds. They need food bowls. Shop around to get the best prices. You might be able to get free or cheap supplies through sites like Craigslist and NextDoor. You can also ask other pet owners that you know if they have things that they can donate to you. At the very least, use comparison shopping and coupons to reduce costs.

Figure Out the Right Food Solution

If you can make your own affordable pet food, then do so. You can also make pet treats which provides a healthy option at a lower cost than you’ll find at the store. If that’s not an option for you, then figure out the best balance between getting high-quality food and sticking within your pet budget. You might use a “subscribe and save” option through sites like Amazon or Chewy to reduce ongoing pet costs.

Plan for Medical Care

Vet bills can get expensive. However, there are services that provide discounts for important things like spay/neuter services. Some communities have clinics that offer discounted vet services. Many people use Go Fund Me to help them pay unexpected pet bills.

What are your biggest pet costs?  Share in the comments.

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