How to cut the cost of looking after a much loved pet

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As most households in the UK feel the pressure from the cost of living crisis, our pets can become yet another expense to worry about.

According to research conducted by the PDSA, the average dog can cost as much as £30,000 over its lifetime and for cats, although they require less of a budget, you’re still looking at around £24,000 to care for them properly.

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These 10 tips can help to ease the spend on pet care when money is tight;

Look out for pet food bargains

Pet food bills are one of the largest monthly outgoings for pet owners but it’s important that pets stay properly nourished.

The most well-known pet food brands will often add more on to their price tag due to being marketed as a ‘premium brand’. Look at the ingredients and find cheaper alternatives with equivalent nutritional value.

For those who have access to the internet, shopping online is often cheaper as opposed to physical stores - and buy in bulk if food is discounted. Often websites without physical shops will offer lower prices. Also, dog clubs typically offer loyalty points meaning you can get money off any future purchases.

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There are a number of pet food banks available across the country, and a quick Google search will bring up those available in your local area.

Learn to groom your pet at home

Keeping your pet clean is key to their wellbeing. However, for breeds that require regular grooming, this can be a huge cost for owners. By kitting yourself out with the recommended brushes, clippers and shampoos you can save a stack of money.

Clipping their nails, cleaning gently around their eyes and trimming their coats to remove any dead hair, dandruff and dirt are the basics of grooming at home, but it’s important to do this in safe and comfortable manner. Ask for advice from a pet groomer or vet.

Why it's a good thing to own a pet:

Trade for pet-sitting duties

Forming a pet friendly neighbourhood club is one option to try out, to save on pet sitting fees, where you and your neighbours (with pets) can rotate dog walks or have an arrangement whereby someone tops up the cat food in your area if another person is away.

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Ask a friend or family member to look after a pet when you’re away - they get to spend quality time with your pet and you spend less money on pet care.

Buy pet treatment products over the counter

Monthly flea and worm treatments will keep your pet free from parasites that can cause serious health risks. While the best flea and worm treatment options will be prescribed by your vet, there are safe and cheaper alternatives available in your local pet store. Keeping on top of this regularly will ensure your pet is healthy and reduce the number of trips needed to the vets.

Make DIY pet toys and items, or buy second hand

Repurposing an old duvet into bedding will save money on otherwise very costly items that rarely stand the test of time. As long as there’s enough padding and support, your pet will be happy.

Shopping second hand for toys or sleeping supplies is another good option. Sourcing your pet a new toy (in their mind) from Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, or even your local charity shop, will keep them just as entertained as one bought from a pet store. Not only will this save you money, but it's a more environmentally friendly option.

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Try to budget properly

Research reveals that 70 per cent of pet owners are not actually aware of what they spend each year on their fur fam. While not every expense can be planned for, money set aside just in case will help to alleviate some of the initial panic.

Research pet insurance policies

It’s a good idea to look carefully for the best deal in terms of pet insurance and read the fine print before committing to any policy. The right insurance policy can save you money on fees like yearly vaccinations, vet visits and even major surgeries or any other unexpected procedures.

If you already have an insurance policy for your pet then make sure you’re aware of what your insurance policy covers and make the most of everything you have on offer.

Speak to your boss about work arrangements

If you work permanently from the office and you’re struggling to cover pet care, try for more flexible working arrangements. Working from home one or two days a week or extending your lunch break so you can walk your dog could help matters a great deal.

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More employers are open to the idea of dog-friendly offices too, which has huge benefits not only for pet owners but also for other office workers, boosting their wellbeing and reducing stress levels by having animals around.

Stay local with walks

With petrol prices on the rise, if possible, plan out local routes that do not require a car.

Don’t abandon your pet’s basic needs

Pets need time and attention. Just like humans, it’s important that your pet has a well-balanced diet to stay fit and healthy, as well as access to clean drinking water at all times.

The absolute basics of taking good care of your pet involve regularly cleaning their teeth, making sure they are properly nourished, daily walks and annual vet visits.

Do these to lower the number of costly vet bills in the long-run, and leave you with a happy and content pet, say experts at who compiled these suggestions.

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