15 Ways to Save on Pet Care and Still Give Your Furry Friend the Best Life

As a pet owner, you know that the love and companionship of your furry friend are invaluable. But let’s face it – pet care expenses can add up quickly. Between food, toys, vet visits, and grooming appointments, it’s easy to feel like your wallet is constantly attacked. But the good news is plenty of ways to save on pet care without sacrificing your pet’s well-being. So, if you want to give your furry friend the best life without breaking the bank, keep reading for 15 ways to save on pet care.

The Average Cost of Pets

Before diving into the ways to save, it’s helpful to understand the average cost of pet ownership. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent an estimated $99 billion on pets in 2019. Of that amount, nearly 60% was dedicated to services and supplies, including vet care, food, treats, grooming supplies, and more.

Ultimately, the cost of pet ownership can vary greatly depending on breed, size, and other factors. But if you’re looking for a ballpark figure to budget accordingly, plan on spending between $500-$1,000 per year – or up to $2500 if your pet has any special medical needs or frequent surgeries.

15 Ways to Save on Pet Care

Now that you understand the cost better, here are 15 ways to save on pet care.

Consider Adopting from a Shelter

Adopting a pet from a local shelter or rescue can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and it can also save you money. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), adoption fees, on average, cost between $50-$200, depending on the organization and your location.

The Cost of Pure-bred Pets

If you’re considering buying a pure-bred pet, keep in mind that the adoption fee may be more than for one from a shelter. The ASPCA estimates that purchasing a pure-bred puppy can run anywhere between $500-$2,000, with an average of around $1,200. Additionally, many breeders will require buyers to pay an additional fee for vaccinations and other services prior to taking their new pup home.

Join Pet Store Loyalty Programs

Discover the top pet supply companies in the U.S. and learn how to earn purchase rewards. PetSmart and Petco stand out as the country’s most extensive pet supply companies, with third place lagging far behind. 

At PetSmart, join the Treats rewards program to earn points for every dollar spent. Redeem your points for discounted products and pet services. Plus, enjoy free shipping on orders over $49.

Petco’s Petco Pals rewards program has been rolled into its Vital Care pet wellness program, offering discounts and rewards. Upgrade to a Vital Care membership for only $19.99 a month and get 10% off dog food, 20% off grooming, and $15 worth of monthly rewards.

Buy Pet Prescriptions Online

Prescription medications for pets can be expensive, but purchasing them online can save you money. Several online pet pharmacies offer discounts on prescription medicines and other products. Sites like 1800PetMeds and PetCareRx offer medication discounts anywhere from 10-15%.

Best Online Pet Medicine Websites

When it comes to online pet medicine, a few websites stand out. Chewy and PetMeds offer discounts on all types of pet supplies and medications. Chewy also offers free shipping on orders over $49, and their AutoShip program allows you to save 5-15% off every order.

Look for Discounts on Pet Food

Pet food can be one of the most significant expenses when it comes to pet care. Look for coupons online or subscribe to newsletters from your favorite pet food brands to save money. Stores like PetSmart and Petco have frequent sales of popular pet food brands, so keep an eye out for those.

Sign-Up for Discount Emails

Do it now if you’re not already subscribed to pet care email lists. Companies like PetSmart, Petco, and even some smaller stores often send coupons for discounts on specific items or services.

Do-It-Yourself Grooming

While professional grooming services can help keep your pet looking its best, there are some aspects that you can do yourself at home. Consider brushing, bathing, and trimming nails to save a few bucks each month. Many stores offer DIY classes or instructional videos that can help teach you how to groom your pet at home properly.

Cost of Professional Grooming

Remember that the cost can vary widely if you decide to take your pet for professional grooming. Prices are typically based on the size and breed of your pet and the type of services requested. For example, a full-service groom for a small dog may cost around $50-$60, while a large dog may be closer to $100 or more.

Have a Vet Before You Need One

Don’t wait for a pet emergency to find an affordable vet. Save money on routine and emergency pet care by selecting a vet beforehand. Use reputable websites like VetRatingz.com to steer clear of bad vets, then call acceptable ones to inquire about pricing for essential checkups, vaccinations, teeth cleaning, and other procedures.

Additionally, it’s wise to ask about the cost of potential services your pet may require so that you can gauge each veterinary office’s general price level. Show your pets some love without breaking the bank – plan ahead and select an affordable vet today.

Average Cost of Emergency Vet Visit

Unplanned trips to the vet can be expensive, but knowing the average cost of emergency vet visits in your area can help you prepare for any potential pet emergencies. Depending on where you live, an emergency visit may run anywhere from $50 – $400 or more.

Take Advantage of Vaccination Clinics

Vaccinations are necessary for pet ownership, but they can add up. These days, many vets and pet stores offer affordable vaccination clinics throughout the year. By taking advantage of these clinics, you can save on the cost of vaccinations and keep your pet healthy at the same time.

Get Your Pets Spayed and Neutered

Investing in spaying or neutering your pets provides long-term financial benefits. The drawbacks of not taking this step can result in costly outcomes, such as damage to furniture and carpet by unspayed cats or legal ramifications from attacks by unneutered dogs. Not fixing your pets can also lead to the expense of caring for their offspring. Choose to spay or neuter your pets for their well-being and financial peace of mind.

Buy Your Pet Food in Bulk

Buying pet food in bulk is a great way to ensure you never run out and get the best price. Many stores offer wholesale or quantity discounts on large bags of pet food. Just be sure to store it properly so that it stays fresh.

Pro Tip: Store Your Pet Food Properly

Pet food stored in the wrong environment can quickly become spoiled. To ensure your pet’s meals are always fresh, store dry food in an airtight container in a cool, dry place and refrigerate canned food after opening.

Use Toys That Last Longer

When buying toys for your pets, go for quality over quantity. Some toys can last for months or even years. In contrast, cheaper ones may only last a few weeks before enthusiastic playtime sessions destroy them. Look for durable toys made from natural materials like cotton rope, hemp, or fleece.

Pro Tip: Make Your Own Toys

If you’re feeling crafty, there are many ways to create your own DIY pet toys. From old T-shirts and sweaters to socks and paper towel rolls, making fun toys for your furry friends is easy and inexpensive.

Consider Pet Insurance

Though pet insurance may seem expensive at first glance, it can help you save on costly vet bills in the long run. Most policies cover routine care and emergency treatments, allowing you to rest easy knowing your pet’s healthcare needs are taken care of.

Best Pet Insurance Plan

When shopping for pet insurance, carefully read the fine print and compare plans. Look into policies that cover pre-existing conditions and reimburse you based on the actual treatment costs rather than a preset amount.

Find Cheaper Pet Sitting Services

Hiring someone to care for your pets while you’re away can be expensive, but there are ways to save. Try asking friends or family members first, as they may be willing to pet sit in exchange for a reduced fee or even just the cost of food and supplies.

Pro Tip: Leverage Technology

Technology also makes it easier than ever to find qualified pet sitters at an affordable price. Sites like Rover and PetBacker provide access to a wide range of vetted professionals who offer competitive rates on their services.

Make Sure Your Pets Exercise

Exercising your pets is essential to keeping them healthy and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Instead of expensive doggy daycare or classes, take your pup on hikes in nature or on regular walks around the neighborhood. If you have a cat, ensure they get enough playtime with interactive toys that stimulate them physically and mentally.

Pet-Proof Your Home

One of the most effective ways to save money on pet care is to make sure your home is pet-proofed. This means keeping potentially dangerous items, such as electrical cords or household chemicals, out of reach. You should also lock gates and windows to prevent escape attempts.

Pro Tip: Shop Around for Pet Supplies

You can often find great deals on pet supplies if you take the time to shop around. Look online for coupon codes or special discounts at stores like Chewy, Amazon, and Petco. Stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco also offer competitive prices on essentials like food, litter, and toys.

Don’t Shop at the Vet

Veterinary offices typically have higher prices on pet supplies than other stores, so it’s best to avoid buying pet care items there. Stick to regular retail outlets to get the most bang.

Cost of Cats vs. Dogs

In comparison to dogs, cats are usually cheaper when it comes to care costs. Vaccinations, food, and litter expenses are generally lower for cats than for their canine counterparts. This doesn’t mean cats don’t need quality care – just that they tend to be less expensive over time.


Dogs commonly cost more than cats due to their larger size and the fact that they typically require more frequent trips to the vet. Vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, heartworm preventatives, and flea treatments are all necessary expenditures for canine owners.


In contrast, cats tend to require fewer vet visits than dogs, and their vaccinations and other medical needs are generally less costly. Cats also do not need to be taken for walks like dogs, which can save time and money.

Other Ways to Save

There are plenty of other ways to save money on pet care. Consider making your own healthy treats for your dog or cat, or look into do-it-yourself groomers who offer their services at a much lower cost. You can also look into free spay and neuter programs available in some areas, which can help you keep costs down when it comes time to get your pet fixed.

The Bottom Line

As a pet owner, balancing the cost of caring for your furry friend with giving them the best life possible can be difficult. But, with these 15 tips on how to save money on pet care, you can show your pets some extra love without breaking the bank. From researching affordable vets to investing in quality toys that last longer and getting insurance for your pets, there are plenty of ways to keep costs low while still providing excellent care for your beloved pets.

Key Takeaways:

• Leverage technology to find affordable pet sitters.

• Make sure your pets get enough exercise and playtime.

• Pet-proof your home to save money on care costs.

• Shop around for pet supplies to find the best deals.

• Don’t shop at the vet for items you can get elsewhere at a lower cost.

• Consider making your own treats or using do-it-yourself groomers.

• Look into free spay/neuter programs available in some areas.


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