How to Cut Pet Care Costs

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on August 18, 2021
4 min read

The cost of caring for your beloved pets can add up quickly when you want the best for them. After all, pets are often like children to their owners. You can give your pet the best without breaking the bank, and the tips below break down how to save money on pet care.

You should take your pet for an annual exam with their veterinarian at least once per year. Even if you think your pet’s health is fine, yearly check-ups serve to maintain your pet’s health through preventative action. Plus, your veterinarian may notice something that you miss because you spend so much time with your pet.

If you don’t already have a veterinarian, you can save on pet care expenses by shopping around for a veterinary office in your area with fewer fees. Ask about costs for things like:

  • Exam fees
  • Vaccinations
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Spay and neuter‌
  • Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention

Laws require some pet vaccines, but others are optional. Many vaccines help prevent the risk of serious illness to your pet. Still, you should take into consideration the chance your pet faces based on your personal circumstances.‌

Talk to your veterinarian about all of the vaccines they offer and why. If you need to, get online and do some additional research using trusted resources before deciding. Skipping unnecessary vaccinations can help you cut costs on pet care.

Spaying or neutering your pet prevents them from being able to have babies. If you have a female pet, this can save you from spending money on a litter of offspring in the future. Spaying or neutering your pet can also prevent some cancers and other health problems.‌

Talk to your vet about the appropriate age for spaying or neutering your pet. If the cost of a spay or neuter treatment is outside your budget, ask about local resources to help pet owners financially.‌

Your local humane society and other pet organizations may host a clinic for spaying and neutering pets. Alternately, you may qualify for a reduced-cost payment based on your income. If those aren’t options, talk to your vet about making payments on spaying or neutering your pet so you don’t have to pay it all at once.

Did you know that you should brush your pet’s teeth regularly? Talk to your vet about how often to brush your pet’s teeth and what products to use. Don’t brush with your toothpaste because fluoride can cause stomach problems if your pet ingests it.‌

Tooth brushing has the same benefits for pets as it does for humans. Brushing your pet’s teeth prevents damage that may be costly later on in life. Plus, it prevents bacteria from entering your pet’s digestive tract and causing other health problems.

Fleas and ticks pose significant health risks to your pets – especially if they spend time outside. Talk to your veterinarian about flea and tick prevention, which may be in the form of a:

  • Pill
  • Collar
  • Dip‌
  • Spray‌

Using a preventative treatment for fleas and ticks saves money on your pet’s health and the cost of any future infestation. If fleas get into your home, you may need to pay for a pest service to spray your home and kill the tiny bugs. You should also talk to your doctor about preventing heartworms. Sometimes you can get a three-in-one treatment for all three pests.

Many insurance companies now offer pet health insurance policies to help cut the costs of pet care. A small premium each month may make sense to save on surprise costs. Shop around to find a premium you can afford and make sure you understand what expenses the pet insurance policy covers.

Talk to your veterinarian about the type of food your pet needs. You may be able to pick up pet food at your local supermarket, but that may not be the best option for your pet in the long run. You may have to spend more now on higher-quality pet food to save money on health costs in the future.

If your pet requires grooming, try to do as much as you can at home. Talk to your vet about the specific grooming needs of your pet and ask them to recommend the best pet care tools. Brush your pet’s fur and trim their nails on your own.

If your pet’s fur requires trimming, weigh the pros and cons of taking them to a professional groomer. Your vet may offer these services or know of a reputable groomer nearby. You can call around to ask about fees before booking an appointment. Make sure that your chosen groomer has the appropriate certifications, so you know your pet is safe in their care.

When you adopt a pet, you know that expenses are part of the deal. While you can plan for pet expenses most of the time, emergency needs may come as a surprise. You can add a line item to your savings budget for your pet in anticipation of unexpected expenses. This way, when you have to spend money on pet care, you’re prepared and don’t have to rely on a credit card.