Handy tips on how to save money without compromising on welfare

With the cost of living going up, take a look at our top tips on how to save money on your pet’s expenses without compromising on their care and welfare.

We all want to give our pets the best possible care – but we also know the cost of having a pet can add up. A recent report by the RSPCA found that more than three quarters (78%) of owners think that the cost of living will impact their pets. With many people concerned about rising household bills, we look at how to make smart savings on your pet-care budget without compromising on your pet’s welfare.

1. How to save money on pet food

When it comes to feeding pets, it pays to be organised. Buying pet food in bulk tends to work out cheaper than picking up small quantities with your weekly shop. So look out for money-saving multipacks, shop around for the best prices, and try to stock up during special offers. If you're loyal to one particular pet food brand, check whether setting up a regular subscription for deliveries could secure you a discount.

If you tend to opt for premium brands, consider whether a cheaper or own-label product could offer the same nutritional and welfare standards. Dry food is more economical than wet food. But before making any big changes to your pet's diet, it's always a good idea to talk to your vet.

2. Feed your pet a healthy amount

Another way to keep down the cost of pet food is to make sure you’re not exceeding your pet’s recommended daily food intake. It’s all too easy to scoop a little extra food into their bowl or sneak them some extra treats. Be sure to measure out their food accurately, remember to deduct any extra treats you give them from their daily meal allowance, and keep an eye on your pet’s weight with our guide to body condition scoring.

3. Keep up to date with vet visits

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to health problems with our pets. That’s why it’s important to keep up to date with routine veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, worming and flea treatments. Skipping these could leave your pet at risk of potential health conditions; usually the earlier something is detected, the easier a condition can be to treat. Keeping your pet happy and helping to reduce the cost of potential veterinary bills.

4. Be proactive about pet care at home

Being proactive about looking after your pet at home can help avoid costly future treatment. For example, learning how to clean your dog’s or cat’s teeth regularly could help prevent gum disease, a common problem in older animals, while looking after your rabbit’s teeth can prevent dental issues such as overgrown incisors. Meanwhile, learning how to carry out simple healthcare procedures yourself, such as trimming overgrown claws or removing ticks.

5. Make your own pet entertainment

Pet toys can be costly, but you can provide entertainment for four-legged family members without breaking the bank. Recycling clean household items to make DIY dog, cat or rabbit toys is a sustainable way to save money on pet supplies. For example, dogs, cats and rabbits are all likely to relish seeking out food treats hidden among scrunched-up waste paper in empty cardboard boxes (just don’t let rabbits eat the paper as too much isn’t good for them!). Why not try making your own dog or cat toys, trying some new activities with your dog, or foraging for natural items to provide rabbit treats?

6. Think about your day care options

All pets need stimulation, and dogs in particular shouldn’t be left alone for long periods, as this can cause considerable separation anxiety. But pet care costs can easily add up, so it’s important to think about your day care options. Could you team up with friends, family or neighbours to form a responsible owners’ group, and help each other out with pet sitting and dog walking? Just be sure to introduce your pet to new people slowly to ensure they’re comfortable with being left together.

7. Learn how to groom your pet

Grooming your pet at home can take a bit of practice, but it will help keep them in tip-top condition and could help you save on the cost of professional grooming appointments – particularly if they’re a longer-haired breed. It’s also great way to check your pets condition, and check for any lumps or bumps helping you to maintain their welfare too. For more advice, check out our articles on grooming your dog, cat or rabbit.

8. Make sure they’re covered

Having the right pet insurance in place will help cover the costs of injuries and illness if your pet becomes unwell, and allow you to make the best possible choices for them if they do require veterinary treatment.

It also allows you to manage your budget with a regular payment plan, rather than suddenly having to find large sums for unexpected and costly vet visits. Petplan covers things some other policies don’t and remember with Petplan you won’t pay more for claiming, helping ensure you have the financial support you need.

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