How to save money on pet care and supplies

Jan 30, 2020

Owning a cat or dog is expensive. Whether you’re spending on supplies (food, treats and toys add up each month) or vet bills (spaying and neutering, yearly check-ups, vaccines, unexpected health issues), things probably cost a pretty penny more than you expected. But there are steps you can take to make animal ownership more affordable. Here’s how to save money on pets and pet care—simple tips that will let you stay within your budget and still treat your furry friend like the king or queen they are. 

Adopt, don’t shop 

Rescues and shelters have fees if you’re looking to adopt a dog or cat but they’re typically quite a bit less than the cost of buying a purebred puppy or exotic kitten. Plus, you’ll give a needy pet a loving home—meaning you’ll save money and perform an act of kindness at the same time. 

Watch the weight

Giving that extra treat or scoop of kibble may seem like a gesture of love, but even a few pounds of extra fat can make her life more difficult. If your pet becomes overweight—meaning she lacks a defined waist and her ribs and spine are hard to feel—she could be at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease and osteoarthritis. She may also have trouble breathing, walking and keeping cool. By managing her weight, you’ll not only save money on food and treats, you’ll also avoid health issues—not to mention pricey vet bills. 

Brush his teeth

Yes, it’s a total pain to sit your pet down, hold his mouth open and scrub each tooth with a pet-friendly toothpaste. But it’s the best way to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent pain, bleeding, swelling and tooth decay—all issues that can affect appetite and require costly anesthesia, professional dental cleaning and tooth removal. Periodontal disease also increases the risk of heart disease. In this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Buy supplies in bulk

When it comes to items you use frequently—think pet food, treats, kitty litter, waste bags or pads—it’s often considerably cheaper per use to buy the big bag or the 20-pack. Storage can be kind of a pain, but you’ll end up spending less overall on supplies that you use every day. Real Canadian Superstore® also offers discounts on many pet items if you buy in multiples.  

Groom at home 

If you’re trying to save money on pet care, your pet grooming habits are another thing to consider. Try to complete as many grooming jobs at home as possible, including nail trims (some veterinarians charge $30 a pop!), bathing, brushing and ear cleaning. Of course, there are some tasks—like haircuts and shaving—that you might want to leave to the pros. 

Guard against common causes of injury

Money isn’t the only reason you’ll want to keep your dog or cat out of harm’s way, but there are some pretty common causes of injury that—while not necessarily fatal—could rack up your vet bills for the year. To protect your pet, keep an eye out for foreign objects, like medications, table scraps, sticks and bones, she could choke on or swallow; make sure she always has access to water—especially on hot days; keep her on a leash to prevent road accidents and altercations with unknown dogs; and maintain short nails so they’re less prone to breaking and tearing.

Share minimal-use items

If you’re taking your pet on an airplane for the first time in years, you probably don’t need to buy a new carrier, travel bowl or outfit. And your pup with a hip injury probably won’t need to wear a cone and ride in a pet stroller forever. Instead of purchasing all of these items that you’ll only need temporarily, or a couple times a year, try to borrow from friends or split the cost with family members who might also need to use the item on occasion. 

Collect points 

Limiting yourself to a few retailers when purchasing supplies means you can accumulate rewards—like PC Optimum points. Every 10,000 PC Optimum points that PC Optimum members earn on purchases translates to $10 they can redeem towards free stuff. Use it to stock up on food, toys and treats for your furry buddy.

Create a rainy-day fund

Even if you’re careful about ways to save money on pet expenses, your dog or cat might have an accident or health scare that creates unexpected vet bills. Set aside whatever you can each month for use in these instances. 

General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC Financial does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.