6 ways to reduce the cost of care for your pets

  • Amid rampant inflation, it’s getting more and more expensive to care for your four-legged friends.
  • Insider spoke to five experts about the best ways to care for your pets on a tight budget.
  • They advised cash-strapped homeowners to prioritize preventative care, plan ahead and try DIY.

The US economy is showing signs of an impending slowdown. Inflation is still high and recent modeling from Bloomberg Economics revealed a 100% probability of a recession in the coming year.

In the face of this bleak economic outlook, it’s crucial to take steps to protect your finances, and that includes thinking about your pets.

Thanks to inflation, taking care of your fluffy friends is getting more and more expensive. Pet food prices rose 14% between September 2021 and September 2022, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. Veterinary bills have also jumped – inflating 10% over the past year, per AP.

Research from Veterinarians.org, published in July, suggests owners are already feeling the pinch. Fifty percent are looking for cheaper alternatives to their standard pet food, and 35% say they’ve had to reduce the frequency of their visits to grooming services.

More concerning: 46% of pet owners said they had decided to forgo or delay veterinary treatments in the wake of inflation, including dental procedures and x-rays.

Insider spoke to five experts about the best ways to care for your pets without wrecking your finances.

1. Focus on the essentials

When faced with tough financial choices, pet owners should consider cutting back on non-essential items like treats and toys, but continue to invest in essentials like pet insurance and food. of good quality.

Skimping on your pet’s food can be a false economy.

“By making sure you’re giving them all the exercise and nutrients they need to maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce their risk of developing chronic conditions like high blood pressure and arthritis that lead to veterinary bills. ongoing supplements,” said Rob Young, of UK animal shelter Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Providing proper medication is also key to preventing costly long-term health complications, said Dr Samantha Gaines, representing the UK animal welfare charity RSPCA.

She told Insider, “Google searches for ‘can I give my dog ​​paracetamol?

2. Shop around for food and medicine

Pet food often comes at a high cost, so it may be worth researching cheaper alternatives. Just make sure off-brand products still contain all the nutrients your pet needs, and consult a veterinarian or animal charity if you’re unsure.

You can also try mixing your pet’s favorite regular food with a cheaper brand to make it stretch more.

Medicines are also a big expense, but they are often cheaper on the Internet. There are many online pet pharmacies to choose from, so be sure to compare costs and read reviews. Popular sites include Walmart Pet Rx, Chewy, and 1-800-Pet-Meds

3. Get the right pet insurance

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, there are approximately 160 million pets in the United States. Of these, only 2.48% are insured.

Experts say you should think carefully about skipping insurance in an effort to cut costs, as it could turn out to be a costly miscalculation if your pet gets sick.

Insurance may seem like an expensive and unnecessary cost, but it can provide peace of mind and financial security in the face of unpleasant surprises.

Kristen Lynch, the association’s executive director, told Insider, “When money is tight and costs are rising, it’s even more important that you have the confidence and security of pet insurance for make the decisions you need to make for your pet’s health and happiness.”

But don’t just dive in. Insurance premiums are likely to rise further as inflation drives up vet bills, according to VetHelpDirect, so shopping around is more important than ever.

You should also take a close look at what your insurance policy covers. Some of the cheapest policies exclude common medical treatments, so you’ll need to budget for these additional costs down the line.

4. Prioritize preventive care

It can be easy to overlook basic maintenance, but simple steps like cleaning your pet’s teeth, worming them regularly, and keeping them flea-free are key to preventing costly health complications.

With vet prices reaching new heights, it’s no surprise that owners are often hesitant to get their pets treated, but it can harm your pet’s health and drive up costs.

Lynch told Insider: “When a pet owner delays providing care, it can mean that a condition gets worse while they “wait” and then that same condition can become acute, and more expensive and difficult to successfully treat.”

5. Try DIY

Pets don’t need anything fancy, experts tell Insider. They will be delighted with inexpensive homemade toys.

If you want to give your pet something new to play with without breaking the bank, try turning old t-shirts into dog toys or trying out homemade toilet paper games.

You can also make treats using low-cost household ingredients. Many animal charities offer how-to tips and DIY guides on their websites, including the ASPCA, Best Friends, and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

6. Ask for help

It’s never a good idea to fight alone.

In times of crisis, you can contact local charities for specific advice and even financial assistance. Craig Cummings, director of the Wyoming-based Casper Humane Society, told Insider, “Tough economic times are affecting everyone, and animal shelters and other organizations are here to help.”

The Humane Society has a database of organizations across the United States that support people struggling to afford essential pet care. These include discount veterinary practices, pet food banks, and emergency animal shelters.

If you’re pressured into making the “heartbreaking” decision to rehom a pet, you should always seek help, said Christa Chadwick, vice president of housing services at the ASPCA. “For owners who are unable to care for a pet or no longer wish to do so, we understand that repatriation or abandonment of the animal can sometimes be the best outcome.

“We encourage any pet owner who has made the decision to rehom their pet to enlist the support of a family member, friend or veterinarian. You can also register your pet at Petfinder.com or Visit Get Your Pet to connect with people near you who are looking to adopt a pet and meet potential adopters to find a good home for your pet.

In the most extreme situations, animal shelters can step in and make sure your pet is safe and well cared for.

Rob Young, from Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, based in the UK, told Insider: “We would never judge anyone for making the difficult but responsible decision to bring their pet to the rescue if they can no longer survive. ‘take care of it.’

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