Tips to Reduce Pet Care Costs in a Bad Economy

| CJ Silvasi

Cost of living is going up on everything from food and gas to housing. Pet care costs are no different. Here are 8 ways to save on your pet's everyday needs.


With inflation on the rise, the state of the U.S. economy will be dominating every news cycle for the foreseeable future. An economic downturn may be looming, with costs going up on everything from food and healthcare to housing. If you have pets, stack their essential expenses on top of an already large pile of bills.

So, how can you provide for your pet without breaking the bank? Here are 8 tips to reduce pet care costs in a bad economy.

Buy in Bulk

You probably already know that bulk buying is a great way to save money on groceries, but did you know you can also buy pet food in bulk?

Do your research first, calculating how much you pay per pound, and then compare that to the price of a larger-sized bag. For example, if your 3-lb bag of cat food costs $7, you’re paying $2.33/pound, but if you buy a 13-lb bag for $18, you’re only paying $1.38/pound. That’s a huge savings that adds up over time.

When buying in bulk, take precautions to make sure you aren’t wasting food and money. Make sure you don’t end up buying more than your pet can consume before it expires. For example, don’t buy a year’s worth of canned foods if those cans are going to expire in 6 months. If you’re buying a large bag of kibble or treats, invest in an air-tight container to store it, so it will last as long as possible.

Buy More During Sales

Pet supplies often go on sale, so take advantage of the lower price by buying more when it’s cheaper. Consider shopping at a grocery or pet supply store that has a rewards program too. This will allow you to rack up bonuses on the items you buy regularly, and maybe even get a bonus coupon to help reduce the price even further. Often, those loyalty deals can be combined with special pricing, and deal stacking is an easy budgeting technique.

Get Everyday Essentials Auto-Shipped

Pet supply stores like Chewy and PetSmart offer discounts on items if you sign up for auto-shipment. If you’re buying the same food, treats, and even medications repeatedly, the auto-ship option not only saves you money on the items themselves, but also saves you on gas if shipping is free or cheaper than the round-trip to the grocery store.

Limit Trips to the Groomer

Sometimes, you just need the help of a professional groomer, and some breeds have more grooming needs than others. However, if you can reduce the number of professional grooming sessions by taking some of those tasks on yourself, you can save a lot of money. Take stock of what tasks you and your pet are comfortable handling at home, and take them off the groomer’s plate… and off your bill.

DIY Your Pet’s Luxury Items

Don’t add to your expenses by buying new pet beds or toys, make your own! Pet beds can easily be made from old clothes or other household items, and your pet may be comforted by the familiar smells they carry with them.

Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

Many health issues animals face can be prevented by spaying or neutering. This also avoids surprise pregnancies, which can be costly and potentially dangerous.

Keep Your Pet Healthy

Vet bills are often the largest portion of your pet’s expenses, so keeping your pet at a healthy weight and activity level will help reduce the need for unexpected vet visits. Don’t be afraid to talk to your vet about ways to improve your pet’s health, so you can reduce the risk of a major incident, illness, or accident.

Invest in Pet Insurance

The sooner you get pet insurance, the better! Pet insurance not only helps you prepare for unexpected accidents and injuries, it can also help you get ahead of hereditary conditions that may spring up in the future. With AKC Pet Insurance’s Hereditary Coverage add-on (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company), you can prepare for conditions like arthritis, elbow and hip dysplasia, diabetes, hereditary eye disorders, and heart disease before they happen. You’ll also get coverage for curable and incurable pre-existing conditions after 365 days of continuous coverage*.

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Pets are family, and taking care of them is important, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. While you’re looking at ways to reduce costs, taking the preventative measures noted above will help you stay on budget even as prices rise.

*Not available in all states.

CJ Silvasi

CJ has always wanted to be a writer. She even threatened to drop out after her first day of kindergarten when they weren’t immediately going to teach her to read and write. Fortunately, she stayed in school, earned her degree in Creative Writing from Christopher Newport University, and now gets to live her best life with her husband, 3 Japanese Chins, and cat writing for AKC Pet Insurance.


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