5 ways to save money on pet care without skimping on quality

Our four-legged friends are masters at melting hearts, all they need to do is give us those wide, innocent eyes and that longing gaze, and even the toughest pet-parent crumbles.

In fact, according to PDSA’s Annual Animal Wellbeing Report, over a quarter of British owners admit to pampering their fur babies, spending on average £1,150 per year or £95 a month on food, vaccinations, treats and other expenses — a big dent to your wallet.

Whether you dote on your cat, spoil your pup or indulge your gerbil, animals are important and beloved members of our families, and we all want to give them the best care possible.

That’s why Vetscriptions have put together this list of their top five penny-pinching tips to help you save money on pet care while still prioritising their health and happiness.

1. Shop around for the best pet insurance

For peace of mind, get pet insurance. While forking out a few quid every month may seem counterintuitive when trying to look after the pennies, if your little buddy needs any major veterinary procedures in the future, insurance can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

Shop around first before settling on a policy, as there’s little point in picking one simply because it’s cheapest if it doesn’t cover your pet’s particular needs. A side-by-side comparison of plans will help highlight differences in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other details. Also, enrol your pet when they’re young to prevent any conditions they develop as they get older, limiting coverage and increasing the price.

2. Buy pet medication online

Never mind your pet — the cost of veterinary prescriptions can make owners feel ill too. Luckily, you can find plenty of the same medication brands sold to you from a clinic for a much lower price online.

3. Hand make toys and treats

Instead of unnecessarily stretching the purse strings on repeat purchases, use the web’s wealth of DIY tutorials to craft toys and treats at home. Here are a couple of ideas to inspire you:

  • Kitties love anything they can swat or pounce at, so crumbled up balls of tin foil and paper go down a treat, while cardboard boxes provide safe havens for them to hide inside. If you’ve got a weekend free, attach shelves to a wall for your cat to climb and explore or make scratching posts out of planks of wood and sisal rope.
  • Wear out boisterous pups with an old fleece blanket fashioned into a tug-o-war toy or cut pieces of PVC pipe into an agility jump for the back garden. If you’re green-thumbed, cultivate a vegetable patch for plenty of fresh goodies to supplement their diets or find a recipe online and cook up your own doggy biscuits, ice pops or even doughnuts.

4. Skip the groomers

One of the easiest ways to save yourself a small fortune is to have your pet groomed less frequently, or better yet, do it yourself. While you might not be keen on the idea of trying to trim your howling moggie or panicking pooch, if you’re patient and take your time, it can actually be great for bonding. For a perfectly coiffed pet, remember to brush and comb them before bathing to remove tangles, use products appropriate for their age and species, and be extra careful when clipping nails to ensure you don’t cut into the quick.

5. Prepare for the future

Thinking forward regarding pet care is ultimately the best way to save your coppers. Rather than only visiting the vets in an emergency, keep on top of your pet’s vaccinations and remember to give them their preventative treatments for ticks and fleas. Ensure you feed them a good diet and make sure they get regular exercise to ward off obesity — even caged birds need to be allowed to fly for supervised periods. Most importantly, learn your pet’s patterns as this makes it much easier for you to spot changes in their routine and catch signs of sickness quickly before it becomes costly and dangerous.

Vetscriptions are the UK’s leading fulfiller of veterinary prescriptions, supplying the same pet medication as veterinary clinics, from the same manufacturers but at prices that are at least 40% cheaper.