Owning a pet is an expensive business. Even when you take the upfront cost, pet insurance, vet bills, and vacation care out of the equation, day-to-day costs are still pretty steep.
The PSDA calculated that the average cost of caring for a medium-sized dog was £27,000 over its lifetime.
To coincide with National Pet Month (April), Andrea Knowles, personal finance expert at vouchers.co.uk, has shared eight ways to save money on your furry friend each year.
- Shop for food at the best value stores
While local stores such as Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local can be convenient, look into Which? found that it costs an average of 9.5% more to shop at local stores than at larger supermarkets.
As it can cost up to £400 a year to buy pet food, this potential saving of almost £40 is quite significant if you switch to larger supermarkets.
- Groom your pet between sessions
Professional grooming of your pet can be very expensive, costing an average of £43 per session. As the average dog needs four to six sessions per year, this can cost up to £258 per year.
Instead, you could reduce this cost by staying on top of basic grooming tasks, like regular brushing or the occasional bath.
There are even plenty of free YouTube videos that show you how to care for your specific breed’s coat.
Carrying out these simple tasks will not only help you bond with your pet, it will extend the time needed between professional grooming sessions. You could cut the number of sessions required and the price in half to £129.
- Create a dog-walking or pet-sitting club
Paying someone to walk your dog can be a costly expense, averaging £11.25 per walk, or £585 per year if they get one a week.
To completely reduce this cost, talk to your pet-owning friends and neighbors and ask if they would like to participate in a rotating dog-walking service.
You could also run a similar service for pet sitting, which is perfect for when you want to go on vacation.
With an average kennel costing £120 a week, this brings the total annual savings to £705, including pet-walking savings.
- Buy your prescriptions online
Purchasing medication for your pet can be expensive, but did you know you can request the prescription and order what you need from a certified online pharmacy for a fraction of the cost?
For example, petdrugsonline.co.uk claims to save you up to 76% on any pet care, and is rated 4.9/5 by Feefo.
- Take your dog to training classes organized by charities
The average cost of a private group dog training class is £45 per session, so a four-week course would set you back £180.
However, many local charities, such as the Dog’s Trust, run cheaper four-week courses for just £65, a saving of £115.
- Check the portion sizes of your pets
It’s estimated that 40% of dogs in the UK are overweight, so one way to make them lose a few pounds and gain you back is to weigh their food.
To figure out how much to feed your dog, look at the body condition score to figure out if your dog is too lean, too heavy, or ideal. You can then calculate the correct food portion from there.
- Brush your dog’s teeth
One of the most common reasons for tooth and gum disease in dogs is due to their owners not brushing their dog’s teeth correctly or often enough. In fact, the average cost for a dentist who has to scale and polish a dog’s teeth is £233.
With pet toothbrushes and toothpaste costing less than £10, it’s definitely worth getting into the habit of doing it yourself at home with many dentists sharing a step-by-step guide online.
- Buy pet insurance to save money in the long run
While there is a monthly (or annual) cost to purchasing pet insurance, enrolling your pet in a policy can help offset the costs of preventive care along with accidents and illnesses.
However, be sure to get a policy as soon as you get a pet, as waiting until the pet is older increases your chances of needing a higher priced policy due to underlying health conditions.