Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

What Does It Cost To Get And Take Care Of A Pet?

Published on July 10, 2017 by   ·   1 Comment Pin It
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According to the most recent study by the American Pet Products Association, total U.S. pet expenditures in 2015 were $60.28 billion.

That same report found that 65% of the 79.7 million households in the U.S. have at least one pet, meaning the average home spends $756.33 per year or $63.03 monthly on pet-related purchases.

While the typical family will budget for and focus on the cost of getting a pet, many don’t realize the cost of acquisition is the least expensive part of pet ownership.

Here are some ideas on how to make taking care of your pet affordable. Lower prices do not have to mean lower quality of care. Your pet can live like royalty on pauper’s wages, if you learn and apply these tips.

What Does It Cost To Get And Take Care Of A Pet?

What Does It Cost To Get And Take Care Of A Pet?

Dogs vs Cats vs Goldfish

For the 65% of American homes that do house a pet, here’s the data on pet popularity:

  • 68% Dog: 68% of homes with pets have a dog
  • 54% Cat: 54% of homes with pets have a cat
  • 17% Fish: 17% of homes with pets keep a fishbowl or aquarium
  • 16% Other Pet: 6% of homes with pets keep other types of pets

Why do those numbers total over 100%? That’s because many people enjoy the company of more than one pet!

From the most expensive category to the least, here’s how you can cut down on the costs of pet care. When it comes to pets (and people)it’s more important to spend time with them than to spend money on them.

PET INDUSTRY SPENDING BREAKDOWN:

category 2014 Actual($ Billion) 2015 Actual($ Billion) % Growth2015 vs. 2014 2016 Estimate($ Billion) % Growth2016 vs. 2015
Food 22.26 23.05 3.5 24.01 4.2
Supplies/ OTC Med 13.75 14.28 3.9 14.98 4.9
Veterinary Care 15.04 15.42 2.5 15.92 3.2
Live Animal Purchases 2.15 2.12 -1.4 2.11 -0.6
Other Services 4.84 5.41 11.8 5.73 5.9
Total 58.04 60.28 3.9 62.75 4.1

How to Save Money on Pet Supplies

The number one concern here is safety. That chew toy may be inexpensive, but if it’s made of materials that will cause health problems or an emergency visit to the vet, it cost a whole lot more than it saved.

The average pet owner spends $182 per year on supplies and non-prescription medicines. Many spend much more, but you don’t have to be a big spender on pet supplies. Your pet doesn’t need fancy toys to be happy.

Here are our top tips on cutting back on veterinary expenses without cutting back on proper attention to healthcare.

Tip #1: You may be able to save considerably by shopping online.

This is especially true of over-the-counter medicines and other health-related products. We don’t recommend ordering pet food online because it’s usually not the cost cost-effective option – especially when shipping charges are factored in.

Pet supplies, though, are an entirely different story. Normally, the weight isn’t exorbitant and the options are many. Always check for digital coupons when shopping for pet supplies, online or off.

High quality products will save you money in the long run. Don’t believe all the hype on supplements. Read ingredients and make sure you aren’t paying for a lot of fillers like water, alcohol, glycerin, flax seed, or cellulose. Quality can vary widely.

Always be careful about country of origin and seller. Manufacturers sometimes illegally duplicate brand-name items and claim approval seals they don’t really possess. Buying local does not guarantee you’ll get superior quality. Quality and safety depend on where the item is sourced.

Tip #2: Be creative with pet supplies.

Let’s see, that super-cool soft and chewy toy ball for dogs and cats costs $8.97, but tennis balls are three for a dollar. Which should you choose? Always err on the side of safety, but smart shoppers know anything earmarked for pets is going to be more expensive than the generic item. We’ve seen dogs who love playing with a knotted up old tee shirt, but scorn the seven-dollar tug toy. Go figure. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on toys. Most pets are much happier getting attention from their owners or going for a walk.

Tip #3: Used pet supplies are often available at bargain prices.

Safety first, but don’t let the used status keep you from saving money. Check yard sales and thrift stores for items you can clean and reuse. You may find that $25 stainless steel food bowl for $2 elsewhere. The potential savings here can definitely justify the time it takes to stop and look. You can search online for used items as well. From freecycle.org to Facebook pages specific to your locality, people often have quality items they are willing to sell for a pittance of the original price. Make sure your supplies are age and size appropriate. A small dog doesn’t need a big bone, and an adult cat doesn’t need the extra calories in kitten treats.

How to Save Money on Pet Services and Acquisition

The statistics say 12% of the national expenditure for pet care goes to pet services and acquisition – 9% for services and 3% for acquisition. The big take-away here is the overwhelming temptation for the initial cost of ownership (acquisition) to take center stage in the adopting decision… yet it’s the least of all pet expense factors.

No matter where you decide to get your new friend – even if you’re getting it free from a relative or friend — do your homework to be sure you are adopting a pet that fits your lifestyle.

Puppies are not for everyone; they can be destructive and will need training, medical care, puppy vaccinations, and spay or neuter. Large dogs could push or pull their elderly owners down, potentially causing a broken bone or bad bruise.

Check these tips for saving money when you get and take care of your pet:

Tip #1: Pet adoption saves you money and saves an animal’s life.

Your cost to acquire a pet from a breeder will be several times higher than the cost to adopt. Not only that, but many older adoptable animals are already trained and ready to assume a role in the family. You say you’ll only settle for a purebred animal? No worries, many of the pets you’ll find at the local shelter are purebred. Here are some stats from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

    • Of the 7.6 million animals arriving at animal shelters each year, about 2.7 million are adopted and 2.7 million are euthanized. About 26% of the dogs received at shelters are reunited with their owners.
    • 41% of cats that enter shelters are euthanized. Only 5% are returned to owners.
    • Most pets are acquired from family members.
    • Just 10% of animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.
    • Of pets relinquished by owners, the most frequent reason given is that a new home or apartment doesn’t allow pets.

If adopting from a rescue, make sure the rescue is reputable. Some agencies call themselves a “rescue” when they really aren’t. A good rescue organization will know the temperament of the pet, will have it vetted and up to date on vaccinations, will have it spayed or neutered, and will be able to tell you if the pet has any chronic medical issues that will need treatment. The good rescue groups might charge a little more for the adoption fee, but you’ll save money in the long run by avoiding unforeseen medical bills.

Don’t overlook the adoption of older pets. They can be calmer and well-trained. Many senior pets need a home after their senior humans are no longer able to care for them.

Tip #2: Learn to groom and take care of nail needs for your pet.

Bathing and caring for your pet’s hygienic needs not only saves considerable cash, but can be a special time of companionship. There are plenty of educational materials available to help you get started. Even if you take your pet to a groomer, you can stretch out the time between visits by regularly bathing and brushing your pet’s coat in-between.

Tip #3: Pet-proof your home to cut down on damage to both the home and the pet.

The techniques here are similar to those enacted when toddlers live in the home: use childproof latches, keep trash cans covered, keep the toilet lid closed, beware of choking hazards, secure all poisons, and such. Decide whether your pet will be allowed free access in the home or will be confined to a certain area when no one is home. Put breakables out of reach, along will pillows, toys, and shoes that might be chewed. You’ll not only gain peace of mind, but could save the stress and financial impact of a medical emergency or home repair.

Tip #4: Do Your Own Training.

Pet stores and local organizations will train your pet for you, but they’ll also charge a hefty fee. By training your own, you’ll strengthen your relationship with the pet and save money to boot. It’s easy to find books and videos to lead you through the training sequences. An in-between option is for you and your pet to attend training classes together.

Saving Money on Pet Care – You Can Do It

The joys of sharing your home with a pet are many. Pets provide smiles, love, and companionship. They can help protect your home and family, keep your property free of rodents and snakes, they can even help improve your health.

Pets are well worth the money it takes to acquire and care for them, but you don’t have to break the bank to be able to afford a pet. The tips we’ve provided here can help you save money on pet food, veterinary care, pet supplies and more.

For more information, visit Coupon Chief’s Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Pet Care.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Great post! We just rescued a collie mix a few months ago so this is very timely. Thank you for all the tips:)




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