Having a pet is an expensive business. Even when you take the initial cost, pet insurance, vets bills and holiday care out of the equation the day-to-day costs are still pretty steep.
The PSDA calculated the average cost of caring for a medium-sized dog was £27,000 throughout 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
Whilst local stores, such as Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local can be convenient, research from Which? found that it costs an average of 9.5% more to shop at local stores than it does to at bigger supermarkets.
As it can cost up to £400 per year to buy pet food, this potential saving of almost £40 is quite significant should you switch to bigger supermarkets.
- Groom your pet in-between sessions
Professional grooming for 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 keeping on top of basic grooming tasks such as regular brushing or the occasional bath.
There are even a ton 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, but it will extend the time needed between professional grooming sessions. You could reduce the number of required sessions and price by half to £129.
- Create a dog walking or pet-sitting club
Paying for someone to walk your dog can be a costly expense, averaging £11.25 per walk, or £585 per year, should they get one a week.
To completely cut this cost, speak to your pet-owning friends and neighbors, and ask if they’d like to from 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 holiday.
With the average boarding kennel costing £120 for a week – this takes the total yearly saving to £705, including the saving of pet-walking.
- Buy your prescriptions online
Buying medicine for your pet can be expensive, but did you know that you can ask for the prescription and order what you need from a certified online pharmacy for a fraction of the cost?
For example, petdrugsonline.co.uk claim to save you up to 76% on any pet care, and they have a rating of 4.9/5 according to Feefo.
- Take your dog to charity ran training classes
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 your pets portion sizes
An estimated 40% of dogs in the UK are overweight so one way to have them lose them some pounds and you to gain some, is to weigh their food.
To work out how much you should be feeding your dog, look at the body condition system to calculate whether your dog is too thin, too heavy, or ideal. You can then work out the right food portion from there.
- Brush your dog’s teeth
One of the most common reasons of tooth and gum disease in dogs is due to their owner’s not brushing their dog’s teeth correctly, or often enough. In fact, the average cost of a dentist having 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 this yourself at home with many dentists sharing a step-by-step guide online.
- Purchase pet insurance to save you money in the long run
Although purchasing pet insurance comes with a monthly (or annual) cost, enrolling your pet on a policy can help offset the costs of preventative care along with accidents and illnesses.
However, make sure to obtain a policy as soon as you get a pet, as waiting until the pet is older increases their chances of needing a premium-priced policy, due to underlying health conditions.