How You Can Get Cheaper Pet Care Without Cheaping Out

Cheaper Pet Care

You love your pet as though it was your own child. And of course you do, because it’s your little furry or scaly or feathery boy or girl.

You want the best for them, but you also don’t have unlimited money to spend. And as much as you wish you could take out a mortgage to buy them an entire house of their own to live in, that might not be a great idea. It could leave you with bad credit, and also you’d have to clean an entire house of pet droppings.

But worry not! We have the tips you need to treat your animal children well without depleting the money you’ve put aside for their college fund.

Save on food.

You’d like to hire a private chef to personally prepare seven-course meals for your fur baby every night, but that might not be totally possible. So how can you get quality food for your pets without losing the means to keep a roof over their adorable heads?

Ashley Jacobs, founder of Sitting for a Cause (@Sitting4aCause), offered this tip for finding cheaper, but still delicious, pet food: “Take the time to comparison shop to find the best prices on pet food. Sometimes buying online as opposed to a brick and mortar store can be cheaper, so always check Amazon and too. Additionally, there are certain brands on Chewy where if you sign up for recurring deliveries, they will give you a discount on the food, saving you even more money!”

Save on not food too.

But of course, your pet needs more than just food, even if that’s the number one thing they ask for (especially whatever you’re eating because it looks so much better than the food you put in their bowl and if you really loved them wouldn’t you give them some please please please).

For example, toys! Although your pet’s favorite toy will always be whatever you least want them to destroy, you should probably consider getting them some other form of entertainment. “Invest in more durable toys for your pets,” Jacobs told us. “This will cost more at the onset but will save you money over time since the more durable the toy, the less frequently you’ll have to replace toys. Cheaper toys tend to tear/rip/get destroyed more quickly, costing you more money in the long run.”

Your pet probably doesn’t think they need grooming at all, but anyone who has to smell them might feel differently. That’s why Jacobs offered this advice for saving on grooming costs: “Buy your own shampoos and brushes for your pets and groom them yourself. This will save you tons of money on grooming expenses. However, if you are uncomfortable trimming your pet’s nails, take them to the groomer or vet to get them trimmed for your pet’s safety.”

When the pet parents are away…

Sadly, you’ll occasionally have to leave your pet on their own. That means you’ll need someone to look after them, and unless they’re a close friend or family member, you should probably be paying that person. But how can you find someone in your price range?

Jacobs has a recommendation: “If you are headed out of town and need someone to watch your furry loved one, consider skipping the boarding facility and hiring a pet sitter. Not only will your pet receive more individualized attention, you can find someone who is in your price range who will take care of your pet while providing the extra security of having someone check in on your home while you are away, deterring burglars. Sites like Sitting for a Cause can help you find a sitter in your price range with the qualifications you are looking for!”

Rover is another option for finding a pet sitter online or becoming a pet sitter yourself. Here’s what the experts at Rover (@RoverDotCom) had to say: “Rather than dropping beloved pets off at crowded kennels or burdening friends, folks are instead turning to dog-loving neighbors for assistance. Pet parents get a better, more personalized service at about half the price of traditional boarding businesses and Rover sitters are able to make supplemental income playing with dogs—right from their own home and on their own schedule. Rover sitters set their own rates, but they generally only range between $25-$35 per night for dog sitting and $10-$20 for dog walking.

“The Rover platform also provides premium dog and sitter insurance, 24/7 vet consultation, and a mobile app that lets dog walkers track and share information with pet parents—including when they arrived at the home, a GPS map of the dog’s walk, a personal message from the sitter, photos of the dog while in their care, and notes of any bathroom breaks along the way.”

You vet what you pay for.

Unfortunately, the most expensive part of owning a pet is also one of the most important parts. Like medical treatment for humans, medical treatment for your animal children can be very expensive. Is there anything you can do to keep your pets healthy without going broke?

One option is to follow Jacobs’s advice: “Get in touch with your local animal shelter to see if they offer free or low-cost vaccine and/or spay/neuter days. This way you can save on the immunizations your pet needs as well as help prevent health issues that would be caused by not vaccinating them or having them spayed or neutered.

“Make sure your pet sees a vet at least once a year for checkups. Just like with people, preventative health is key for detecting potential issues early and nipping them in the bud before they turn into more dire and costly issues later on.”

Rob Jackson, CEO of Healthy Paws (@GoHealthyPaws) pet insurance, agreed on the importance of preventative care and regular vet visits: “Just like humans, everything from dental check-ups to vaccines helps your pet live a longer, healthier life. With cats and dogs, preventative care safeguards their basic health, protecting them from big diseases like heartworm or rabies, helping you avoid expensive complications later. While you can’t prevent every accident or illness, taking these precautionary steps can save a lot of stress for both you and your pet further down the road.

“Preventative care goes hand-in-paw with your pet’s annual vet visits. A quick physical and a few tests can rule out any illnesses in the early stages, possibly saving your pet’s life. Again, just like humans, discovering illnesses in their earliest stages means a better chance for recovery and survival.”

That’s some great advice! And what was that we just said about pet insurance?

Pet insurance.

Pet insurance is one way you can handle the cost of potential vet emergencies. We’ve actually written about it before. It works similarly to any other kind of insurance, where you can pay a regular fee to have coverage in the case of an emergency.

Here’s what Jackson had to say: “As soon as you adopt your pup or kitten, enroll them in pet insurance. Getting coverage before any illnesses or chronic conditions arise will help you avoid pre-existing conditions that can be excluded from coverage down the line. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance coverage is provided with no limits on claims; so, if your pet needs treatment for any accident or illness, and it’s not a pre-existing condition, it’s covered. This includes not just accidents and one-off illnesses, but also hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions, diagnostics, x-rays, and prescriptions.

“A limping injury may need diagnostic tools like x-rays and MRIs that can run up to $5,000. We regularly see small claims—an allergy diagnosis and treatment may be $250—as well as catastrophic claims—spinal diseases that can run over $40,000. With veterinary science evolving to treat our pets better and faster, the price tag is higher as well. Pet insurance protects your pets by giving you the financial freedom to seek out the best care possible.”

Another pet insurance provider is Petplan (@Petplan). Their co-CEO, Chris Ashton, reiterated the costs of veterinary care and gave his perspective on the importance of pet insurance: “If there’s one area where a cheaper alternative is not the best thing for your pet, it is veterinary care, hands down. Unfortunately, financial considerations often force pet parents to ask for less expensive (and often less effective) treatments when handed an estimate for care that’s in the thousands. And it happens more than you think: every six seconds a pet parent is faced with a vet bill over $3,000.

“This is where pet insurance saves the day. For a modest monthly fee, pet parents can get up to unlimited annual coverage that can reimburse them 90% of unexpected veterinary expenses. Think of pet insurance like any other catastrophic insurance—you hope you never have to use it, but it’s a lifesaver if you do. A pet parent shouldn’t have to wreck their finances to save their pet after an illness or injury. Pet insurance provides peace of mind that you can always give your pet the best care, regardless of cost.”

Want help choosing between different pet insurance providers? Nick Braun runs (@PetInsQuotes), which allows you to compare different pet insurance providers. Here’s how he described the site: “Just like our counterparts at, Orbitz and LendingTree, we provide customers with options, which drives the price of pet insurance down.”

For some more tips on keeping the cost of vet care down, check out this article from Dr. Michael Dym at (@1800PetMeds).

Now you’re prepared to give your furry (or scaly or feathery) friend everything they deserve, while still leaving a few bucks leftover for yourself.

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Chris Ashton (@Petplan) is the co-founder and co-CEO of Petplan. Chris earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Oxford University, and spent seven years serving as an Officer in the British Royal Marine Commandos. Since launching Petplan in 2006, Chris and his wife Natasha have been successfully involved in the business and philanthropic communities of Philadelphia. Chris has lent his expertise to several business resources and has also been quoted in USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal,, Fortune magazine and, among others.
Nick Braun (@PetInsQuotes) owner of is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in finance and insurance. He is a passionate animal advocate and dedicated insurance agent with licenses in all 50 states. Nick is the first licensed, independent pet insurance agent in the U.S. and has been involved in the pet insurance industry since 2006.
Dr. Michael Dym (@1800PetMeds) of 1800 Pet Meds is a small animal veterinarian who is holistically oriented and believes in providing natural treatments including homeopathy, vaccine alternatives, and nutritional and dietary therapy, if possible, before using strong conventional drugs. Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and is dedicated to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.
Ashley Jacobs, (@Sitting4aCause) is the CEO and Founder of Sitting for a Cause. She is an animal lover committed to helping homeless pets and the proud mom of 9-year-old pup, Diamond.
Rob Jackson, (@GoHealthyPaws) is the co-founder and chief pet protector of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Rob and Co-Founder Steve Siadek met through a local, no-kill animal shelter. As pet parents they envisioned a business that respected pets as family, as well as the development of a foundation to help homeless dogs and cats. Over his 30-year career, Rob has been an entrepreneur, insurance executive, and non-profit devotee.
Rover (@RoverDotCom) connects pet parents with dog people who’ll treat their pets like family whether you need in-home dog boarding, pet sitting, dog walking, or day care. Rover sitters are your rainy-day-dog-walkers. Your every-day-belly-rubbers. Your tug-of-war players. Your middle-of-the-night-pee-breakers. Because we get it—your dog is family. And when you can’t be there, you can trust us keep your dog happy, healthy, and sweet as ever.

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