Last month we took our cat in for his well care visit and rabies shot. All in all, it went well; next visit he has to have some blood work done to monitor any side effects of his current medication. Having him has been a treat for us, but it’s also a responsibility and pet costs can really add up.
With the economy affecting so many people, including pet owners, I wanted to share some tips on how you can save money on pet care for your furry (or feathered) friend.
How to Find a Good Vet (Within Your Budget)
Some local shelters offer low cost vet services if you meet certain income requirements. When I was in college, this was the best option for me as I could pay for all the visits and services my cat needed at the time. The only disadvantage was the limited hours of the clinic.
When we moved to North Carolina, we took our pet to the closest office. It was all right until my cat developed some bladder problems. After I noticed it wasn’t getting better, I asked my friends who they would recommend.
I got a referral to my friend’s vet. Happily, it worked out–my cat is doing much better and I found a vet that I was comfortable visiting.
You may be able to find a high quality veterinarian at a reasonable price just by asking your friends.
Look at the Office, Not Just the Doctor
Going to a multi-doctor office has many benefits:
- More appointment options. More doctors usually means more flexibility with their schedule. If you’re working, this can help you by seeing if you can get an appointment before or after work.
- Less likely to need a back up. If your main doctor is out of the office, you don’t have to worry.
I will note that you should make sure that all the doctors are on the same page with pet care. The vet we use have several “traditional” vets and some holistic vets. You want your pet’s care to remain fairly consistent, so ask questions about the vet’s philosophy to make sure your pet is getting the care that you expect.
Hunt for Deals to Save Money on Pet Care
Sometimes deals can be only a question away. Check with your vet, local stores and online to see if you can reduce your pet bill.
- Ask for a discount. With expensive procedures, some vet offices may be willing to cut you a deal if you pay the balance in full.
- Negotiable a plan. On the other side of the coin, if the needed procedure is more than you can afford at this moment, don’t be afraid to ask the vet if you can work out a payment plan. Splitting the payments over 3 months can smooth out your monthly expenses while you take care of your pet’s health.
- Coupons count. Find and use coupons to keep your expenses down for pet supplies like pet food. Sites like RetailMeNot.com can be helpful in discovering a 10-15 percent off online coupon code.
- Do it yourself. Save yourself the money of a grooming service and learn to care for your buddy yourself. It’ll save you money and give you time with your pet.
By lowering your recurring pet expenses, you can save quite a bit of money when taking care of your pet in the long haul. Make sure that you take a part of the money saved and put it into an account to cover for an unexpected expenses or simply add it to your emergency fund.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about taking care of your pet. How many of you own a pet? What kind? How did you find your current vet? What have been some of the most expensive procedures or supplies that you’ve had to buy?
This post was originally published on April 11, 2012.