save money on pet food
Updated April 29, 2021

Save Money on Pet Food and Care: 15 Easy Tips

Saving Money

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We all know it: the cost of veterinary hospital bills are up and through the roof. The outrageous maintenance costs for pets especially cats and dogs make it almost a burden to own one.

Did You Know?

  • Petfinder Fur Keeps Member Survey of 2009 highlighted cost as one of the primary reasons people gave up their pets that year.
  • According to a report by CNBC, care for a cat costs upwards of $1,000 annually, and on average, routine care of a dog requires an outlay of at least $2,000 yearly. In the event of a medical emergency, these figures increase exponentially to over $10,000.
  • The American Pet Product Association (APPA) end of year report of 2018 estimated consumer spending on pets to be $72.13 billion.

The truth is, we love our pets like family in this country, and their presence in our lives means a lot.   However, we have now found that it is possible to give your pets top class treatment and a healthy lifestyle while being prudent with your expenses on them.

In this article, you will learn the various avenues to save money on pet food and get your precious pet premium care at the lowest cost to your pocket.

Most notably, you will also find tips on how to save money on dog food and how to save money on cat food without compromising on the quality of your beloved family member’s nutrition. Dive in!

Open a Savings Account or Invest in Pet Insurance

Being prepared and ready for any emergency will always make financial sense. That is why you should ignore what most people say and invest in pet insurance. Generally, it is advisable to purchase insurance for your pets as early as possible because premiums tend to increase as your pet ages.

Good to Know: There are numerous pet insurance policies available today. You will find some that can only cover illnesses and unexpected accidents, and you will find others that offer discounts on routine care in addition to unforeseen circumstances.


  • If you feel paying into pet insurance is too expensive or is too high risk, high reward, you should consider opening a savings account that gains interest for your pet’s vet care. If your pet suffers a fatal emergency, you will be financially ready to deal with it.
  • On the other hand, you get to save money on insurance premiums and invest your money elsewhere if your pet stays healthy throughout its lifetime.
  • Another viable alternative to pet insurance or opening a savings account is investing in veterinary discount plans. A leading company in this industry is Pet Assure. Unlike standard pet insurance, Pet Assure offers pet owners automatic 25% off their fees on every in-house veterinary service provided, ultimately resulting in significant savings. You get this excellent plan for next-to-nothing fees! You do not have to pay any premiums or wait to hit annual deductibles.

Buying in Bulk or Splitting the Bill Helps Save Money on Pet Food

If your pet’s food is draining your pocket, you really should consider buying it in bulk. Whether you’re getting the food at a local warehouse or online, buying larger quantities of the same quality product should save you anywhere from 10% to 30% in cost.

  • If your pet eats canned food, you should consider buying it by the case as the discount most stores in America will give you will save you money in the long run.
  • Looking out for coupons could also save money on pet food. ‘Buy two get one free’ or ‘buy one get one’ deals could prove very thrifty if you are willing to purchase more than one or two bags.
  • This will help you save money and time visiting the store in the future.
  • Another tip to save money on pet food is to look for friends or neighbors who have similar pets to yours and split the food bills with them. You could also split the cost of purchasing medicine in bulk as well.
  • You receive greater discounts when you buy larger quantities, so combining forces with a friend makes perfect economic sense. It will lead to ultimate savings if you ask me.

Good to Know: Take note, however, that the sell in buying in bulk is only evident if you can efficiently store your amassed pet food/medicine. Little critters, ants and rodents must not gain access to your stockpile or else the purpose is defeated.

Alternative Tip: It is recommended you mark out and prepare a dry, clean and airtight space in your home in anticipation of receiving the vast mass of food and medicine. Be careful not to buy too much pet food and medicine though, so they do not expire before you get to use them all.

Use Cash Back Apps

If getting Billy well fed is becoming more expensive by the day, and you have been researching how to save money on dog food, you’ve reached the right place. Perhaps you should use a cash back application the next time you want to order food for Billy online. These applications require nothing from you except you signing up, inputting your credit card information and voila!

These applications work in the background and automatically help you save money on pet food the next time you buy from an online shop. You may ask how?

If you access the online shop you purchased from through a cash back app, you directly get paid back a specified percentage of your cost outlay. Nothing could beat getting paid for purchasing pet food you were already going to buy in the first place. Popular cash back apps you could consider using include Ibotta, Rakuten, and Shopkick.

  • Rakuten (formerly Ebates) pays back as much as 2% to 5% of the money you will spend online on your pet’s food.
  • Ibotta works a little bit differently as you have to answer straightforward questions about the pet food you purchased and upload a snapshot of your receipt before it remits you a percentage of your money back.
  • Shopkick works by paying you for walking into a store that is listed on the Shopkick app.  If you’re one who prefers shopping for your pet food physically, this is a viable option for you.

Make Your Pet Food at Home

If you are looking for how to save money on dog food, you really should consider cooking the food at home. This assertion doesn’t hold for dogs alone; it also goes for cats and birds, as well as reptiles, rodents, and other small pets.

Good to Know: Homemade food doesn’t only help you save on human food alone; it also helps you to save money on pet food too. Making homemade pet food is not complicated at all as you can easily get raw ingredients from your immediate vicinity and for friendly prices at that.

  • For example, you can easily make healthy dog food from scraps you can purchase for pennies from your local butcher. For peanuts, the guy at the meat and deli section of your favorite grocery store could also help you out with turkey and chicken scraps.
  • The key is trying out different homemade pet food recipes until you hit the jackpot and find one or more that your beloved pet loves.
  • If it comes to the worst and you feel your pet is not getting enough nourishment from your homemade food, you can easily supplement it with a small bag or two of store-bought processed food.

The mixture is a win-win for your pet’s health and your wallet.

Diligent Dental Care Helps Save Money on Pet Care

Your pet’s mouth is a gateway into its entire body. So, keeping its mouth clean is very vital to keeping it healthy but a lot of people do not know this.

Recent pet research claims that gum disease in pets can eventually lead to fatal heart disease. Crunchy kibble and hard biscuits can reduce the tarter in the teeth, but the most potent method to remove tarter from the gum line is by brushing your pet’s teeth regularly.

  • For instance, brushing your dog’s teeth every day can add up to four years to its life. While most pet owners will probably not adhere to a daily routine, starting the habit and doing it reasonably regularly will help you to save unnecessary veterinary bills down the line.
  • Professional dental cleaning can cost as much as 200 USD per session. On the other hand, you can purchase a dental kit for your pet for as low as 5 USD. It is not enough to buy the kit though. Using it for your pet could shield it from a significant number of diseases in the future.

Groom Your Pet Yourself

If yours is a pet that needs to be trimmed every two months or so, providing professional grooming will take a toll on your wallet in the not so distant future. You can save good money on pet care if you take up the responsibility to bathe and brush your pet yourself instead of hiring a groomer or a vet to do it for you.

  • Different pets have their separate grooming methods. If you don’t know what to do, there are many internet videos available that can teach you how to trim and groom special pets.
  • If you own a bird, for example, trimming its wings will help to eliminate flight-related accidents. You are guaranteed that whatever investment you make in a trimmer will pay for itself within six months of its purchase.
  • If it is a small rabbit or rodent you own, dedicating enough time to bathe it could prove difficult because of the size and that’s understandable. However, with a cat or a dog, you have to wash it regularly to eliminate bad odors and what not, or you risk an unhealthy animal.
  • If you cannot give your pet proper grooming, doing something or anything helps. So, at the point when you take the pet for professional grooming, it won’t cost as much as when the animal was filthy.

Make Your Pet’s Toys Yourself

Getting new toys and accessories for your pets could be very expensive. A viable alternative which would massively help you to save money on pet care is making simple toys yourself.

  • There are a lot of innovative and ingenious ideas for creating toys from household items on the internet. All you need to do is find one that you think your pet will love and make it.
  • If building your pet toys from scratch is proving difficult, you can take the shortcut route and attend garage sales. At a garage sale, you will find numerous toys, clippers, and bowls all being sold for pocket-friendly prices.
  • It is not enough to make your pet’s toys yourself, keeping them germ-free and clean could help you save future medical costs. Just throwing your pet’s toys into the dishwasher and giving them a hot wash once every month will not only keep your pet healthy, it will also increase the lifespan of the toys.

Have Regular Veterinary Checkups

It may seem counter-productive but regular visits to the vet is a cheap way to keep your pet healthy. Then, early diagnosis of diseases will mean a conservative treatment which will save you some bucks.

  • Your pet should visit the vet at least twice every year. The number of visits should vary depending on the pet’s species and age though.
  • Taking preventative measures is the best way to escape high vet bills. Waiting for your pets to get sick could prove costly in the long run.
  • Your total expenditure on a routine top-to-bottom checkup now could end up saving you thousands of dollars in veterinary bills in the future.

Trim Your Pet’s Nails Yourself

Pro groomers and vets will trim your pets’ nails for you for between $10 and $20. This may not seem like a lot but these fees accumulate over time and could become excessively unbearable at some point.

  • Trimming your pet’s nails yourself will help you save a lot on pet care in the long run. Peradventure you cannot do the trimming on your own, make a conscious effort to ensure that your vet does it whenever your pet is there for a check-up.

This will save you from having to take the pet back separately for a nail trimming, for which the vet will charge you separately.

Vaccinate Your Pet Yourself

Because vaccinations are given in series, they can be very costly for you if administered at a veterinary clinic.

Good to Know: You can save money on pet care by administering vaccinations to your pet on your own. The process is easier than most people think. Doctors Foster and Smith in this video show you how to prepare a vaccine shot and give it to your pet using a dog as an example.

Give Your Pet the Best Diet

Before you purchase any food f

  • willing to take advantage of these sort of opportunities to save money on pet care by keeping yourself informed about these campaigns taking place near you.
  • Spaying and neutering your

or your pet, first educate yourself on the right ingredients your pet needs in its food to help it grow. Do not just buy any food off the shelf because it is cheap. Purchasing the cheapest pet food is not the best practice because premium brand food contributes to the health of your pet. You won’t need to spend on health issues arising from feeding your pet cheap food.

Take Full Advantage of Low-Cost Spaying and Neutering

Neutering campaigns are a regular fixture in the US. At these campaigns, there are always vet hospitals and various associations that offer to offset a percentage of the cost of the process.

  • You should be ready and willing to take advantage of these sort of opportunities to save money on pet care by keeping yourself informed about these campaigns taking place near you.
  • Spaying and neutering your pet improves its behavioral health while helping you to avoid dealing with a litter you cannot afford.

Exercise Together!

The beginning of this article hammered on the fact that veterinary bills are mostly on the high side, so it is wise to keep your faithful friend happy and healthy by ensuring it gets adequate exercise.

Apart from keeping them in excellent shape (overweight could be a problem!), regular exercise will help improve any poor behavioral issues your pet may be having. So, take a cue from the famous saying: ‘A tired dog is a happy dog.’

Choose Durable Products

If your pet is a cat, rodent, or bird, spending money on bedding every month is not an option. It is a necessity. Selecting materials that are cheap and long-lasting will go a long way in helping you save money on pet care. These materials must have the unique quality of not producing an odor though.

Good to Know: You could also build cheap bedding from abandoned pallets and wooden platforms in your vicinity. All it takes is a little ingenuity and dedication. Your pet will be forever grateful to you.

Provide Excellent Love And Care

How long your pet will live and its standard of living relies solely on the care you give to it. Pets usually thrive in environments where they get a lot of affection. Keeping a close eye on your faithful friend can help you notice changes happening to it in time be it behavioral changes or specific diseases surfacing.

Showing your pet love and warmth at all times will ultimately help you to save money on pet food and care.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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