HAVING a furry friend is expensive – but the cost of living crisis is piling further pressure on pet owners.
Dog and cat shelters have reported a sharp rise in the number of families asking to give up beloved pets due to money problems.
But there are lots of ways to cut costs while still giving pets all of the love and care they deserve.
Here Harriet Cooke explores the options.
Use the trolley.co.uk website to find the best deals on pet food.
A box of 40 pouches of Pedigree dog food was £13 from Iceland this week, but £14 from Morrisons. Shopping around could save £50 a year.
Check online pet shops, discount shops like The Range or B&M or bulk buy stores like Costco.
Gruppo di consumatori Quale? also reckons owners can save £130 a year by switching from a premium dog food to a supermarket’s own brand.
TRIM THE COST
Visiting a professional dog groomer costs an average £43 or £258 per year for six visits, secondo Vouchers.co.uk.
Cut this cost by DIY grooming including regular brushing, nail clipping, cleaning around their eyes, trimming coats and occasional baths.
Check out YouTube for tips on caring for your specific breed’s coat, the General Pet Grooming and Go Groomer channels are a good place to start.
Find cheap tools, like a Furminator deshedding tool, and there’s currently 25 per cent off at Pets at Home, costing from £19.50 depending on the size of the dog.
Search Gumtree, eBay and Facebook marketplace for secondhand equipment and toys.
DOG IT YOURSELF
Save on pricey dog treats and snacks by making your own.
Check Battersea Dogs and Cats home website for recipes using cupboard staples like flour, rolled oats, Questi hack domestici potrebbero cambiarti la vita, banana, honey and peanut butter.
Repurpose what you have at home for toys and bedding. An old duvet can make comfortable bedding so long as there’s enough padding and puppies love old tennis balls stuffed into a sock.
SAVE on cat litter by bulk-buying or make your own from old newspaper, sand, or wood chippings.
In alternativa, check out Asda’s Just Essentials range for its 10kg bag of clumping litter for £1.85, which is cheapest of all supermarkets.
It’s usually cheaper to pay for flea and worm treatments by buying a prescription from the vet and then ordering online.
Some vets charge around £83 for a six-month supply of Advocate flea treatment (six pipettes). From Pet Drugs Online, a pack of six costs just £23.45.
Factoring in the prescription cost, you’re paying a total of £48.45 to buy online, a saving of around £35 on the cost of buying from the vet.
Sometimes your vet might offer a pay monthly scheme giving you a discount. Work out which is cheapest.
Take your dog to charity-run training classes to save £115.
Dog training sessions cost between £20 and £70 each, says Bark.com, but some local charities, such as the Dog’s Trust, run four-week courses for £65.
Or try an app. The Zigzag app’s programme is £20 for three months or £40 for a year (currently reduced from £80).
Apps like PocketVet allow you to speak to a vet for £14.99.
You may also be eligible for free or low-cost treatment from the PDSA, Blue Cross or RSPCA clinics if you receive certain benefits, such as the housing element of Universal Credit.
The PDSA has a free symptom checker at bit.ly/3bDOBo8.
I love my cats but they’ve turned my wallet into a cash machine
Sun reporter Harriet Cooke, who adopted her two cats, Bill and Madge, eight years ago from a rescue charity, talks of unexpected costs.
Don’t get me wrong I love my cats – but they’ve turned my home into a house of horrors and my wallet into a cash machine.
On top of the standard costs of ownership (£12 a week for Felix pouches and biscuits), £20 a month insurance and £16 a month for flea and worm treatments, there have been some unforeseen additional expenses.
I’m always stocking up on antibacterial cleaning sprays as our house has become the torture chamber of endless rats and mice bought through the cat flap. I never know what “gifts” I might find when I come down each morning!
Once I forgot to give the cats their flea treatment and the whole house became infested – meaning I had to buy five cans of Indorex spray, £10 each, to spray the house and hoover every room daily for a week. I never forgot to treat them for fleas again.
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And then there’s wear and tear damage they do to the house, the clawing at the carpets (I leave old jumpers on the stairs to deter this), the swinging from the sofa, and the vets’ bills for Bill’s warfare injuries against other cats. Over £100 every visit.
I’d suggest keeping your pets to specific rooms if, like mine, they tend to think of the house as a playground to destroy.
Of course they repay us in love, well one of them does, but it’s important to budget for the rollercoaster of blood and adventure these animals live through every day.