Owning a pet is far from cheap.
In their first year of life, puppies will cost their owner an average of $1,270, while kittens cost around $1,070. After that, pet parents continue to spend around $500 a year on their four-legged-children.
If you’re a pet parent, you know that you can’t put a price on your furry friend’s love. But that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t like to save some cash on your dog or cat’s usual expenses.
Keep reading to learn 6 clever ways that you can score pet supplies for less.
1. Shop Around
The most important thing you can do if you’re looking to buy pet supplies for less is to shop around. When it comes to popular human supplies, like your favorite soda or the toilet paper brand that your prefer, you probably have a good idea of what’s a good price and what isn’t.
But when it comes to buying pet supplies, it can be a lot more difficult to figure out whether you’re getting a good price. An item like a dog bed, cat toys, or treats can vary wildly in price from one store or website to the next.
Budget pet supplies like a simple dog bed could be under $10 at one store and be 4 or 5 times that at the next.
With fewer pet stores around than grocery or department stores, many pet supply shops depend on shoppers buying what they need rather than driving across town to check out the next store.
If you want to beat the system, you need to shop around. While a few bucks spent on a toy or a bag of treats might not make a big difference, when shopping for big items, like beds, medications, or food, be sure to check more than one store or website before you buy.
2. Don’t Buy Treats or Kibble in Stores
Some of the biggest markups in the pet supply industry are in food and treats.
Many kibbles feature the same basic ingredients. Yet, one bag of dog food might be $10 and the next might be closer to $100.
Even the same exact same dog food in the exact same size bag might be much more expensive in one location than the next.
When you’re needing to buy a large bag of dog food every month or every other month, even a few dollars difference can add up fast.
To ensure you’re getting the best price on your cat or dog’s food, always shop online and compare costs from one site to the next.
3. Buy Direct
Kibble and catnip aren’t the only items that get a markup when they hit store shelves.
Other big-ticket items, like dog cages and cat houses, are also much more expensive when purchased from boutique shops or even chain pet stores.
When it comes to making big purchases like these, it’s best to see if they can be purchased directly from manufacturers or from a wholesale distributor. This is a great way to save some cash because you’ll avoid a big portion of the markup stores place on them.
One downside to buying direct is not getting to see the items in person first. For items like dog crates and cat houses, this means guessing on what size you need.
Do your research first to make sure you get the right height cat house or the correct dog crate sizes.
4. Choose Generic
Your cat isn’t going to notice if their toys are made by that organic pet supply brand. Let’s face it, they’re probably going to be more interested in the box they come in anyways.
Since your pet won’t notice the difference between an expensive toy and a cheap one, shopping for generic products is a great choice.
Generic, budget pet supplies, including flea and tick medications or even treats, often contain the same ingredients as major name brands, but at a fraction of the cost.
Just be sure to do your research before you buy. Talk to your pet’s vet before switching their medication. And make sure that the generic pet food you choose doesn’t contain harmful or unhealthy additives to make up for lacking fresh, more expensive ingredients.
5. Make Your Own Pet Food
Pet food is one of the biggest expenses for dog and cat parents.
If you don’t mind putting in a little work, one great way to cut your costs is by supplementing kibble with fresh ingredients or homemade foods.
Fruits and veggies like carrots, apples, blueberries, and green beans are all great for dogs. Add them to their food to make it go further, or use it as a healthy snack instead of expensive treats.
You can also make your own dog and cat treats out of simple ingredients like peanut butter, wheat flour, and eggs. They’ll cost a fraction of the price of store-bought treats, and your pet will still love them!
6. Ask for Coupons
You may not find many coupons for pet supplies in your weekly newspaper. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Many pet supply stores and brands offer discount coupons on their websites. Couponing can help save you hundreds of dollars a year on items that you already buy.
If you don’t find any coupons there, you can also reach out to the brands you use to ask for coupons for dog and cat food and other supplies.
Dogs and cats have different food and nutrition needs at different stages of their lives.
When you’re switching from puppy to adult food, or need healthy weight or senior nutrition options, reach out to your favorite pet food brands. They’ll likely be eager to send you coupons and sometimes even samples to try out new food options for your pet.
Finding Pet Supplies for Less
Shopping around, avoiding expensive pet shops, buying big items directly, choosing generic, using coupons, and supplementing pet food with fresh ingredients are all great ways to get pet supplies for less.
You’ll still get to spoil your beloved pet and keep some extra cash in your pocket at the same time.
If you’re looking for other smart ways to save this fall, check out these tips for clothes shopping on a budget next.