Unless you’ve been living on a secluded volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the relentless news around the cost of living crisis.
From fuel to food, it seems like the cost of everything is going up and we’re all looking for money saving tips. For some pet owners however it’s far more serious, with charities like the Dogs Trust saying that the number of owners looking to give up their dog has risen to the highest levels in nearly a decade, with many simply unable to afford to keep them any longer.
Pet health experts Bob Martin are here to share some money saving tips and advice on how to navigate the cost of living crisis without compromising on the care of your four-legged friend.
“The current economic crisis will inevitably lead to some people having to give up their dogs because they simply can’t afford to look after them” says Chris Socratous, Senior Brand Manager at Bob Martin. “The RSPCA have seen a 25% increase in abandonment incidents this year, with research suggesting 78% of owners feel the cost of living crisis is going to impact on their beloved pets, with 19% worried about even being able to afford to feed them.”
“With a record 35 million pets now in the UK, this is a heart-breaking statistic. As a team of pet lovers ourselves we couldn’t simply stand by and do nothing, so hopefully some of our money saving tips for dog owners will help ease the burden on pet owners across the UK.”
1. Buy in Bulk
Bigger packs tend to equal better value, so whilst buying larger packs may involve a bigger outlay initially, it’ll save money in the long run. You could also look at switching to an alternative brand, however if you’re doing this with food we’d encourage you to carefully read the ingredients and nutritional information before switching. We’d also suggest transitioning gradually to avoid upsetting your dog’s tummy.
If you’ve got a fussy pooch who only likes one brand of food however, consider stocking-up when that brand is on offer. According to a recent Mintel report, 20% of pet owners are worried about costs and stocking up on promoted items is their preferred way to save money.
2. Portion Control
This is one of the best ways to cut costs and don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you starve your dog! We know that you might feel a bit mean when they’re looking up at you with those puppy dog eyes, but believe me, you’re doing them a favour by measuring out their food. Despite only 15% of owners admitting to being concerned about their pets’ weight, 51% of UK dogs are actually overweight.
Small reductions in portion size can help bring their weight down to a healthier level and help prevent other joint and mobility issues developing as they get older due to carrying that extra timber. The same Mintel report found that 39% of pet owners said their pet would benefit from losing some weight, so deep down you know it’s the right thing to do.
3. Do It Yourself
Now we’re not suggesting making your own toys and baking your own dog treats, even though these are two great ways to save money. We’re focussing on things you can do yourself that involve ‘some’ but not ‘lots’ of effort. The first one is grooming.
We all need a good trim from time to time, however you can increase the time between professional visits by doing a bit of DIY grooming at home. Do a bit of research into what kind of grooming your dog needs and what tools you might need. Remember to try to make it a positive experience for your dog. Ensure you’ve got lots of treats to hand and give lots of praise when they’re a good boy or girl.
Secondly, if you pay for doggy day care or a dog walker whilst you’re out at work, consider reaching-out to trusted friends and family who may be in the same boat and see if you can help each other out with some kind of group rota. On a day that you’re working from home, perhaps you can offer to look after a friend or family member’s dog and vice versa.
4. Regular Healthcare Treatments
Keeping-up with regular healthcare treatments for your dog is key. Skipping their monthly flea, tick and worm treatments might seem like an easy way to save a few pennies, but it could cost you a lot of pounds in the long run in expensive vet bills. These parasites can carry a range of harmful diseases that can make your pet really poorly, so it’s just not worth the risk.
If you currently get your flea, tick and worming products from the vet, consider switching to products available in the supermarket that you can conveniently pick-up alongside your weekly shop. Often these contain the same ingredients, but can work out more cost-effective. We suggest making a note on your calendar of when treatments are due so that you don’t forget.
5. Get Insured
So this suggestion may seem a little counterintuitive, as it may be seen as an additional monthly cost if you don’t already have insurance. There will always be the temptation to take the risk and not insure your pet, however we all know someone who has been hit with an extortionate vet bill and wishes that they had insurance. That said, it’s important to ready your policy documents carefully to ensure that everything you ‘think’ is covered actually is. This will help any nasty surprises in the unfortunate event that you ever have to make a claim.
If your dog does need medication, another way to potentially save some money is to order their medication online once the vet has written you a prescription. It’s likely that they’ll charge a small fee for writing it, but you could save some money on the medication by shopping around online. What we would urge however is that you don’t look for any shortcuts when it comes to medication, as you’d never forgive yourself if anything went wrong.
Share Your Top Tips For Saving Money
Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve found useful? Share them in the comments below. Click here for ways to adventure for less and save money while travelling with your dog.
For more helpful advice on caring for your pet’s healthcare needs head over to bobmartin.co.uk.