News flash: Today is National Dog Day!
If this esteemed holiday escaped your notice as you were setting out the water bowl and kibble this morning, you might consider picking up a bag of treats on your way home. We all know the price of forgetting important dates and anniversaries with loved ones, and frankly, there’s no more wounding side eye than canine side eye.
While you’re celebrating your love for the four-legged friend in your life, you might be thinking about how rewarding dog ownership is. How fulfilling. How endearing. How sweet.
And how expensive.
But there are legit ways to save money on your pet — be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, snake or emotional support ferret. Here are a few.
Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Pet
1. Join Pet Store Loyalty Clubs
Signing up with programs like PetSmart’s Treats loyalty program and Pet Supermarket’s VIP Rewards can pay off in the form of deals and discounts on items like food and services like pet washes. If you prefer to shop local, independent pet stores offer their own frequent customer rewards.
2. Use Discounted Gift Cards
You can buy discounted gift cards on a number of websites. Most carry cards for more than one pet supply chain.
For example, you’ll find Petco on ABC Gift Cards.
3. Watch for Pet Food Sales
Every pet owner — and pet — has their preferred food brand, and the high-quality ones aren’t cheap.
But even the best pet foods go on sale, so why not stock up when it costs less?
You can find weekly ads for pet supply retailers online. You can also link your email address to your customer loyalty card to get sales alerts.
Check out this handy list for even more ways to save money on your pet.
Get Smart about Pet Insurance
Unexpected vet bills can be the most expensive part of having a pet in the family.
Pet insurance for dogs, cats and even birds can keep the costs of pet care reasonable. While the monthly premiums are an additional expense on top of food, toys, treats and grooming, pet insurance is worth it for medical emergencies, especially serious illnesses or injuries.
Like all insurance, it’s a gamble. You will likely spend more over the course of your animal’s life on monthly premiums than the cost of regular veterinary care if your pet is healthy.
But if your best friend is dealt a bad hand, it’s reassuring to know you have insurance to take care of the problems.
Here’s how to choose the best insurance for your pet.
Thinking of Adopting? Read On
If National Dog Day has you thinking (again) that you really do want to bring a pet into your home, it’s worth considering which breeds are generally the healthiest, and therefore less likely to run up big vet bills.
You can, of course, work to keep your dog healthy by feeding it a well-balanced diet with a top-rated food, giving it plenty of exercise, socializing and playing with it regularly and keeping up on vet visits, vaccinations and medications.
To further reduce potential medical costs for your dog, you can adopt a breed that is specifically known for having fewer medical problems during its life. (Just keep in mind that there is never a guarantee.)
Check out our rundown of dog breeds known for having low medical costs throughout their lives.
Turn Your Love of Dogs into a Money-Making Venture
Don’t just save money on your own pet. Make money by loving on all the pets!
You can start a dog-walking side gig by offering your services to friends and family who don’t have the summers off. They may jump at the chance for someone to take their beloved pups out for a walk on long work days.
You can also sign up for Rover. The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.
Rover says top sitters earn an average $450 per month.
Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Pass a background check.
- Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).
Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.
You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)
Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.
And if you don’t want to just stick to dog walking, you can expand your services and become a full-blown pet sitter.
Molly Moorhead is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder.