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Are you spending too much on your pet?


Monday March 24th 2014

While there have been plenty of studies looking into the cost of owning a pet, you don't need a university degree to know that dogs, cats and even smaller animals present a big financial commitment. Some pet owners would no doubt suggest that the love, affection and companionship they get from a pet is worth any cost, but for those of us limited by a budget, here are some ways you can reduce the amount you spend on your four-legged friend.

Head for the animal shelter
Pedigree dogs and cats can cost many hundreds or even thousands of pounds. An adopted dog from a shelter on the other hand won't set you back much more than £100 depending on the individual shelter's rehoming fees, while a cat will cost even less. Furthermore, pedigree pets can attract higher insurance premiums because particular breeds are more likely to develop certain illnesses. You could also save money on vaccinations, since many shelter animals might already have had their injections.
Oh, and you'll also benefit from that priceless warm fuzzy feeling that only comes from knowing you’ve given a homeless, abandoned pet a second chance at a happy life.

Make your own toys
Some pet toy collections can rival that of a child's, and when you consider that many of these toys will have to regularly be replaced due to wear and tear this represents a significant drain on your pockets over the course of your pet's lifetime. Instead of always buying expensive toys consider making your own. Cats will happily play with newspaper scrunched up into a ball, while for dogs you could stuff treats inside multiple old thick socks and watch them try to tear it open. While you might not want to go completely DIY with your pet supplies, making savings where you can will make a difference.

Don't keep fat cats
When it comes to keeping pets well fed, many people will happily spend more for high quality, organic ingredients. If you don’t want to reduce the quality of the food you give your pooch there are still a few other ways you can cut costs at dinner time. For a start, ensure you aren't over-feeding your pet. According to one report, as many as a third of dogs and a quarter of cats in the UK are overweight or obese. Not only will reducing the amount your pet eats cut food costs, it should also lead to a higher quality of life.
One way you can save money without affecting your pet's diet is by buying in bulk. Of course, you need to make sure that you don't buy more food than your pet can comfortably consume before the expiry date, but even if you only make marginal savings these will certainly mount up over the years.

A healthy pet is an affordable pet
If you're trying to keep your pet costs to a tight budget one thing you'll need is insurance, otherwise an unexpected illness or accident could end up doubling your annual spend. Beware of the false economy - cheap insurance may not provide adequate cover, or might only make payments for the first year of a pet's illness, so it's best to always read the terms and conditions.

You should also make sure your pet is kept up to date with all the necessary vaccinations. The cost of protecting your pet is minimal compared to what you’ll have to cough up should they develop an otherwise preventable illness.

Expand your pet-sitting network
The cost of kennels, catteries or professional pet-sitters is enough to make some owners never want to leave home. Bringing your pets with you is one option when you travel, but this can still be expensive and won't always be a realistic option. This is the time to call on friends or family that you trust to look after your pets - just be ready to return the favor in future!

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.