Cost of living pet care

Written by Kim Church RVN
February 27, 2023

Tips for keeping costs to a minimum and preparing for problems 

78% owners are becoming increasingly concerned for how the cost-of-living crisis is going to impact their animals. Vet bills, food bills and other costs associated with owning a pet are increasing. Sadly, in some cases this has resulted in some owners reluctantly rehoming their pet. Rescue centres are reporting record numbers of pets in their care. 

Everyone is looking at ways to cut costs and still give our pets the care they deserve. If you can save money, then this removes some concerns. Some of the following tips can be implemented straight away, others over time, to help make things a little easier.  

Vet Bills 

One big concern is how will you afford to pay your vet if your pet gets sick or injured. If you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for discounted veterinary treatment. This would be through a charity hospital such as the RSPCA, PDSA or Blue Cross. However, this is not an option for everyone. If your pet is not insured, it is worth taking out a policy to pay for any unexpected costs. Please be aware that most will ask for excesses. Pre-existing conditions may not be covered. Depending on the policy you choose there may be restrictions on what you can claim for. Do your research on the best policy for you and your pet based on your needs. A lot of insurers now include 24/7 helplines with either a Veterinary surgeon or Veterinary nurse. Utilising these services can prevent a costly visit to the vet!

Prescription Medication costs

If your pet is on prescription medication from the vet, you may find it cheaper to buy it through online pharmacies. Please note you will need to get a written prescription from your vet which may incur a small fee. There are many reputable pharmacies online. Ensure that it is a registered pharmacy when placing an order by looking for an RCVS number. Also check if they are registered with the veterinary medicines directorate.

Preventative Care costs

Prevention is better than cure. Make sure that you are keeping up to date with vaccinations and flea and worming treatment. A lot of clinics now offer monthly health care schemes. These help spread out the costs of preventative care while also providing discounts on other things. There are some other flea and worming subscriptions available online or in pet stores which may also reduce costs. There are some community pet services that provide low-cost preventative health care. Be sure to look at what is available in your local area and don’t be afraid to shop around.  

Payment plans. If you do have unexpected vet bills and struggle to pay them, some clinics will offer payment plans. After an initial deposit you can spread the cost of repaying through a finance service set up with the clinic. These may be interest to pay on top. Do your research to make sure it’s the right option for you. These will also be subject to credit checks.  

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Food costs

Whilst we would all prefer our pets to be on the best food available sometimes these come with a price tag. I t is recommended to feed your pet high quality balanced food to prevent other problems. Try switching to dry versions of the diet, it costs less and goes further! You must check with your vet before switching diets if your pet has any health conditions.  

We are all dealing with rising living costs. In the same way we may have switched to more own brand products it may be necessary to switch the pet foods we choose. If you are struggling to afford to buy their food, there are pet food banks open across the country. These are run by animal welfare charities.  You may also find help at supermarket collections, food banks for humans or pet stores.

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Grooming costs

Grooming is skill acquired by professionals. If the current cost of living issues mean you cannot afford to take your pet to the groomer, you can consider home grooming. Grooming sets are available to allow you to groom your pet at home. You must buy the correct equipment with safety guards. Ensure that you do your research. Make sure that it is something you are comfortable doing to prevent injury to yourself and your pet. Be careful not to cut your pets skin or cause any other damage! If you wanted to cut your pets nails at home, please make sure you follow instructions. These are widely available. Take care not to cut the blood supply in the nail. It may not be perfect, but you can keep your pets coat comfortable and free from matts. 

Other costs 

Dog walkers, groomers, house sitters all services that you may think are unnecessary costs until you need them. Utilise friends, family and neighbours in your area to help when you are away. Alternatively, there are now companies where you pay a small fee to connect you with pet sitters and dog walkers who will do it for free. They do it because they enjoy the company of pets. They may not be able to have one themselves. For others it allows them to travel with cost free accommodation. Using a reputable company means that every member is vetted. You can communicate with the person to make sure you are comfortable with them before you agree to them looking after your pet. 

How can we help?

If the cost-of-living is affecting you and you are worried about how you will afford to look after your pet we hope our advice has helped. Please remember our team are always there to help if you require advice about your pets health.

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