As a pet owner, not having enough means to give your best friend the best life is probably the worst feeling in the world. However, that doesn’t mean you are a bad owner–nor does it mean that you have to give your pet to someone else in order for it to thrive.
Taking care of a pet when money is tight can be tough, but certainly not impossible. If you’re facing this problem as of late, here are several tips that can help you and your pet make it through on a tight budget:
Find an organization that can help
Fortunately, there are many organizations that aim to help owners with their pets’ needs through difficult times. These organizations provide owners with pet food, leashes, hygiene products, and other basic pet supplies that they cannot afford. Some also provide vet services at a very low cost or sometimes even for free. Try reaching out to these groups to see if they can extend their help to you and your pet.
Ask for donations online
You’d be surprised at how many strangers on the Internet are willing to help animals in need. If you are down on your luck and need some help, consider sharing your plea online. A good tip is to be specific about what your pet needs, be it food, vet appointments, or hygiene products. This way, donors know exactly what they can donate and are more willing to trust you as opposed to just asking for monetary donations.
Another tip is to post on pet-focused groups or forums; pet owner communities will be more likely to help out because they can sympathize with your situation.
Learn basic pet grooming
Save on grooming expenses by learning how to groom your dog yourself. Things like nail clipping, detangling, and brushing teeth are relatively easy to learn and perform on your pet. More than that, there are plenty of resources online to help you learn these skills on your own. Just be careful with whatever task that involves scissors or shavers (if you’re not confident enough in your skills, you might want to skip on giving your dog a haircut until you can afford professional services).
Look for deals
Take advantage of whatever deal you can find on pet supplies or services. Check major coupon sites and pet care websites to see what discounts they offer on pet essentials. However, make sure that you’re only using coupons for what your pet actually needs. Otherwise, you won’t be really saving money.
Always prioritize food
Pet food is something that you should never skimp on. Aside from the fact that it’s cruel to feed your pet less than it needs to thrive (or feed them cheap food that’s not good for them), this can lead to major problems that will cost you more in the future.
For instance, switching to cheap pet food can potentially lead to health problems. Cheap pet food is often loaded with extenders, preservatives, and low-quality ingredients that can cause a host of health problems for your pet, including dental problems, kidney disease, and nutrient deficiencies. On the other hand, cutting down your pet’s portions can cause them to lose weight–often even rapidly.
If money is tight, saving on other pet essentials is safer than skimping on pet food. Skip the expensive shampoos, make your own pet toys, or buy secondhand leashes. Save on everything you can, but prioritize your pet’s food.
Save on vet bills
For many owners, the biggest expense of owning a pet is often the vet bills. Luckily, getting your beloved friend the medical attention it needs doesn’t always have to break the bank.
If the problem is non-urgent, a phone or video call may suffice. It’s cheaper and easier than going all the way to the vet, especially if the problem is not that serious. Just like telehealth for humans, this kind of service for pets is done through online or phone communication with a professional on the other end.
Another great tip is to buy directly from an online pet pharmacy rather than buying your pet’s meds from the vet (unless the problem is urgent, of course). Pet pharmacies typically charge less than vets’ offices because they buy from the same supplier but charge a lower markup compared to vets. Furthermore, they can offer discounts for pet medication, which is not common for vet offices.
Reach out to friends and family
As ironic as it may seem, asking for help from your loved ones can be one of the most difficult things to do. But when money’s tight and it’s steadily getting harder to take care of your pet, reaching out to them can mean the difference between losing your pet and staying together.
Every little bit of help counts. And if it’s for your pet, it’s always worth it.
Despite your best intentions for your pet, life can get in the way. In order to keep your pet well-fed, healthy, and–most importantly–in your home, follow these tips–and keep your chin up! Even if money is tight, your pet loves you unconditionally, and you are the best owner that they can have for trying.