I’ve had occasion to think about this topic a whole lot. Not only are my clients suffering, but my own pets’ medical expenses have gone through the roof lately. Sure, I can treat most of my own pets’ ills, but that doesn’t always mean I can escape the specialists’ fees, lab bills––or the pharmacists’ wrath, for that matter.  And god knows it all adds up.

That’s why I’ve put together a simple five-point plan for cutting down on your pets’ expenses––without sacrificing their health in the process. 

1. Food

Unless your pet’s been pretty sick lately, the biggest expense you’ll tend to face is in the realm of the digestible basics. All that bagged, boxed, pouched and canned stuff takes its toll on most any budget––especially if you stick to the high end stuff or have to deal in therapeutic diets. That’s why I recomend the following:

  • Feed only what your pet needs, not what’s written on the side of the container. One of the biggest causes of pet obesity is overfeeding. And it’s an expensive habit in more ways than one. The cost of arthritis, diabetes and other weight-related problems can be HUGE. 
  • Buy in bulk and store it well. You’ll usually save big on bulk purchases––but only if you have the room to store it safely, of course.
  • Feed homecooked meals as a supplement (or on their own). I’ve found that home cooking for my pets allows me to use up stuff I might otherwise toss. But stick to veterinary nutritionist-recommended recipes for safe, long-term results.

2. Pharmacy

Lots of ways you can save here. Check out these suggestions:

  • Ask your vet for a written prescription and shop around (online pharmacies can be great but beware the traps).
  • For many drugs that have human equivalents, $4 prescriptions are commonly available at your local big-box pharmacy. Give that a try. 
  • Buy in bulk and save on 3 months-worth instead of just one. 
  • Here are some more suggestions.

3. Vet bills

It’s really all about pevention. Going in for wellness checkups, feeding a great diet, keeping him lean, keeping up with basic grooming, insect control, dental maintenance, heartworm and other parasite prevention, etc. But you can try these approaches too:

  • Pet insurance works––especially when it comes to big-ticket problems. But do your homework on the companies and their policies.
  • Find a vet that works best for you (multi-pet discounts, senior citizen discounts, a willingness to work within your means, etc.).

4. Toys and stuff

Some pets just love their little luxuries. Consider making your own, though.  A recycled quilt makes a nice DIY pet bed. An old stuffed animal can be turned into a safe dog toy. Or how about growing your own catnip

5. Treats

Here’s another are where you can really save. Most pet owners don’t realize how expensive their pets’ treats are. A pop-top can here, a box there. Then there’s the rawhide addiction to consider. Break the expensive cycle by either making your own (I freeze chicken hearts on a tray then bag them for a nice popsicle treat) or cutting them out in favor of carrot nibblers and apple slices (for example). 

An added benefit: All those treats make for really fattening fare. Home-made treats have fewer calories and tend to be more wholesome, too. 


Have some more tips you’ve acquired from experience? We’ll take ‘em all...


Dr. Patty Khuly