Pet Care | Ways to Save

Our Cat’s Situation

Our cat has been sick for over the past month. He has started to have accidents on the carpet which is bad enough, but we also noticed his urine was a reddish orange. Worried, we called our regular vet office and scheduled an appointment.

He was diagnosed and got medication, but after some weeks we haven’t seen any improvement. we took him to the vet for a follow up

My friend had her pet go through something similar and recommended her vet. I was scheduled an appointment Wednesday and had the records from the old vet sent over so I could get an informed second opinion. We are on a new diet regime and he got some medication. We’ll wait and see if it improves. I’m grateful that we some money saved to pay for his bills. I’m considering getting some pet insurance for him, but I have to run the numbers first.

If anyone thinks having a pet is cheap, they’re wrong. Having a pet means being responsible for a life, with all the expenses of food, medicine, and everything else.

Try to get my cat feeling better
Try to get my cat feeling better

What’s Having a Pet Going to Cost?

Pets are not as cheap as people think. SPCA has some yearly estimates on the costs of pets. Are these estimates close to what you thought pets cost?


Food 12 bags dog food (18kg) @ $45 $540.00
Biscuit treats 2 boxes per month @ $3.99 96.00
Veterinary Care Yearly Visit – exam and vaccinations 120.00
Nail clipping 6 trips to the vet  @ $15.00 90.00
License fee 30.00
Grooming Spring bath and brush out 40.00
Vacation 2 weeks dog care  @ $20/day 280.00
*please note that is not the Adoption cost at an SPCA shelter, this is an approximate yearly cost of keeping the animal


Food and Treats 4 cans of cat food per month @ $2.00 $96.00
Dry cat food 1 bag (3.6kg) per month @ $20.00 240.00
Cat treats 12 bags @ $2.00 24.00
Veterinary Care Yearly visit – exam and vaccinations 80.00
Kitty litter 1 bag of cat litter per month @ $12.00 144.00
Nail clipping 6  @ $15.00 90.00
Anti-furball medication 2 tubes @ $7.50 15.00
Cat care Vacation 2 weeks @ $15.00 per day 210.00
*please note that is not the Adoption cost at an SPCA shelter, this is an approximate yearly cost of keeping the animal

While these are estimates, it would be reasonable to try and see if you could afford the financial responsibilities of being a pet owner. For some people in this economy, now is not a good time to decide to own a pet. Look at these numbers as a guideline and see if you can afford it.

Personally we have spent more money than we saved from paying off the car loan and switching our car insurance. The truth is we love our pets and make sacrifices to take care of them. It can be excruciating to decide the tough choices.  Life happens and we do we have to protect our pets.

Tips on Saving on Vet Care

  • Schedule regular check-ups: You may think you’re saving money by only taking your pet to the vet for emergencies, but you can easily end up paying more when they get seriously ill.  Take your pet to their yearly check up exam.
  • Ask your vet about treatments: Check with your vet if treatments are necessary or are some optional. Shop around to see if you can find good deals on pet meds.
  • Try some DIY grooming: Bathe your pets at home. Grab a Pedi-Paw or something like it and trim your pet’s nails.
  • Consider Pet Health Insurance: Check around and see if  pet health insurance is a smart financial move for you. Some policies can save you some money, but double check the fine print. Puppy and kitten insurance can save you some money during that expensive first year.
  • Keep careful records of your pet’s inoculations and other health-care services. If you move and or switch vets, make sure you can send the information to avoid duplication and misdiagnosis.

Please plan ahead and save money up for your pet. Be sure you can afford them before you get one. What tips would you give to potential, new, and current pet owners?

Photo Credit: Green Panda

This articles was included in the Festival of Frugality #170 – Frugal Living is Timeless.

7 Responses to Pet Care | Ways to Save

  1. I don’t know if those numbers are right, but I wouldn’t trade anything for my little dachshund, Copper! Or our cat, Sandie. We take good care of them and they keep us and each other entertained.

    Our boarding costs are only $12/day and I figure I spend about $150/year on food plus another $40 on treats for Copper. Sandie doesn’t get treats (picky eater) and we don’t board her when we leave but I spend about the same per year on food for her.

    I wasn’t going to get a dog, but when my oldest daughter moped around the house and said, “I guess I’ll grow up my whole life and never have a dog,” it kinda hit me in the stomach. Some things are just worth the cost for nothing but the experience.

    This I CAN tell you. When I come home from a long business trip, the dog is more excited to see me than anyone else in the entire house! That’s worth a couple of hundred bucks in itself!

  2. @Ron I’m glad your family and pets are doing well. I absolutely love my cat Hurricane and agree animals bring their own entertainment with them.

    @Trevor: I’m sorry about the allergies. One of my best friends is allergic and she gets a bit sick whenever she fits. Are you allergic to just cats or both cats and dogs?

  3. Thanks for the link, Panda!

    Wife & I don’t have kids yet, so we’re big time suckers for our dogs. There are lots of costs you don’t think of if you want to take care of your pets. That is a great list from the SPCA, but I think the food cost is pretty high. We can buy a 50-lb bag of name-brand dry dog food for about $20 (instead of $45) and it lasts 3-4 weeks for all three dogs. Then again, our dog care costs are a bit higher than that for a pet nanny or boarding when we’re out of town ($55/night for all 3). Like Ron said, all of that cost is worth it to see them so happy each night when you get home :O)

    Regardless of cost, Panda made a great point — Having a pet means being responsible for a life. Good luck with your cat’s health!

  4. If you measure by my experience, those ASPCA figures are, if anything, underestimates. With a dog in particular, the larger the dog and the older it gets, the more it costs. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, it’s a good idea to set aside some money once a month in an emergency fund to cover veterinary bills, which can be pretty bracing. Keep adding to this fund throughout the life of the animal. I figured I spent about $1,420 a year on my last two dogs over their 13-year life spans, not counting the cost of a vehicle large enough to haul two 80-pound critters.

  5. @Jason: For our cat, it fluctuates year to year. This year the estimates looks to be close. Having a pet is a joy, but it’s not cheap.

    @Funny: Thanks for sharing your estimates. Larger dogs can cost bit more than their small counterparts.

  6. Nice article,
    I agree pets can be expensive. I have often thought if we should give up our 3 cats…but the pros outweigh the cons. Anyone who reads my site knows that I think that money is not everything. We shouldn’t get rid of things just because it saves us money. We should look to maximize our value in the things that we do purchase to get the most joy out of them. As for our cats, they bring us much joy for the amount of money we put in them.

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