We all love our pets and want to look after them as best we can but they can get expensive when you factor in food and health costs over the course of a year.
Costs of pet ownership
96 per cent of Australians regard their dog to be part of the family according to a 2010 survey.
The Family Pooch Index has revealed that over the average lifespan of a dog (15 – 20 years), owners will spend on average more than $25,000 per animal. That’s about $1300 a year.
A standard consultation with a vet will cost between $50 and $85. For a dog, annual vaccinations cost about $120, flea treatments cost roughly $220 a year and worming costs $40 a year. For grooming expect to pay $650 a year if you get your pooch groomed every eight weeks. And what if you have to go away and must use boarding facilities? They start at about $30 a day.
In 2009 owners spent $6.02 billion on pets, pet care products and service (Australian Companion Animal Council).
While the survey showed that on average dog owners will spend around $450 on veterinary costs per year, the bulk of spending goes towards feeding, treats and pampering.
For those seeking a cheaper option, the popularity of fish and birds is on the rise with pet fish costing around $610 a year and pet birds slightly more expensive at $810. A cat will set then average Australian back around $1,722 per annum.
They also found that 50 per cent of dog owners buy their dogs gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas.
Generation Y is likely to spend the most on their pets, however many rely on their parents to contributing to the upkeep.
The Family Pooch Index is based on a survey of 735 Australian pet owners and was carried out in March 2010. So the cost might have increased since this survey!
(This information was collected as part of the 2010 Social Indicator Series from Bankwest)
OK, let’s try and find some savvy ways to save money when it comes to looking after our gorgeous pets.
- Don’t over vaccinate – it does more harm than good read more…
- Don’t over feed your pets – pet obesity is a major problem and will cost you! It is recommended that cats be fed twice a day using portion control feeding. Divide the amount suggested on the label of your pet’s food into two meals, spaced about eight to twelve hours apart. You can then adjust portions as you learn your cat’s ideal daily “maintenance” amount.
- Find a good value vet – ring around and ask for quotes on vaccinations for example. Use the Australian Veterinary Association’s ‘Find a Vet‘ service for a vet near you.
- Cheap desexing – If you need it read more … Here’s a list of vets who offer cheaper desexing Click here
- Cheaper Flea and Tick treatments – Try Deals Direct, Catch of the Day, Ebay. Sign up to online pet stores so you get an email when sales are on
- Find bedding at second hand stores
- Pet food – try making your own treats or again sign up to online pet stores so you get an email when sales are on and stock up. Try Deals Direct, Catch of the Day, Ebay. Buy in bulk for substantial savings. Here’s where I buy mine from Budget Pet Products There’s also Pet Food Express and My Pet Warehouse Also try feeding your pets a cheaper brand and buy dog bones from the butcher instead of those expensive doggy chews.
Try stretching your pets food by adding grated cheese or carrot and veges to their normal food. Rice (cooked) can also bulk up pet food.
- Pet Insurance – really think about this before buying – read more here It might be better value to have enough money in savings in case an emergency arises with your pets.
- Boarding – You have to consider boarding fees when you have a pet you can’t take on holidays with you. Boarding facilities are expensive but there are now other options. Pet sitters abound and will come to your home and take care of your pets while you’re away, better for you, your budget and the pets.
- Grooming – Save yourself a fortune and make your pet very happy by doing it yourself, they’ll love the fuss from you. Or alternate between a professional grooming and do it yourself to cut the costs in half.
- Cat Litter – I pay @ $8.00 for a 10kg bag for clumping sodium bentonite clay litter that is natural and removes odours well. I can highly recommend this litter so give it a try, it’s great value! Here’s the link for those on the Gold Coast and Brisbane Katz Loo You can also find good value Cat Litter in bulk at large pet wholesale stores or try searching online and on Ebay. Robbos Pet Barn deliver Australia wide and are good value.
- Online Cheaper Pet Shopping – Your Discount Chemist, Grocery Run, Vet Shop Australia
For more savvy ideas for your pets check out our Pinterest Page for Pets