Money habits

Pets: how to cut costs without compromising on care

Looking to save some money on your pet-related expenses? We have some tips that could help.

We all love our pets, but to keep them well fed, healthy and happy, the bills can mount up. So we asked pet owners across the country what they’re doing to save money on these costs.

Buy food in bulk

“Buying food in bulk for our cat Luna is an absolute no-brainer. As long as you have somewhere to store it, buy the biggest bags possible. It should always work out cheaper per kilo than small bags. Our vet also has an offer: every fifth bag of food is free.”

- Laura, 33, Ripley

Always weigh your pet’s food

“I have a French bulldog and weighing their food is vital, not only for their health (they can easily become overweight, which is dangerous for their breathing), but also to keep food costs down, as bulldogs will just keep eating and eating if you let them.”

- James, 43, Weldon

Stick to the hay diet

“Don’t get lured into buying expensive rabbit food, it simply isn’t necessary. Rabbits are happiest eating hay (which is very cheap), with a few leafy veg, which you could even grow yourself – for you and your rabbits! The rule of thumb is 85% hay and 15% leafy greens.”

- Stephen, 45, Hay-on-Wye

Find a pet-food bank

“We’ve really struggled with the price of dog food lately and felt devastated that we might have to give up our two border collies. What has been a lifeline has been finding a pet-food bank near us. We didn’t realise such a thing existed and it’s given us peace of mind to know we can go there when things are really tight.”

- Joseph, 47, Liverpool

Find a pet-food bank through the RSPCA, SSPCA or some big pet retailers.

Consolidate pets onto one insurance plan

“We have three cats: Diesel, Freddie and Flint. Diesel was insured with a different provider to Freddie and Flint, as they joined us four years later and we stayed with the same insurer the rescue centre had assigned. After checking, I discovered that adding Diesel to their account would save me a lot of money. It’s worth asking your insurer if they offer a multi-pet discount, or shopping around for one that does.”

- Anthony, 56, Chester

Don’t forget the PDSA

“When I was a kid, my hamster’s foot got infected and it put his life in danger. Amputating his foot was an operation we couldn’t afford, but because my dad was on disability benefit, the vet charity PDSA did it for free. They saved my hamster’s life! So if you’re on a low income, do check if you’re eligible for pet care, because they may be able to help you too.”

- Rosie, 48, Brighton

Buy medicine from a veterinary retailer

“Buying your pet’s prescription medication from a UK-registered veterinary retailer such as Vetimed or Viovet instead of your vet can save you money. Whether it’s regular worming or flea treatments, you can get the same products for much less. You simply fill in your pet’s information, such as breed, age and weight, and order online. Easy!”

- Charlotte, 38, Stow-on-the-Wold

Don’t neglect your pet’s teeth

“I’ve been brushing my cat Dougie’s teeth since he was a kitten. He’s now 11! Brushing three times a week will keep pets’ mouths clean and healthy, but even better, you could save yourself lots of cash in the future by avoiding vet bills for tooth extraction, which isn’t necessarily covered by insurance.”

- Aileen, 58, Dundee

Buy hard-to-destroy toys

“Will, my Frenchie, was getting through two tennis balls a week and at least one rope toy as well! Saying he loves his chew toys is an understatement. Instead of forking out around £5 a week on cheap replacement toys, I splashed out and bought a durable rubber toy for tugging and pulling. Although it cost me more upfront, it’s lasted more than two months now, with no sign of being destroyed!”

- Marilyn, 72, Hertford

Brush dogs (and cats) regularly

“I’m brushing my dog Woody much more often at the moment, because it saves me from getting the vacuum out every day. I’m trying to keep my electricity costs down and every little helps. Even short-haired dogs shed fur continually throughout the year, so regular brushing is a must if you want to stop hairs covering your home.”

- Kate, 54, Brecon

Kirstie Pickering

Kirstie is a freelance journalist who specialises in business, tech and lifestyle.

Looking for support with your budget?

To better understand how your pet costs fit into your wider budget, try our budget calculator. We ask you for some details as you go through the budgeting tool, however none of this data is ever saved.

Related content

Financial scams are on the rise – here's what to look out for

We spoke to a fraud prevention team about ways to protect yourself from being scammed and common scams to look out for.

Information Message

How I’m getting creative with my kids’ birthdays

A parent shares their ideas for celebrating kids’ birthdays on a budget.

Information Message

Was this article helpful?
We'd like to know why you didn't find it helpful?

Your feedback, good or bad, means that we can better understand what we are doing well and where there are areas we need to make improvements.