Pets can be expensive, but some simple tweaks can make them a heck of a lot more budget friendly.
1. Ask your vet for free samples — they usually have tons.
Companies send vet offices free samples all the time for them to try out and recommend to their clients.
If you ask for a sample, the front desk will usually be able to find some form of food or treat for your pet. The worst they can do is say no!
2. Save at least 83% on having your pet spayed or neutered through your local Humane Society.
It costs an average of $200.00 for a male cat to be neutered at a vet’s office, which seems crazy when my local humane society offers it for $35.00.
The ASPCA also has a great resource to help you find low price spay/neuter programs near you, or you can get a certificate from Friends of Animals for low priced spay/neuter procedures from participating veterinary clinics.
3. Call Purina to get free pet food worth $9.99.
Purina was holding a 28-day challenge to promote their pet food, offering coupons for one free bag worth up to $9.99 when you signed up.
Don’t worry if you missed this promo, though — turns out all you have to do to get the coupon is give them a call anytime at 1-866-787-4621 or send them a message via their website!
4. Use PetSmart’s and Petco’s price-match guarantee to get the best price.
Both pet stores allow you to price match items from competitor stores (including each other), Wag.com, Chewy.com, and more. There will be a few exceptions, as with BOGO deals or special sale prices.
5. Ask your local animal shelter for help if you can’t afford pet food.
A lot of animal shelters and food banks have programs set up for people who are having trouble affording food for their furry friends, where they give out donated pet food they’ve received.
Some shelters advertise this, like at my local humane society where they call it the Pet Food Pantry. Others don’t make it so obvious — you’ll have to give them a call and ask. They’re usually happy to help!
6. Get a free sample of flushable poop bags by answering a few questions about you and your pet.
Flush Doggy offers a free sample of their flushable waste bags when you follow them on Facebook and answer some questions about yourself and your pet.
You only get one, but if it’s a product your interested in, definitely get the sample before you purchase a pack!
7. Compare price by the pound, and buy in bulk to save over 45% on pet food.
This may seem obvious, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to pet food. I buy Blue Wilderness dry food for my indoor cat, and the price difference between the smallest and largest bag is crazy. I save $2.73/lb. just by buying the largest size, and it lasts me forever.
- 2-pound bag – $11.99 ($6.00/pound)
- 5-pound bag – $21.99 ($4.40/pound)
- 11-pound bag – $35.99 ($3.27/pound)
8. Use subscription services to save up to 30% on repeat orders.
It’s becoming normal for online stores to set up subscription services (or auto-ship deliveries). You schedule how often you’d like to receive a product — for example, one bag of dog food every other month. Most stores offer an ongoing discount of at least 5% by using this service.
Some of the places that offer subscriptions or auto-ship deliveries are:
- Amazon – Save 5% (or 15% when you order five or more products in a month to one address).
- PetSmart – Save 20% on your first order and 5% on future orders with free shipping.
- Petco – Save 20% on your first order and 5% on future orders with free shipping.
- Chewy – Save 30% on your first order and 5% on future orders.
9. Save up to $55 by asking doggy day cares, vet offices and training services if they offer discounts for rescue animals.
I’ve found the sweetest animals from shelters. Not only are you saving a life, but rescuing also offers some perks.
I’ve come across all kinds of animal-focused businesses that give discounted services with proof of adoption. Some veterinarian offices will even give you the first consultation free, which typically costs between $45-$55.
10. Get your furry friend a free birthday surprise with PetSmart’s Treats reward program.
I earned 1,000 points just by signing up and completing my profile on the app. I also get 8 points for every $1.00 spent in store, online, or donated to a PetSmart charity. I can then use those points to help pay for my next purchase.
1,000 points = $2.50
You also get a free surprise on your pet’s birthday, one free Doggie Day Camp when you buy 10 days’ worth, and free shipping on orders over $49. Without joining Treats, shipping varies by items bought, but standard is $4.95.
They also have games in the app to win coupons like 10% off your next purchase.
11. Save $5 on your purchase at Petco by using Pals Rewards.
They don’t have as many perks as PetSmart when it comes to their reward program, but if you shop here often it’s worth signing up since it’s free.
You earn one point for every $1.00 spent, and after 100 points, Petco will send you a $5 off coupon for your next purchase.
12. Groom your pets at home and save up to $879 a year.
An average dog grooming costs between $45 to $70. If you’re taking your dog in every 4-6 weeks, that can add up to almost $900 in a year.
Instead, invest in some grooming supplies of your own, and use YouTube videos to learn how to do it yourself. You can also ask your vet for tips to help you get started.
Grooming Supplies from Amazon:
- Electric Clippers – $10.59
- Nail Clippers – $4.98
- Brush – $3.99
- Toothbrush Kit – $6.29
- Shampoo – $5.19
Total Investment: $31.04
13. Save at least 75% by making your own flea shampoo out of water, vinegar and soap.
Mix one quart of water with one cup of white vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works) and one cup of Dawn dish soap. Use the solution sparingly as it can dry out your pet’s skin if used too much.
A bottle of Advantage Flea Shampoo from PetSmart costs $11.99, while you can find Dawn soap for under $1.00 and vinegar for $1.99 at Target.
Check our deals page for Dawn dish soap coupons.
14. Save $9 by replacing the rope on a torn up scratching post instead of buying a new one.
A brand new scratching post on Amazon can cost you at least $17.99. Instead, cut off the old rope with scissors and remove any staples or nails used to hold it in place.
Get new rope from Amazon for just $8.99, and nail the end at the base of the post. Then start wrapping around the post. After about three or four wraps, tap the rope down with the hammer to make sure the coils stay tightly stacked. Repeat this until you reach the top and then nail the end of the rope to the top of the post.
15. Get a free animal safety kit from the ASPCA.
When you sign up for ASPCA alerts, they’ll send you a pet rescue decal to put in your window. This lets rescue personnel know there is an animal in the building.
You’ll also get an Animal Poison Control Central (APCC) magnet so you have a phone number handy to call in case of emergency for your pet.
16. Buy personalized ID tags on Amazon instead of at a pet store and save 69%.
I bought my cat’s first ID tag on Amazon for $2.75 with free Prime shipping. She ended up losing that collar, and I had to get a replacement.
So instead of waiting for a new one to ship, I thought I’d go to PetSmart for a new tag. Turns out the cheapest one I could find there was $8.99. Learn from my mistake and order yours from Amazon.
17. Freeze sweet potatoes for treats that’ll keep your dog busy and healthy.
I love how easy AND cheap this is. Sweet potatoes make a great alternative to expensive chew toys that’ll be torn to pieces in a day and littered around your house. You can buy them for just over $1 apiece at Walmart. Similar treats on Chewy.com cost $9.99.
Cut a sweet potato into about 1/3-inch slices, and place on a lined cookie tray. Bake at 250 degrees for about 3 hours. After they’ve cooled you can store them in the freezer and give to your dog as you please.
18. Save $14.99 by using grocery bags as pet waste bags.
Target sells 120 Up & Up bags for $14.99, but why spend money on something you can get free? If you keep ending up with more grocery bags than you know what to do with, make a stockpile, and use them to collect your cat or dog poop.
19. Make your own cat scratching deterrent spray and save 29%.
Mix 3 parts water with 1 part essential oil — like peppermint, lavender or citronella — and spray on anything around your house you want to keep your cat away from.
20. Use wood pellets instead of cat litter to save up to 74%.
Cat litter can get expensive. Switch to wood pellets and save over $14.00 every time you buy a new bag. That’s over $84 a year if you buy one every other month.
21. Pass on store-bought dog treats, and make your own out of ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
Store-bought dog treats aren’t crazy expensive. You can get them for $2.99 at PetSmart, but they’re way cheaper when you make them out of foods you already have in your kitchen cupboard.
One of my favorite recipes is mixing equal parts plain yogurt and peanut butter. Put a small scoop in several cupcake papers and freeze! My dog loves them.
22. Check out Raise and Gift Card Granny, and to save up to 16% on pet store gift cards.
Both sites buy unwanted gift cards at a discounted rate and turn around and sell them at a discounted price.
Currently, Raise has gift cards for PetSmart with 6% savings, and Gift Card Granny has a card for both PetSmart and Petco with 16% savings.
23. Download all the great rebate apps to get money back on your purchases.
With Ibotta, search for items on your shopping list to see if there are any current offers, and add them to your list. Some offers they’ve had recently include $2.00 off Nature’s Recipe dog food and $1.00 off Milk-Bone Puff dog treats.
After you make the purchase, scan in your receipt, and they’ll take care of the rest. And then scan it again through Fetch Rewards.
24. Replace cat hairball medicine with coconut oil.
If your cat never has hairballs, consider yourself lucky. I’d regularly bought a 4.25-oz. bottle of hairball medicine from Target for $9.99, but then I found out you can replace that with a 14-oz. jar of coconut oil for $6.99. If you give your cat half a teaspoon each time, that’s 168 doses of coconut oil and only 51 doses of the hairball medicine.
You can either mix half of a teaspoon in with their regular food or let them lick it off the spoon.
25. Make a cat hideaway out of an old T-shirt and a cardboard box to save $27.99.
Instead of paying $27.99 for a cat tent, make your own!
Pull an old T-shirt over a box, and line the neck up with the open side of the box to create an entrance. Tuck in the sleeves on the side to tidy it up, and add a small blanket or pet bed to make your cat a cozy hiding spot!
26. Get your pet’s prescription filled at Rite Aid or Walgreens to earn more rewards.
Both Rite Aid and Walgreens allow you to fill pet prescriptions that are also prescribed for humans and receive rewards through Rite Aid’s Wellness+ Rewards and Walgreens’ Balance Rewards.
Walgreens also includes pet prescriptions for customers in their Prescription Savings Club where you can get generic prescriptions for as little as $5 a month.