Caring for furry family members on a budget
Pets are important members of the family, providing companionship and joy for people of all ages, alongside quiet support through difficult times. The 2022 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report revealed that 84% of owners say that their furry family members have a positive impact on their mental health. However, 40% of owners also find caring for furry friends expensive, and with everyday prices soaring, the cost of caring for them is only set to increase.
PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “When you welcome a pet into the family, there are necessary costs you can’t avoid, such as high-quality food, regular health care, insurance, and unexpected vet bills. Yet, while these things may be unavoidable, there are ways to keep your pet care costs down.
Learn to groom your pet at home
“Grooming costs soon add up, so learning how to do this yourself can reduce your spending, while also allowing you to enjoy extra time with your furry best friend.
“Aim to brush your pet every day, to prevent fur becoming matted and help you spot any skin problems before they develop into anything more serious – something that can potentially lead to bigger vet bills.
“Research the appropriate tools for your pet’s fur type before getting started, and go slowly if they aren’t used to being brushed – you may want to ask someone to hold your pet while you do this to help them feel safe. If your pet’s coat type needs clipping, then you could consider doing this yourself once they are used to being brushed and handled. Pet hair clippers are available in pet shops and online – follow manufacturer’s instructions and watch some online professional grooming videos before attempting this. Cats and rabbits especially have delicate skin that can easily tear, so an experienced pet groomer or vet will be best to help you to clip off any knots or mats.
Buy in bulk
“Pet food is typically more cost-effective when bought in larger quantities. Shopping around is a good way to bag a bargain.
“If you are considering switching to a cheaper food, make sure you choose a food labelled ‘complete’ – a nutritionally balanced diet is vital in supporting pets’ overall health, helping to avoid potentially costly vet bills in the long term.
Use toys tactically
“Toys can provide endless hours of fun for our pets, but they don’t need lots to play with. Rotating the contents of their toy box is a great way to keep them fresh and exciting.
“Multifunctional toys, such as bouncy, robust chew toys are great to keep your pet entertained on a budget. Choose hollow ones that can be filled with healthy treats and then hidden in the garden for curious paws to find, as well as being used for games such as chase or fetch to keep them active. Thinking of fresh ideas of ways to play can spark your furry friend’s interest in toys they may not usually play with.
“You could also try making some toys yourself using things you have at home. Something as simple as wrapping a pet-safe ball in some old cloth and knotting it to make an octopus-shaped toy can provide your pup with hours of entertainment. Be sure to regularly check any toys for wear and tear, if they show signs, replace with new to prevent choking hazards.”
PDSA relies on donations to deliver life-saving treatment to hundreds of thousands of pets across its 48 Pet Hospitals in the UK. To keep families together this winter, the charity is urgently calling on the public’s support more than ever to prevent vulnerable people having to make a truly heartbreaking decision. To find out more about PDSA’s vital work during the cost-of-living crisis, or to donate, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/costoflovingcrisis