With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’re all looking for cost-effective ways to show those around us that we love them, and there is no exception when it comes to our pets.
Research from the UK’s largest vet charity, PDSA, shows that the minimum lifetime cost of owning a dog starts at around £5,000 for a small breed, but can be considerably more. These costs can mount even further as owners feel pressured to pamper their pooch with expensive gifts.
Shauna Walsh, Vet Nurse at the charity – which provides vital care for pets in need – has shared her expert tips for showering pets with love, without breaking the bank.
Shauna said: “Particularly around holidays like Valentine’s Day, we often feel compelled to splurge on material gifts for those we love. However, our pets have no perception of cost, and are happiest and healthiest when their welfare needs are met and their owners are close by.
- Spend more time together
“Spending quality time with your pet doesn’t cost a penny yet is often what brings them the most joy. In fact, ensuring their social needs are met and even just being in our company can improve a pet’s overall wellbeing.
“Simple things such as taking them on a walk and enjoying the great outdoors together, playing with them, and snuggling on the sofa are all great ways to bond with your four-legged friend.
- Learn how to groom your pet at home
“Grooming your pet is a fantastic bonding activity and has many other health benefits too, including helping to distribute natural oils found within your animal’s coat. It also gives you the chance to check for any skin problems or lumps and bumps that, if caught early, could mean easier and cheaper veterinary treatment for your pet.
“Grooming costs can vary depending on breed and coat type, and tight curled coats and long-haired breeds especially will need regular sessions. Therefore, learning how to groom your pooch at home can save you a lot of money, once you’ve purchased the equipment needed.
- Rotate your pet’s favourite toys
“While toys are great for playtime and keeping boredom at bay, your pet doesn’t need too many. Rotating them will not only avoid you spending lots of money but will also keep playtime fun and engaging. You can even re-use the same toy for different games – for example, using one for a game of fetch, then hiding it for your pet to find.
“Aside from being heaps of fun, toys are a great way to keep your pet active. Throwing a toy for your dog to chase and retrieve will not only help them stay fit but is a great way to spend time together too – just avoid using sticks, as these can cause nasty injuries, and balls that are too small or squash down easily, which could be a choking hazard.”
For more advice on cutting the cost of pet care while ensuring your pet remains happy and healthy, please visit www.pdsa.org.uk/lowcostpetcare.