9 Ways to Cut Pet Care Costs

February 2, 2021 Updated: February 2, 2021

As I write, a big, beautiful, brindle English bulldog is underfoot, sleeping soundly as bulldogs do. While I cannot claim ownership, Newcastle (“Newkie” to his family) visits often. He’s my granddog, and he’s as precious as they come. So, while I don’t technically have any pets, you can be sure that I am always on the lookout for tips, tricks, and ideas to keep down the cost of pet care:

Blanket Bounty

I donate my used sheets, towels, and blankets to the local animal shelter. A towel for a small dog or cat will make a warm, soft place to curl up. My mother is handy with a sewing machine, so we both look for towels and bedding at yard sales. We take large blankets and create soft, warm pads for up to four animals out of them. —Cindy

Scratching Pads

If your cat prefers the furniture to his scratching post, try placing carpet samples throughout the house. For some reason, many cats prefer them. —Sue

Coupon Care

I am a devoted coupon clipper. Whenever I see pet food coupons offering free or very cheap cans or bags of food, I purchase these items and donate them to our local animal shelter. I feel good about helping homeless animals without putting a strain on my budget. —Kim H.

Vaccine Boost

I buy dog food at the local feed store because I like the product they sell. I recently found out that they do pet vaccinations more affordably than my vet. The only vaccination the feed store cannot do is rabies. I recommend checking with pet and feed stores the next time you are shopping for a good price on animal vaccinations. —Michelle

Paper Trail

I use my shredder to shred my junk mail. Then I use it as bedding for my three rabbits. They love tossing it around and nesting their cages with shredded paper. Before I shred, however, I remove colored magazines and glossy flyers, as they don’t work well in animal cages. Recycling my paper this way is a great money-saver, and it’s fun for my rabbits. —Susanna

Fuzz Fixer

I use a clean dog’s brush to remove all the animal hair that attaches to my area rug during the week. It takes just a few seconds. It’s easy and cheap because I do not have to buy sticky sheets or disposable products to remove the hair. It’s also a lot quicker than taking out the vacuum. You can purchase a dog brush at the dollar store for only $1. —Janice

Poop Scoop

Don’t toss out the cardboard french fry container next time you eat fast food. Instead, flatten it, and save it for your next dog walk. When Fido leaves his mark, pull out the container, pop it open, and scoop up the mess. Transfer to the plastic bag you also carry with you, and drop the whole thing into the nearest trash can. —Billie

Flea Dip

For an effective flea dip, boil orange and lemon peels in water. Cool the water, and use it for a pet rinse or dip. It smells nice and fresh. You can also slice citrus and rub the fruit into the dog’s coat. The bugs will keel over from the smell. —Ted

Keeping Clean

Nontoxic bug and squirrel repellents will keep your dog (or your neighbors’ dogs) from doing their business on the part of your yard you’d like to keep clean. Black pepper is nontoxic, so I sprinkle a little of it in certain areas to keep my Rottweiler in the part of the yard reserved for her. —Lois

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Copyright 2020 Creators.com