Adopting a pet can be greatly rewarding, though expensive – our helpful tips can enable you to save money on a variety of costs including medical care.
If you're deciding to get a pet, examine your budget first
Adopting a pet can be rewarding and fulfilling and can bring much joy to both you and your new companion’s life. However, choosing to bring a pet into your home is a serious financial commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Taking care of a pet requires a budget for not only food, but further their physical upkeep, comfort, and wellbeing. All of these expenses should be carefully considered before you choose to adopt a pet.
Consider pet medical aid
If you are adopting a pet such as a cat, dog, or bird, many medical aids and insurers provide pet coverage similarly to how most major medical aids function.
Opting for an affordable – yet prudent – medical aid can ensure that you can accommodate your pet’s routine medical needs (such as vaccinations or supplements) and afford major or emergency medical care should the need arise.
Pet insurance contracts can differ across providers, and it is best to closely examine the schedule of benefits on offer before you opt to subscribe to one as the level of cover offered for various expenses may differ substantially.
Opting for a quality pet insurance product can help you manage your cash flow, and can help either lessen or remove the financial stress of emergencies or sudden expenses.
Spay or neuter your pet
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to look after your pet’s wellbeing; and an important aspect of that is managing whether your pet is able to reproduce. Unless you are a registered breeder, it is always best to spay or neuter your cat or dog to avoid medical expenses during pregnancies and the potential maintenance and upkeep of their respective kittens or puppies.
Many major adoption centres will often require you to sterilize your pet before taking it into your home, and this can either be done free or charge or for a nominal donation. If your pet isn’t currently sterilized, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) regularly organizes ‘sterilization week’ drives throughout South Africa.
Spaying or neutering your pet does not harm their wellbeing, requires only a few weeks of care while their surgical wounds heal, and has been noted to address many problematic behaviours in both cats and dogs.
Keep your pet fit and healthy
A simple and effective way to keep your pet in good health is to ensure that they are kept fit and healthy – and this can be as practical as taking your dog for a walk or allowing your cat to roam.
Healthy and active pets have longer lives, are happier, and are less prone to serious or debilitating conditions that can affect their health or require medical care. Best of all, spending quality time with your pets is great for your own wellbeing, and needn’t cost anything!
Vaccinate your pet annually
Vaccinating your pet against serious diseases such as kennel cough or rabies can prevent them from contracting serious illnesses and suffering needlessly. Many major pet insurers will offer coverage for annual vaccinations – meaning that the cost of these injections can either be partially or fully funded.
Explore boarding and grooming costs
Before committing to taking on a pet, it is best to consider how they can be kept if you happen to go away for an extended length of time, and what costs you might expect to keep them well groomed.
Many pet day-care facilities will offer daytime rates, while kennels and catteries can keep your pet in comfort if you have planned a holiday. Exploring what facilities are near you, and what services are offered, can give you an idea of what they might cost and how you can budget effectively.
Join pet-focused loyalty programs
As a pet owner, you’ll likely buy food and other necessities from the same place. It is worthwhile to not only explore if you can find a better deal elsewhere, but further if any nearby stores or vet practices offer loyalty programmes for shopping with them.
By using loyalty programs, you can save money over time and may even be entitled to free gifts or purchases as time goes on.