9 ways to save on your petsHow to cut the cost of cats and dogs

09 March 2011


As terriers, hounds and working dogs all fight it out to be Best in Show at Crufts, which kicks off at the NEC in Birmingham on the 10 March, Which? looks at 9 great ways to save on your dogs and cats. 

1 Get the right insurance

In a recent Which? survey, we found that 41% of pet owners had pet insurance. This is a very wise move as vet's bills are rising sharply. Fixing a dogs' ruptured cruciate ligament can set you back £2,000. Even an X-ray can cost up to £350. There are numerous different levels of cover with a variety of conditions. 

2 Save money with vet fee-only insurance

If you are on a tight budget you may want to consider a basic policy that covers vet fees only. There are a number of providers including Tesco Bank, Lloyds TSB and Petguard that sell policies where you can choose additional cover. Our research found that you can expect to pay 10-20% less with this type of cover. 

3 Battersea over pedigree

If you want an economical pet, then think twice about going for a pedigree breed,. On average, non-pedigree pets cost a third less to feed and insure. And if you want to save money and save an animal, visit an animal shelter such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The rehoming fee for a dog is £105 including microchipping, initial vaccinations and collar and ID tag. A cat costs £65. 

4 Don't buy medicine from the vet

A recent report showed that consumers who buy non-prescription medicine from the vets rather than online or on the high street are paying could be paying more than twice as much. Websites such as Bestpet sells prescription and non-prescription medicine at prices as much as 50% below what you' pay at a vets.

5 Buy food in bulk

Buy pet food online or in bulk to make big savings. Most major supermarkets offer home delivery through their websites, while you can also enjoy bulk reductions at online retailers such as Pet Supermarket. Also make sure you only feed your pet the recommended portion as most of us tend to feed our pets too much anyway.

6 Learn pet care techniques

Learning some simple pet grooming techniques can save you a fortune on a professional's bills. Having your cat's nails clipped can cost around £5 a time but a pair of nail clippers can cost only £3. Meanwhile, brushing your pet's teeth regularly can also help prevent future trips to the vets.

7 Don't skip jabs

Having your dog or cat vaccinated may be pricey but if you don't, it could be a false economy. Shots are not nearly as expensive as the vet's fees you'd have to pay if your animal is sick. Be warned also that most insurers won't cover you for routine vaccinations. 

8 Watch out for big families

One pet can cut into your disposable income, but a whole litter can be really expensive. You can humanely stop your animal from reproducing by having it neutered or spayed. Animal charity Blue Cross can give you help and advice. 

9 Cut kennel and cattery costs

If you're planning a holiday or even a quick break, then kennels and catteries can add a hefty chunk to your bills. A better and cheaper idea is to ask a friend or neighbour to look after your pet while you're away. Another idea is to make friends with other animal owners and form a pet-sitting circle.

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