The pleasure of owning a pet comes with a hefty expense. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home says annual bills for a dog can hit £2,000 and £1,500 for a cat. So what can be done to cut the cost?

We have a cat and a dog, which has always been chaotic. But now, with inflation still biting, the cost of keeping them is a further drain on our finances.

Pet owners have seen the price of animal feed increase alongside the rising cost of groceries for us humans. Vet appointments are pricey, and most animals need regular worming and flea treatments that can be expensive.

But it is possible to be canny with your care costs, without any negative impact on your furry friends.


Vets recommend regular worming treatments for both cats and dogs to protect them from parasites — and the cost adds up.

Thankfully, that cost is now absorbed in the monthly pet health plan I have for my cockapoo, Buddy, and Georgie the cat via our local veterinary practice.

For £16.99 a month for Georgie, and £17.99 a month for Buddy, they get an annual check-up, all their vaccinations, worming and flea treatments, plus one free annual appointment with a vet if they become ill.

I now save around 60 per cent on my annual preventative health care costs — that’s £250 a year.

You can also get them for rabbits, and some practices also offer discounts for owners who are over-60 and those on low incomes.


Bulk-buying makes a huge difference to pet food bills. My dog, Buddy, a four-year-old cockapoo, has a sensitive tummy and eats vet-approved kibble, which I buy in 14kg bags and, depending on where I buy it, often works out at half the price of smaller packs. Across the year, this saves me at least £100.

When we’re running low, I price check which pet retailer is selling the food the cheapest and buy it there. I do the same with cat food.

I’ve also stopped spending so much on treats — Buddy was getting through a bag a week (costing anything from £2 to £5 a week depending on their health claims) — which is good for my purse and for my pets.

Overfeeding your animals can lead to unnecessary weight gain, which can be a trigger for potentially avoidable health problems — which in turn may require treatment (and vets’ bills).


You can sometimes save money on medication by asking your vet for a written prescription that you then use to purchase at an online animal pharmacy. You’ll still have to pay for the prescription, but it often works out cheaper. Don’t be tempted to save money by using human medicines to treat your pet — animals metabolise medication differently from us, and you could make them really poorly.


Your dog isn’t bothered by how much you paid for his new coat. Cats couldn’t care less where you got their bed — they’d rather sleep in a box.

Check out your local charity shop for second-hand bargains, as well as resale sites such as eBay and Vinted, where you can pick up good quality pet accessories for a much reduced cost.

I recently bought Buddy a new jacket on Vinted, which still had the label attached. It would have cost me £25 retail price — I paid a fiver for it.


Stimulating toys can play an important role in keeping your dog occupied. This home-made dog toy keeps my boy busy for up to an hour.


How to prune the cost of gardening 

Gardening is good for body and soul, and can be enjoyed on a tight budget. Here’s how to save money while keeping your garden blooming.

Hold back on the autumn tidy up

Instead of ripping out annuals such as cosmos, antirrhinum and calendula, leave the plants in place long enough to drop their seed. The autumn winds will scatter them around your garden, so you can enjoy nature’s free gifts in the form of fresh blooms next summer.

Hang fire on bulb buying

It’s tempting to buy autumn planting bulbs now — when they’re being advertised in garden centres — but most can go into the ground as late as December. So hold your nerve and get yours when they go on sale in a couple of months’ time, often for half the price.

Collect your own seeds

One of the best ways to save money is to collect seeds from the plants you already have. Be patient. They need to develop into dried husks before you harvest them, otherwise they won’t germinate. Then keep them in paper envelopes in a dry place ready to sow in the spring. Indoors is fine.

If you’re storing them in a garage or garden shed, avoid damp spoiling them by putting the envelope inside a tin.

Swap seeds with gardening friends to try new varieties for free.

Don’t chuck plants — they may just need resting...

Perennials often look like they’ve died over winter but, often, they’re just dormant, biding their time underneath the soil until the temperatures start to rise again. Then they will come back to life, sending up new shoots from their roots. So instead of chucking them on the compost, leave them to rest. Not all will survive especially harsh winters — but at least give them a chance and save yourself money on replacements.

Reconditioned compost

Compost has rocketed in price, so don’t waste what’s left in your containers and planters once you’ve pulled out your summer displays. Use it as mulch around any plants you want to protect over winter. And if you mix it with fresh nutrients, such as chicken manure pellets or liquid seaweed, it makes a good soil conditioner on your flower beds.


Seven savings tips for students 

Going to university often means budgeting for the first time. Here are seven ways to stretch your student loan that bit further.

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