Cost of living crisis: Here are 7 ways to reduce the cost of your pet by £1,097 per year

As the cost of living crisis worsens, here are seven ways to save money on your pet.

Last week the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) announced that they've seen a 24% increase in pets being dumped in shelters due to the cost of living crisis.

Despite the RSPCA already "drowning in animals", this is only set to get worse given that the price of energy bills will be increasing further from 1st October.

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To prevent the public from giving away their pets, Andrea Knowles, a personal finance expert at vouchers.co.uk, has shared seven ways to save up to £1,097 on your pet per year.

1. Buy your pet food from bigger supermarkets

Whilst local stores, such as Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local can be convenient, research from Which? found that it costs an average of 9.5% more to shop at local stores than it does to at bigger supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s. As pet owners spend a staggering £400 on pet food per year, switching to bigger supermarkets could save owners almost £40.

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2. Groom your pet in-between sessions

Owning a pet can be expensive, especially as the cost of living crisis worsens.

Professional grooming for your pet can be very expensive, costing an average of £43 per session. As the average pup needs four to six sessions per year, some dog owners are paying up to £258 per year.

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To reduce this cost, you could try to keep up basic grooming tasks, such as regular brushing or the occasional bath. There are even free YouTube videos that show you how to care for your specific breed’s coat. Carrying out these simple tasks will not only help you bond with your pet, but it will extend the time needed between professional grooming sessions. You could reduce the number of required sessions and price by half, saving £129 a year.

3. Create a dog walking or pet-sitting club with your neighbours

Paying for someone to walk your dog can be a costly expense, averaging £11.25 per walk, or £585 per year for one walk a week. To get rid of this weekly expense, speak to your pet-owning friends and neighbours and see if they’d like to form a rotating dog walking service. You could also run a similar service for pet sitting, which is perfect for when you want to go on holiday, as the average boarding kennel costs £120 for a week. Implementing both of these would take your total yearly saving to £705.

4. Buy their prescriptions online

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Buying medicine for your pet can be expensive, but you can get it for a fraction of the cost by asking for the prescription and ordering what you need from a certified online pharmacy. For example, petdrugsonline.co.uk claims to save pet owners up to 76% on any pet care.

5. Make sure you're not overfeeding your dog

An estimated 40% of dogs in the UK are overweight so one way to help them lose weight whilst gaining you some pounds, is to weigh their food. To work out how much you should be feeding your dog, look at the body condition system to calculate whether your dog is too thin, too heavy, or ideal. You can then work out the right food portion from there.

6. Brush your dog’s teeth more often

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One of the most common reasons for tooth and gum disease in dogs is due to their owner’s not brushing their teeth correctly or often enough. In fact, the average price of a scale and polish for a dog’s teeth is £233. With pet toothbrushes and toothpaste costing less than £10, it’s definitely worth getting into the habit of doing this yourself at home with many dentists sharing a step-by-step guide online.

7. Purchase pet insurance to save you money in the long run

Although buying pet insurance comes with a monthly (or annual) cost, enrolling your pet on a policy can help offset the costs of preventative care along with accidents and illnesses. However, make sure to obtain a policy as soon as you get a pet, as waiting until the pet is older increases their chances of needing a premium-priced policy, due to underlying health conditions.