Pet Care Tips on a Budget

Pet Care Tips on a BudgetWhether you’ve had pets for years or are a new pet owner, taking care of animals can be expensive. In order to properly take care of pets and give them the lives that they deserve, we are sharing with you some money saving tips to take care of your pets.


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#1 — Grow your own catnip

Catnip grows wild around our house. I have dug up plants that have just “appeared” in our yard and replanted them.

I have a corner by our deck that is all catnip. When it reaches a certain height, I cut it, tie a string around it and hang it upside down to dry.

It takes about two months to completely dry out. Then, I strip the dried leaves off into a Ziploc bag. It will last a long time depending on how much you grow and how often you give it to your cats.

My cats enjoy it year around, and it doesn’t cost me any money.

You can buy catnip seeds from gardening or other stores that sell plants if you don’t already have some growing wild.


#2 — Make your own pet toys

You can save money by making your own pet toys.

For cats, you can give them large pom-poms, small ropes, or make toys out of fabric scraps and stuff with catnip.

Our cats also like playing with craft pipe cleaners, the rings off of milk cartons, and toilet paper tubes.

Dogs can play with old soccer balls or tennis balls. You can also stuff an old sock for a toy. We do this when we have several socks that have holes in them. Just stuff a couple socks in another sock and tie a knot. Old Frisbees can also be fun for dogs.


#3 — Make your own cat-scratching box

I have had the same cat-scratching box since the 1980’s. I bought a wooden double cubicle. It was plain, so I covered it with carpet scraps.

It stands in a place where my cats will use it instead of scratching the furniture. I have recovered it with new carpet pieces (or rugs) four or five times over the years.

You can store cat and dog toys inside of it. My cats also like to lay on top of it.

If you already own a cat scratching box and it’s wearing out, you can recover it instead of buying a brand new one.


#4 — Use vinyl place mats for pet bowls

I look for cheap vinyl place mats at garage sales to place under food and water bowls. This keeps the floor clean where my pets eat.

Two of my cats have their food and water bowls on a sea life place mat that I found at a garage sale for 10¢. I made sure to wash it well when I brought it home.

I have also bought vinyl place mats that were on clearance at the grocery or department store.


#5 — Use old towels & comforters

Old comforters are great for beds for a large dog. They fit in the washing machine better than an actual dog bed.

If you do buy a dog bed from the store, make sure it is washable. A lot of beds say “surface clean only.” This will make it difficult to clean.

I also save old towels to dry my dog off after a bath or when it’s wet outside.

Old towels can also be used as a liner for your cat carrier too.


#6 — Saving money on pet food

You can save money on pet food using websites like They offer free shipping, which can be convenient.

I had a dog a few years ago that had a lot of allergies. I bought his food at a local pet store (no one else carried the food). To save money, I would buy it whenever it was on sale or they had a $5 off coupon.

Grocery stores have pet food on clearance sometimes as well. Make sure that it has not expired. I have found some good deals on dog biscuits as well by looking at the clearance section.

I only buy good brands of dog and cat food. Since I have had pets with allergies, I typically buy grain-free foods for them. It seems to help a lot.

When you feed your pets higher quality foods, you are helping them live healthier lives. My pets seem to have a lot less visits to the vet since they started eating better food.

Although it can be tempting to buy the cheapest pet food to save money, you will likely end up spending more money on vet bills. Plus, your pets might not be around as long if they aren’t as healthy.


#7 — Adopting a pet

pet adoption

Our pets have always been shelter pets or strays that no one would claim.

If you are interesting in adopting a pet, there are ways to save money.

Every year (at different times depending where you live), Bissell puts on an “Empty the Shelters” event. If you have been pondering getting a dog or cat, this event is a great start.

More information about Bissell’s Empty the Shelters event.

There is a small fee plus they give you a starter packet with some food and coupons for other pet supplies.

Last year, we adopted a kitten during an “Empty the Shelters” event. It was the first time we had gotten a kitten because we have always adopted older cats. She was already micro-chipped and had her first shots. She had also already been spayed.

Now that she is older, we realize that she is a Norwegian Forest Cat. This is not a super common cat breed, and it can be quite expensive to buy one from a breeder. She is quite large for 9 ½ months old. We could not tell that when we got her.

Sometimes, our local humane society will offer a second cat for free when you adopt an older cat.

Whatever you do, please take adopting pets seriously. They are not play things to be tossed aside when you are tired of them or are busy. Only get pets if you intend to make them a permanent part of your family!


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What are your best budget-friendly pet care tips?

How do you take care of your pets and not spend too much money? Comment down below.


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