This can greatly reduce the amount of food you need to buy if you sign up with all the manufacturers' clubs since doing so can result in several free bags of pet food per month.
Join Store Pet Clubs
In addition to pet-supply manufacturer clubs, many grocery stores also have pet clubs. To become a member of one of these clubs, you typically sign up through the grocery store's loyalty card.
The exact rewards will vary from grocery store to grocery store, but cash rebates, free products or special check out coupons are all common rewards which can lower the price paid for pet food.
When you get your receipt, many stores also print out coupons based on what you buy. Since pet products are highly competitive, pet food and treat purchases often elicit heavily discounted pet food offers from competing brands in the hope that you will change brands.
Another place to find discounts is through pet store loyalty programs, such as at PetCo and PetSmartPETM. Signing up with these pet store programs will net you such things as special offers, coupons, early announcement of sales and gift cards.
Make Your Own
Pet food is a relatively new invention meaning that it's possible to make your own pet food for a reasonable price. There are a lot of recipes for all different types of pets that you can find by doing a search which should allow you to find recipes that fits your budget.
If you can't afford to spend anything on pet food, try contacting your local food shelter. In addition to food for families, they also receive pet food from time to time.
If you need help with pet food for a short period only during a particularly rough time, try calling your vet or a local animal shelter to see if they can help out. Often they are given free samples that they can share and if they don't, they will usually know where you may be able to get some help.
Negotiate Vet Bills
Another area that can get costly is veterinarian bills. It's important not to neglect your pet's health needs due to an inability to pay.
If you explain your situation, many veterinarians are willing to help out how they can to make payment for their services work. If you are unable to create a workable financial arrangement with your veterinarian, there are numerous organizations which offer low-cost pet care.
Many pet stores offer low-cost maintenance care and shots. You can also contact your local animal shelter and they should be able to provide a list of veterinarians that will provide low cost care for your pet.
If Worse Comes to Worse
If even after using these methods, you are in a position where you can't afford to keep your pet, keep in mind these things:
- Do not abandon your pets. Leaving them locked up in the house with a large pile of food is one of the worst things you can do. It can be weeks and even longer before anyone visits the house. Abandoning your pet in a park or forest also can doom pets, which usually aren't prepared to fend for themselves in the wild.
- Find pet-friendly housing. If the reason you are unable to keep the pet is because you can't find housing that allows pets, contact your local rescue shelter or vet for information.
- Ask a friend. Check with friends and family and see if anyone can take in the pet until you get back on your feet.
- Talk with local veterinarians to see if any will offer low-cost boarding while you are looking for a new home. Veterinarians may also be able to assist in finding a new home for your pet since they often come in contact with people looking for pets.
- Contact a Rescue Shelter. If it's impossible to find someone to take in the pet, contact your local animal shelter. Also check with local rescue groups. When checking with shelters and rescue groups, ask if they are able to foster the animal for a period of time while you secure a new home so you can reclaim your pet later.