30 Ways to Cut the Cost of Living: Pet Care

#28: Five tips for saving on pet care

Some of you may have read that we recently rescued a dog from Animal Friends shelter here in Pittsburgh.  He is a year and a half old and is a cute little Beagle/ Dachshund mix. We named him Charlie, and our boys just love him!

I’m at the beginning of learning ways to save when it comes to pets, but here is what I have to offer so far:

1) If you’re in the market for a pet:

-Check in with your local animal shelters and keep an eye out for just the right pet.  Shelters usually don’t charge for the animals, per se, but they ask for a donation to help cover their operating costs.

-Ask family and friends: There could be any number of pets that are “available to a good home for free.”

-Put a wanted ad in the local paper.  You might turn up several possibilities of free pets!

2) Once you have a pet, save on your vet bills by visiting Petsmart Here in Pittsburgh, our stores offer a free first visit and consultation (see below).

3) Get rewards cards at Petsmart, Petco, etc.

If you shop at these stores for pet supplies, make sure you’re getting something back for each purchase you make!

4) Purchase pet meds through discounted vendors, such as 1-800-PetMeds.

1-800-PetMeds is America’s largest online pet medication vendor. Enjoy weekly specials and reduced rates on medications, plus free shipping on orders over $39.

5) Of course, use coupons for pet food!

I was recently able to buy 25 cans of nice dog food at Giant Eagle for $.12 per can by stacking a sale price, store cash back promotion, and coupons!

Here is the info on a free first visit to the vet at Petsmart:

Uniquely located inside PetSmart stores, Banfield Pet Hospital™ offers convenience by enabling you to take care of your pet’s veterinary needs and go shopping at the same time! We are a network of over 770 pet hospitals across the U.S., led by experienced, local veterinarians and guided by medical evidence. We learn from treating millions of pets each year and use this information to develop treatment methods that help to ensure the safety and health of the pets we see at all our hospital locations. By choosing Banfield for veterinary service, you get a trusted veterinary partner dedicated to keeping your pet healthy, energetic and alert for years to come!

About Banfield Services:

At Banfield, we offer a wide range of services to help keep your dog, cat or small pet healthy throughout their entire life, including:

  • Vaccinations
  • Surgery, such as Spays & Neuters
  • Dentistry
  • Internal Medicine
  • Geriatric Care
  • Cardiology
  • Advanced Diagnostics, including radiology
  • Microchipping
  • Skin Care and Flea Control
  • Dietary and Behavioral Counseling
Five Months of Flea & Tick Protection for $50 for Your Dog.

Free Office Visit and Consultation *

As partners, Banfield and PetSmart has teamed up, and we’re offering a free office visit and consultation for your pet. In order to receive this offer, please download this coupon and submit at the hospital at the time of your visit.

Use our Hospital locator to see if there is a Banfield location at your local PetSmart.

Additional resources for discounted pet supplies:


$5 off $50 at PetMountain.com with coupon code SAVE.



  1. Hi, recently we added Zoe to our little family. I went into petsmart the first time and there she was sitting in on of those cages…
    4 days later husband I went there and were happy that Zoe wanted to come with us.
    I have found a few additional resources

    BTW, the description of the first visit to the vet at petsmart is titled with petco. Always these PC’s with their own minds….


    • Andria says:

      Hi Paula,
      Great resources. Thank you! And thanks for the heads up on the error…I’m going to fix it now! 🙂

  2. Great advice. I don’t know if you’ve found a vet yet for your new family member but here’s some advice that our vet gave us when we were looking into wet versus dry food….Our vet told us to find a good quality dry food (the crunchiness helps clean your pet’s teeth) and only us wet food sparingly as a treat or a source of fiber (we have an older dog that get’s “backed up” every once in awhile and wet food helps right her system again). Our vet told us to think of wet food as “candy”….yeah it tastes good but it’s not good for you/them.

    Hope your enjoying your new furbaby!


    • Andria says:

      Hi Jamie,
      Great advice! Thank you so much! We were having trouble getting him to eat at first, so we mixed a bit of the wet food in with his dry food, but I am hoping we can get away from that practice soon. Seems like he’s starting to put on a tiny bit of weight.

  3. How to cut pet costs…

    Do not give vaccinations, other than a 3 year rabies (same thing as a 1 year, but safer). You can get a titer test(check vets in your area for the best price) done to check your pets antibodies to see if they even need them. If you do not want to skip them and do a titer, the new protocol is to do them every three years; more and more vets are doing this.


    Do not give flea and tick medications, use Diatomaceous Earth (can also be used around the house and as a dewormer and more) or similar non toxic product and check for fleas and ticks. You can use dish detergent to kill fleas and ticks too. More and more fleas and ticks are becoming immuned to them or pets are having reactions to them, which mean off to the vet and added costs.

    Do not post an ad in a paper or online or answer an ad for a pet (even free ones) on craigslist or similar sites; great way to have to pay A LOT more at a vet.

    Do not pay for dog foods at a grocery store or for brands you would find at one, do the higher quality dog foods. It may seem to cost more, but you are feeding less…

    There is probably more I can add…


    This is a myth. Dry food does not clean their teeth. Wet food is fine to give to pets. Vets have very little education in nutrition.

  4. The free first visit at Banfield might be nice, but don’t let them convince you to sign up for their plans. We learned the hard way with our first dog. We signed up to get the discount offered for the spaying required by the rescue service, but it cost us way more. In the end, I’m pretty sure that even the discounted spaying was more expensive than our local vet (that we found later) would have been, and then they proceeded to overcharge us repeatedly by telling us that if we were slow on getting an immunization booster, that they had to start over and the extra shots we’re out of our pocket. The vet we later went to told us that was ridiculous. I’ll personally never go to those thieves again.

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