An increasing number of pet owners in the UK are surrendering their loved pets to animal shelters right now simply because they are no longer able to afford their everyday care. Besides the fact that this is a very sad and depressing sign of the times the shelters taking these animals are at bursting point themselves. The situation for many elderly folk who have a hard time just paying their gas bill is especially sad; pets are a vital thing for many elderly people as a dog or cat is often their only companionship.
What to do though? as the Govt makes no allowance for pet ownership in the Budget ( pets are a dispensible commodity obviously) working out your own budget for your pet’s care just might allow your family to keep your pet as an important member of the family for a long time to come. Here’s some suggestions on cost cutting…
Vet’s bills: This is one of the main reasons why people surrender their animals. Vet care is undoubtedly expensive and even the vets acknowledge this. But drugs and treatments cost money and of course the vet is a highly skilled professional who deserves to be paid for work done. I view pet insurance with a jaundiced eye as it is just another expense and usually has little unseen clauses; it usually just covers major work and not the smaller routine stuff. You can cut corners and save on vet bills by learning to do small things yourself.
Purchase vaccines online (reputable of course) and the vet will administer the drug at a reduced cost; also you can learn to give your pet an injection yourself. Folk with diabetic pets have to learn so why not…? get a book from the library and learn how to groom your pet and clip it’s claws – important to learn properly though but will save you money in the end.
Enquire at the Universities about veterinary students needing pets for practical work. Students in their final year need practice and work under strict supervision of qualified vets so your pet could receive a much needed operation for next to nothing or a course of regular treatment.
Animal welfare societies can assist with funding spaying/neutering and minor surgeries. As many vets work in conjunction with them and offer their services at a reduced cost this is a good option and one to check out.
Everyday care: if you can train your pets to be ‘indoor’ pets. This will keep them relatively safe from accidents and free from infection and diseases from other animals they might socialise with. For cats a tray of ordinary sand will suffice instead of pricey kitty litter. Try to feed your pet on good quality food and cut corners on other things; feeding them well will keep them healthier in the long run – and leave out the junk food as it rots their teeth – a dog or cat with bad teeth is not a nice thing at all. Also remember that a dog can have his teeth brushed as well! what about making it easy for, say, your cat to be an indoor moggie…? to do this you need to ensure your cat has ease of access to the house and here we are talking about the familiar ‘cat flap. These in the past have had their drawbacks i.e caught tails, cat getting stuck, but now with the new Pet Porte Smart flap your cat can come or go as he/she pleases using the microchip they have rather than their collar (which can cause accidents).
Start a pet account: open an account specifically for your pet/s. When you are paid, and this might not always be practical, put a few dollars into the account and leave it there for any emergencies or to fund your pet’s boarding fees when you go away on holiday.
Holidays: this is the cruncher. Many people find boarding fees too pricey and it is not always practical to take the dog or cat on holiday too. So this is the most popular time for surrendering animals. If you are travelling by car in Europe there are a growing number of hotels which are ‘pet friendly’ and certainly throughout France and Spain this is especially the case so it is viable to take Rover along as well. Otherwise employ an experience petsitter to mind your pet while you are away. If you have family or neighbours who are happy and willing to take on the responsibility then by all means go ahead with that option.
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