Modern Pet Parenting: How to Save Money


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Modern Pet Parenting: How to Save Money

Are you a modern pet parent looking for ideas on how to save money while still giving your pet the best life possible? Pet ownership (or as we call it "pet parenting") seems to cost more now than ever. Well, fear not! Technology has revolutionized the way we take care of our furry kids, DIY & upcycling is a THING now, and it's never been easier to stay within a budget.

meme of a cat sitting at a computer as if it's typing and wearing glasses

Hold the phone, Joan. You may be thinking, "Yeah, but innovative and cutting-edge products are always SO expensive. There's no way they can save me money." Oh, friend, we promise...investing in your pet will always money in the long run.

Trust us, a lot of what we are going to dig into below is su-PAW affordable when compared to high vet bills.

You bet we're also going to share some super high-tech innovative stuff, but we've also got low-tech (even some DIY and crazy-daisy affordable) solutions, too. So read on—trust us, you don't want to miss out on this op-paw-tunity!

Wallet Soothing Shopping for Pet Owners

White boxer dog sitting behind a desk wearing glasses and looking serious

We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you shop smartly for supplies for your furry family members. From knowing which websites to trust (PetHub, of course!) to taking advantage of promo codes and deals, we’ve got you covered. So, grab a cup of coffee, snuggle up with your pet, and let’s get shopping! Your pets will thank you.

PetHub Perks are PAW-some

Pet parents can save by taking advantage of the various perks offered through PetHub's Basic+ membership to reduce many expenses. From discounts on online vet visits and pet supplies to free shipping and exclusive deals, there’s something for everyone.

screen grab of the PetHub perks landing page featuring different deals and offers

For just a handful of bucks a month, you get thousands of dollars of savings over the year on pet products, services. and vet visit costs. And...BONUS...for every $3 you spend with PetHub, we distribute at least 3 digital ID tags to community animal welfare programs as part of our Shelter Share tag subsidy and donation programs which can help to reduce the cost of adoption fees. Okay...enough with the self-promotion.

Autoship It, Baby

One of the best ways to save money on cat and dog supplies as a pet parent is by signing up for an auto-ship subscription from retailers like Amazon and Chewy. This allows you to schedule regular delivery of food, medicine, treats, and toys — all at discounted prices.

mem of golden colored dog wearing glasses and sitting behind a laptop

Not only does this convenience take care of your pet’s needs regularly, but it’s also a great way to keep more cash in your pocket. If you’re looking for an easy way to get the supplies you need without breaking the bank, give auto-ship a try!

Loyalty Gets Ya Treated Like Royalty

Speaking of exclusive offers, there are a variety of pet-specific retailer and brand loyalty programs out there that offer special benefits to members (and most of them are free!) From rewards points, and free products after a set number of previous purchases, to exclusive access to products and services, loyalty programs are another great way to save money on supplies for dogs and cats while also feeling like a valued customer.

Screen grab of loyalty programs for Rover and PetSmart featuring a white pitbull type dog winking and smiling

Big pet stores like Petco and Petsmart definitely have reward programs, but so do many small independent pet shops (and sometimes those benefits FAR outweigh what you can get at a big box store). So, if you want to make sure your pet gets the best of everything, take advantage of these great membership benefits whenever offered.

Follow Me, Like Me, LUV Me

Ah, social media. You may have a love-hate relationship with it, but don't forget to keep an eye out for discounts and promotional offers posted on social feeds. Many pet supply retailers and brands use their platforms to announce coupons, special offers, and free shipping deals.

Meme of chihuahua type dog smiling, then snarling

And (shocking, we know!) many furry influencers and their paw-rents also have great promotions to share on pet products they love. So be sure to follow your favorite brands, stores, and online pet celebrities to make sure you never miss out on a deal for toys and treats.

Save on Vet Visit Costs with Innovative Products & Services

A vet visit can be a dreaded experience for both you and your dog or cat. But what if I told you that you could get on-demand vet advice from the comfort of your couch? And tracking all of your pet's vaccines and records with paper files? That's so 20th century, my friends. That's right, technology tools can provide you with peace of mind and make the whole veterinary process smoother all while reducing vet costs!

Telehealth Isn't Just for Hoomans

It's no secret - medical expenses for any pet type continues to be a huge part of a pet parent's budget. Veterinary services bills can empty your wallet faster than a slot machine if your pet is ill or injured.

Technology to the rescue! Even a basic vet visit can be costly, one way to really cut down on pet care costs is to utilize telehealth. Here are just a few of the paw-some ways telehealth can reduce vet bills:

  • Reduce unnecessary emergency visits by checking in with a virtual vet first to see if a vet visit is even necessary
  • Save on gas (and stress) by consulting with a veterinary professional in your PJs from the couch
  • Get advice on common health issues like: allergies, upset stomachs, and potty problems
  • Ask questions you may have forgotten to ask a vet about having a new pup or older dog and everything in between

So, Is There a Vet Telehealth Store, or...?

You may be wondering how to get access to online veterinary care. There are several different ways to get telehealth for your pet. Sometimes, though it's not that common yet, your vet might actually offer it as part of their standard services. Many pet insurance companies also offer tele-triage and other online wellness tools.

There are also several companies offering veterinary telehealth, and even telemedicine (which means that they can prescribe medication in some states). Perhaps the most affordable 24/7 online vet access is through PetHub Wellness Tools.

With just a few dollars a month covering your entire family of fur kids. Don't miss out on getting the most out of your vet visits minus the typical vet visit cost - get a telehealth plan today and take advantage of all the amazing benefits it has to offer!

No Pet is Purr-fect and That's Why You Need Pet Insurance

Meme of a cat sitting like the most interesting man in the world and looking at the camera

Face it - accidents happen. Unexpected illness happens. Old age happens. Swallowed sparkly ribbon on Christmas Eve happens. That's why investing in pet health insurance and wellness savings plans from the moment you get a new dog or cat is a smart and frugal move. Not only will it provide peace of mind knowing your fur kid is covered in case of an emergency, but it can also save you lots of money on veterinary medicine costs in the long run.

Spending My Entire Day Looking for Pet Health Insurance is a Great Use of My Time!

Said no one.


Not sure what pet insurance is all about? Unsure of what kind of coverage you should get? Worried about how much it will cost? Dreading the hours of research ahead of you?

Just like human health insurance, coverage can vary depending on lots of factors for pet insurance. No worries, we've got you covered. PetHub has a super handy-dandy comparison tool that will take you 5 minutes or less to use that will get you started on the pet insurance journey. Our tool will fetch multiple pet insurance plan options and outline the coverages and monthly average costs for each.

That Vet Visit Cost Weighing You Down?

Meme of german shepard type dog with its legs positioned so it can't enter a doorway

Investing in wellness plans at animal hospitals can be a wise choice for pet owners, not only in terms of comprehensive care for their beloved pets but also when it comes to vet care savings. This approach not only helps ensure your pet's well-being but also allows for better budgeting and potential savings on veterinary costs in the long run. These wellness plans provide a cost-effective solution to pet parents, ensuring their furry friend receives the best care possible without straining their wallets.

Some examples of Veterinary Wellness Plans:

VCA Care Club:

  • Preventive and wellness veterinary care packages for pets of all ages
  • Bundles services like routine exams, vaccinations, and screenings into an affordable monthly payment
  • Many packages offer additional discounts on other services, effectively giving you more bang for your buck

Petco's Vital Care:

  • A structured schedule of essential services that contribute to the overall health of your pet, including an annual wellness exam, grooming, and even discounts on pet supplies

Banfield's Optimum Wellness:

  • Preventive care packages tailored to the unique needs of your pet
  • Can include unlimited office visits, a routine check-up, vaccines, and early screening for serious conditions

That HUGE Chonk-o-Meter Bill Will Come Due Soon

Weight management is crucial for pets as it affects their quality of life and can lead to several health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. By keeping your pet's weight under control, you can not only ensure they live a healthier and happier life but also save tons on potential veterinary costs in the long run. (Get it, "save tons?")


Cat chonk scale visual indicator

There are many tools available today that can assist with reducing the chonk to save your pet and your wallet. For example, smart pet feeders can measure precise portions of pet food, helping to prevent overfeeding. Similarly, pet fitness trackers can monitor your pet's activity levels and provide insights into whether they're getting enough exercise.

Ya Don't Need High Tech to Slow Down the Scarf

We highly recommend puzzle feeders, lick mats, slow feeders, and snuffle mats for both dogs and cats. There are so many great options to choose from, but we are partial to the following products:

  • Doc & Phoebe's Indoor Hunting kit is our hands-down favorite for feeding cats with a "chonk" issue and for helping a cat's instinct to hunt
  • Hyper Pet IQ Calm treat mats are terrific for wet food feeding for dogs or cats, and not only do they slow down scarfers, but they also help reduce stress and anxiety

Dog playing with an Outward Hound treat and food puzzle

  • Outward Hound is the PetHub staff's go-to on all things puzzle when it comes to our doggos -- durable, challenging, and fun, their slow feeders come in variable sizes to suit any pupper
  • Not gonna lie, there are simply TOO MANY fabulous snuffle mats out there to pick just one -- you can waste hours on Etsy or Amazon and find one (or four!) that suits your fancy (get several with lots of different hiding places to always keep your dogs on their toes when sniffing out snacks!)

Let a Machine Be the Bad Guy

Meme of a grey cat looking at the camera angrily with a smart feeder in the background

Catit PIXI Smart Feeders are not only paw-dorable, but they are also fully customizable automatic cat feeders that connect with a super sweet app. Probably our favorite thing is that they make a version of this feeder that is for wet food (ah, hear that kitty choir meow "Hallelujah!"), that keeps six meals worth of yummy canned noms chilled and ready to go for scheduled nosh times.

PetSafe has several different kinds of automatic feeders for both dogs and cats. While not as adorable as the PIXI feeders, Petsafe feeders use several different kinds of tech that fit a wide range of pet owner budgets.

Photo of PupPod and its app on a smart phone

For doggos, we can't rave enough about PupPod. Though not a feeder per se, the Rocker toy is great for dispensing kibble that makes your pup work for it. Not only do puzzle toys like this one help slow down your pooch, but they also make feeding time more than just about inhaling calories. Your dog will fill his belly while working out his brain (which burns a ton of calories).

Finally, though we haven't personally tried this feeder, folks that purchase the Petdiary Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder have no regrets. With a whopping 4.7 rating, this best-selling device looks great and holds up to 17 cups of pet food, can be customized for up to 9 portions per meal. That's alotta noms! You can even record a special voice message for your snookums!

Bet Your Dog Does More Steps Daily Than You

There are SO many collar-based pet activity trackers on the market these days, it's hard to keep... um... track of them all. While we think it's debatable whether or not an activity tracker for your pet can save you money, we 100% agree that for those with furry chonks in their homes, these "Fitbits" for pets can help you help your pet to take off the pounds. We have a few favorites for that purpose (and we have an extensive overview of the GPS and location aspect of these trackers in another article):

Meme of a chunky grey cat trying to fit in a small box

Whistle Health 2.0 This isn't an all-in-one tracker like other devices. The Whistle Health 2.0 is solely dedicated to helping to monitor and translate your pet's behavior into health insights.

Photo of a whistle health pet monitor

Tractive for Dogs (and Cats) is a multi-function, super affordable tracker that has a proven track record. It's also one of the highest-rated devices on the market...for good reason.

Photo of tractive cat tracker packaging

FItBark has the bonus of working in concert with your favorite fitness wearable to paw-er up the motivation to move.

DIY: When You Spend $60 and 18 Hours to Make a $12 Cat Sweater

We KID! Seriously, the costs associated with professional pet care and manufactured toys (and decor!!) can quickly add up and put a dent in our wallets.

What if there was a way to provide top-notch care and fun for your pet while also saving money?

Meme of a chunky tabbie cat wearing a light blue sweater and looking grumpy

The good news is, there is! By doing (or making) at home what is typically done by pros that cost money, you can not only cut down on your costs and supply expenses but also strengthen the bond with your pet. From grooming to basic lab tests, you can keep your pet in tip-top shape right from the comfort of your home. And let's hear for recycled poo bags (um...ew!) and homemade toys and treats, huh? Let's dive in and uncover how you can become a DIY pet aficionado!

At-Home Health Testing

MySimplePetLab at-home health testing kits are not only affordable, but they can also help you monitor your pet's health at home, without expensive and stressful trips to the vet just to get a lab run. Founded by veterinarians, you get quick results that you can share with your veterinarian.

photo of My Simple Pet Lab packaging


Got a pet with skin or tummy issues? Rather than pouring money into trying a ton of different foods and additional costs of going to the vet for extensive allergy testing, we recommend starting with a simple ingredient sensitivity test.

5Strands Packaging

Two great options that offer a special discount Perk for PetHub Basic+ Members: My Pet Sensitivity tests over 460 ingredients found in foods and treats. The other food sensitivity test we love is 5Strands, which uses strands of your cat or dog's fur to test for food and environmental intolerances which can be common for certain breeds.

Litterbox Monitoring Can Be Fun (Really!)

Take it from us, poor kidney health can be an ongoing cash drain at the vet. Staying on top of your cat's urinary health can really equate to long-term savings.

Purina's Petivity Smart Cat Litterbox is a new product that uses AI technology and a special litterbox. The free Petivity app can detect health conditions like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and obesity in your cat by identifying changes in weight and bathroom activity.

Pretty litter packaging

A favorite used by several PetHub team members is Pretty Litter. Not only does it do a great job of keeping things stink-free, but it also changes color if your cat's urine is "off" to help detect health problems like urinary tract infections, bladder inflammation, urinary stones, or blood in the urine. And BONUS -- one 8-lb bag lasts two months for a single cat.

Speaking of Poop

If you are like most of us, you prolly have that box or paper bag under the sink stuffed full of plastic bags from stores. Sure, we've all got at least a dozen canvas reusable bags that we sometimes forget in the car and those odious plastic bags are still part of life. Guess what? They make AWESOME poop bags. Double them up, and use them for scooped clumps and poo from the litter box, too.

At Home S-paw Days

Look, we love our groomer, too. But sometimes, the wallet protests and we just can't afford to take the pupper to the doggie spa regularly. Chewy has a large selection of really affordable and effective at-home grooming tools that can help you spread out the time needed between professional visits.

I'm Not a Dentist, But I Play One at Home

Just like you, your pet should get their teeth cleaned professionally. And, just like you, dental health is a cornerstone for overall health and can run-up your vet costs in the future if you ignore it.

Teef! Packaging

We love cutting-edge dental care products like Teef! to help keep those chompers healthy. Don't forget to brush! Sure, the Jasper Finger Toothbrush is not techy at all, but it's just the best for getting those toofs clean quickly.

Make Toys you Could Sell on Etsy (or Not -- Your Pet Won't Know the Difference)

Creating DIY dog and cat toys is not only a fun and engaging activity, but it's also an excellent way to save money and promote environmental sustainability. By repurposing household items that might otherwise end up in the trash, you're effectively recycling and upcycling, reducing waste while providing entertainment for your pets.


meme of a yellow lab wearing a baseball hat, orange shirt and overalls

From turning old T-shirts into braided tug toys, using toilet paper rolls as puzzle feeders, to filling a plastic bottle with treats, there are countless ways to craft exciting, cost-effective toys for your furry family. Not only does this approach help keep your pet stimulated and happy, but it also allows you to contribute positively to our environment by reusing and reducing waste. So, get creative and start crafting these eco-friendly toys that are sure to bring joy to your pet's playtime.

Do I Smell Baking Cookies?

Roll up your sleeves, preheat the oven, and get ready for a paw-licking good time! Baking treats at home for your fur babies is not only a wallet-friendly activity but also a heartfelt way to show them just how much you care. Picture their excitement as they catch a whiff of peanut butter pumpkin doggie biscuits or salmon catnip kitty treats baking in the oven. Their tails wagging and purrs vibrating in anticipation - it's pure joy!

When you bake at home, you're in control of what goes into your pet's treats, ensuring they're getting wholesome, preservative-free snacks. Plus, nothing quite says "I love you" like the warmth and effort put into a homemade treat. So, let's dive into this exciting culinary adventure that guarantees happy tummies and wagging tails!

Homemade Dog Food

One last tip. Sooooo, this might seem counter-intuitive when many kibble options are relatively inexpensive. That said, a lot of pet parents (like much of the PetHub staff) don't dig feeding our fur kids dry little brown bits of highly processed meals. Commercial raw and wet (or even fancy sous-vied) foods are often rather expensive, so you might be looking for an alternative.

meme of a pug in front of a grill as if it's cooking sausages

One of our team members, our CEO, Lorien, recently switched from a super yummy, but pretty pricey food that her picky princess dog loved to making Hedy's food at home with a meal kit through Dog Child. Hedy's daily meal costs went from over $7 a day to under $3.25 a day -- a savings of more than 50%! Just make sure you use an additive like Dog Child or Dr. Mercola's Meal Mix, plus follow the recipes they recommend exactly, so your doggo has nutritionally balanced and complete homemade food.

Well, That's All Folks!

There you have it, kids! A handy guide to ensure that your pet's health and happiness don't have to break the bank. Who knew that pet care could involve so much fun, creativity, and a dash of good old-fashioned thriftiness? From turning that toilet paper tube into a cat's new favorite toy, to becoming an amateur pet dentist, or even playing lab tech for your furry roommates - the journey to cost-effective pet parenting is filled with creativity and embracing technology. And remember, you don't need to sell on Etsy to make an amazing toy, and you definitely don't need a culinary degree to bake some paw-licking good pet treats. Most importantly, remember to have fun along the way because your furry kid certainly will! So, grab one of the tp tubes you've saved, fire up that oven, and let's get saving!