How You Can Save Big Money on Pet Care

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These Cavalier Kings, 5-year-old Kinsey and 4-month-old Camden, are every bit family to their loving pup-parents Ashten and Alex, who asked ABC News not to use their last name, from Los Angeles.

“We kind of worry about the dynamics between the dogs, like we would if we had two children,” Ashten told ABC News.

As most pet-parents know, their furry kids are not only cute and cuddly, but can also be costly.

“She’s still in medical school right now so it’s tough just having one income,” Alex said.

This couple’s annual spending on their four-legged friends is more than $4,000 with expensive medicine, grooming, food, insurance, pet boarding and routine visits to the vet all adding up.

Animal expert and veterinarian Dr. Liz Hanson met with Ashten and Alex to walk them through money-saving tips for their beloved dogs.

Tip No. 1: For your pet’s meds, you don’t always have to buy at your vet. The markup can hit over 100 percent. Instead, Hanson says to use apps like GoodRx for pets or LowestMed, which let you compare prices at pharmacies in your neighborhood. And whenever possible, buy generic.

Tip No. 2: Instead of using a professional groomer, consider a self-service pet wash. And for grooming supplies, use discount sites like PetEdge and Chewy.

Tip No. 3: For food and treats, consider Amazon Prime. You’ll pay a subscription fee of $99 per year, but the discounts add up.

“That bag of dog food that you buy typically can cost $60,” Hanson said. “If you check out Amazon Prime, it’ll cut it down to $46.49. On top of that, it’s free shipping, and they get it delivered within a couple of days.”

Tip No. 4: Next time your family leaves town, consider DogVacay or Rover, where dog lovers in your area sign up to care for pups right in their own home. And, Hanson adds, it can cost up to 40 percent less than a kennel.

Dr. Hanson's bonus tips:

Additional Tip No. 1: For pet insurance, there are yearly ratings on consumeradvocate.org, and petinsurancereview.com is also a helpful website to get a good feel for what is right for your particular dog. Petinsurancereview.com is a good website to compare plans. Breed and location play a huge part in determining the right plan.

Additional Tip No. 2: Pet Phone app for iPhone helps keep track of your pet’s health needs and history, laid out in one place at your fingertips.

Additional Tip No. 3: For routine vet costs, ask for in-house labs, manufacturer rebates, coupons or free samples. Always ask for generic prescriptions, and look for annual health packages (i.e. Senior wellness or puppy health packages) or seasonal discounts (i.e. February is pet dental health month).

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