December 2, 2022
  • December 2, 2022

Affordable alternatives to overpriced pet products

By on November 23, 2021 0


Wojciech Kozielczyk / Getty Images / iStockphoto

It’s so easy to walk into the pet supply store for a small, inexpensive item and walk out after putting $ 100 on your credit card. Probably every pet parent has done it – more than once. You’ve probably spent more than you need to on some of these purchases, either because they make your life as a pet owner easier or because you just wanted to give your pet a treat.

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Whether you have a dog or a cat, a rabbit or a bird, you can find – or make – substitute products that will help care for or keep your pet entertained.

Toys and others

Our dogs and cats certainly enjoy their entertainment, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Cat scratching posts, for example, start at just $ 15 for a simple design, or you can spend $ 400 or more on a designer cat tree. The truth is, your cat is probably not that special.

“Some cats are just as happy with cardboard boxes and paper bags for investigating and playing. There are many great websites with instructions for making your own cat furniture; just research ‘how to make cat furniture,’ said Hannah Stember, director of public relations for the Best Friends Animal Society.

See: How pet parents can prepare financially for a return to the office

Dr Sarah Wooten, the staff veterinarian for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, OK.

“Cats love the texture of cardboard and sissel rope,” she said. “Your used Amazon boxes can make great hiding places and hiding places for your cat, or you can make your own scratch post / art with a glue gun and sissel rope from the hardware store.”

Cats also take great pleasure in looking out the window. The Best Friends Society recommends installing a bird feeder outside of a window where your cat can bird watch. For better viewing, build a feline window perch.

Read more: Most Americans spend more on pets than they spend each year

Alternatives to cat litter

A 36-pound container of cat litter costs about $ 40 at the pet store, but wooten says you don’t need expensive stuff.

“If you have an indoor cat, litter is essential,” she said. “However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy scented litter, and cats actually don’t like it. Instead, get yourself a fine, sandy, unscented clumping litter box, and pour in just enough to have 2-3 inches of litter so the cat can cover their eliminations.

The alternative costs around $ 13 for 29 pounds.

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Sarah-Jane White, a animal behavior and enrichment specialist, said there was no need to purchase any, suggesting that you make your own instead.

“Kitty litter has to be one of the biggest expenses of owning a cat, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort making your own, you can save hundreds. dollars on this essential item, ”she said.

One recommendation she made was about the newspaper you throw in the recycling bin anyway. His recipe? Shred the newspaper, soak it in soapy water to remove ink, knead it into pulp and then spread it out to dry.

“It then crumbles into pieces, and if you add a tablespoon of baking soda, it will help absorb odors,” she said. “The newspaper will then look and function like commercial cat litter at a fraction of the cost. “

See: How much does it cost to adopt a pet from a shelter?

Pet grooming and care

While pet grooming is more of a service than a product, you can find ways to save money. Start by giving your dog a bath. A bath starts at around $ 20 for a very small dog – double for a very large dog. Add about $ 15 to $ 25 for a full grooming, depending on your dog’s size.

“Pet grooming products / services are noticeably overpriced and expensive, and many pet owners would be happy to find a suitable alternative,” said Becky Brown, CEO and co-founder of “I always advise people to groom their pets at home, and all they need for quality grooming is a pair of scissors, some quality inexpensive shampoo, and a decent comb.”

She said the comb and shampoo combination can be found for under $ 20.

Even if you aren’t comfortable doing the entire grooming process on your own, Wooten said there are things you can do around the house. You can trim the nails of a small dog or cat with the same type of nail clippers you would use. If the nail is bleeding, dip it in cornstarch. Treat chin acne, or chronic problems associated with bacterial infections of the skin folds, with over-the-counter human acne swabs at the drugstore. And finally, for ear cleaning, make your own ear cleanser solution, using equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol and putting a few drops in your pet’s ears every other day. If there are signs of ear infection, such as excessive smell, discharge, redness or scratching, do not use it.

Find: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Other ideas

The alternatives to pet items that you can buy are only limited by your creativity. Caughill shared his thoughts in other categories.

If you’re surprised at the price of GPS pet collars, you can save money by using an Apple AirTag, ”he said. “Just be sure to check the tag periodically to make sure it still works, especially if your dog decides to let off steam in the mud.”

And if Fido does exactly that, Caughill had a solution for that too.

“Pets get dirty, then bring that mess into your house,” he said. “That’s why there is a huge range of pet wipes available, from eye wipes to paw wipes to ear wipes and more. If you like to DIY, you can make these wipes yourself inexpensively with a paper towel roll, your pet’s shampoo and an airtight container.

Finally, he said, there is an alternative to the Shake & Break training tool popularized by dog ​​trainer Brandon McMillan. You shake the gadget when you want your pet to stop a behavior you want to break, like jumping on the couch. The noise redirects the dog’s attention back to you and away from what it is doing. It costs around $ 16, but you can make your own.

All you have to do, Caughill said, is put the change in an empty coffee bottle or can and shake it when warranted.

Problem solved. Money saved.

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About the Author

Jami Farkas holds a communications degree from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked as a reporter or editor for dailies across the United States. She brings to GOBankingRates her background as a sports writer, business writer, religious writer, digital writer – and more. Passionate about real estate, she passed the real estate license exam in her state and still wonders whether to get into selling homes – or just writing about selling homes.