Pets play a vital role in our lives, providing companionship and security, and enhancing our overall wellbeing. However, with the rising cost of living, many pet owners are struggling to cover their furry friends’ food, medical, and grooming expenses.
Factors driving up costs include the weak rand (South Africa is a net importer of pet food), load shedding, the expense of installing generators and solar plants at manufacturers’ premises, and the spiralling costs of raw materials such as maize.
According to market research company Hypercube Insights, the South African pet food market was worth $500.6 million in 2021 (around R9,387.4 million at current exchange rates). It’s forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6% between 2022 and 2027.
To help support pet owners during these difficult times, JustMoney.co.za, a site that helps South Africans make good money choices, provides 12 tips on budgeting and buying effectively, without compromising the wellbeing of your much-loved animal companions.
- Choose your pet wisely: if you’re still planning to purchase a pet, consider adopting rather than paying for an expensive pedigree. Select a hardy, low-maintenance breed.
- Prioritise preventative care: Taking proactive measures helps minimise future medical expenses. Stay on top of vaccinations, check-ups, dental care, grooming, and flea and tick control.
- Establish a pet-specific budget: Create a comprehensive budget that includes all pet-related expenses. This should cover costs such as food, routine vaccinations, preventative treatments, grooming, and emergency medical care.
- Investigate pet insurance: Research and evaluate pet insurance plans to cover yourself in case of unexpected medical emergencies. Compare different plans, coverage limits, premiums, and deductibles to find the best option.
- Compare prices: Explore pet food and product brands and consult your vet about affordable yet nutritious options. Look out for discounts, coupons and loyalty programmes. In addition, inquire whether your vet offers discounts for several pets or regular clients.
- Buy in bulk: Generally speaking, the bigger the package of food or medication, the cheaper it is.
- Search online: Pet food, accessories, supplements, and medication can often be found cheaper online. These can be delivered to your door, saving you time and transport costs.
- Consider DIY and home care: Tasks like basic grooming and puppy training can be done at home, reducing the need for professional services. Invest time in learning and practising these skills to save money while strengthening the bond between you and your pet.
- Buy a bargain and support a good cause: Many charity shops receive donations of kennels, cat baskets, toys, and bedding. Buy these goods at a fraction of the retail cost and know that your money is helping others who are less fortunate.
- Share pet-sitting costs: A professional pet-sitter and dog walker can be expensive. Instead, team up with friends and neighbours to help one another out when travelling for work or holidays.
- Source low-cost services: If you’re struggling financially, dedicated non-profit organisations offer low-cost veterinary clinics, vaccinations and spaying/neutering services. Consult animal welfare organisations to find these valuable resources.
- Neuter or spay animals: Prevent the possibility of unwanted litters,and further expenses, by taking action when your pets are still young.
“JustMoney understands the financial hardships that many pet owners face. By following these budgeting tips and making use of available resources, pet owners can prioritise their furry friends’ needs while navigating a tough economy,” says Shafeeka Anthony, Marketing Manager of JustMoney.
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