Pet peeves - MoneySense

Pet peeves

We love our pets, don’t we? We love ‘em so much North Americans spent over $50 billion on them last year.



Man, that’s a lot of kibble! And that’s an increase of more than 70% since 2001. Why the run-up? Well it seems we’re not happy to treat them like pets anymore. Now we want them to have all the stuff children have: designer outfits, stimulating games, organic food.

Back when I was a kid, my mother used to cook up a batch of cornmeal, throw in some veggies and add the left-over meat to make dog food. Not good enough anymore. Back then, “a dog’s life” meant sleeping outside and making do with table scraps. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reports that 2% of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners. And owners are happy to shell out $400 for an indoor potty, $225 for a trench coat, and bucketsful of money for drugs. It’s estimated that 77% of dogs and 52% of cats have been medicated in the past year.

If you’re looking for ways to trim your spending on your pets so you can actually some money for the future, why not:

Get pet insurance. It is astounding what people will pay to care for their four-legged babies. Just be aware that most pre-existing conditions won’t be covered and if you’re pet is older than 9, you may not get approved.

Stop buying so much food. In 2010, pet-lovers spent over $18 billion on food. Since more than 50% of cats and dogs are overweight, you’re not doing your poochie any favours with all that rich food you’re feeding him.

Learn to do your own grooming. Bathe ‘em yourself. Clip their nails. Clean their teeth. Hey, remember why you got that dog, cat, bird, fish, or hamster: you wanted something to take care of. So do it yourself and you’ll save a fortune!