We all know that times are hard and will probably get harder over the winter months and into next year.
People are tightening their belts, watching what they spend on their everyday essentials and scrutinising every purchase. So where does this leave the independent pet shop?
We have been lucky. The pet industry benefited from the pandemic. Pet shops were deemed an essential business, so we stayed open, customers were happy to shop local more frequently and we welcomed a lot of new pet families into the fold with puppy and kitten market growing exponentially.
With costs going up (for us too!) it is now time for us to help you save a few pennies and hopefully ensure we are here to support you and your pets for years to come.
These are a few ideas:
- Weigh your pet's food. If you are over feeding them this is not only bed for their health but bad for your pocket.
Many dog food kibble brands supply free measuring cups or make one yourself with an old plastic mug or bottle. Weigh your pet's food allowance for the day into the cup and mark it using a permanent marker. Ensure that the whole family only feeds from this cup in a day (this avoids your pet being fed twice by mistake too!)
- Make a bag of dog kibble go further: Add a handful of chopped raw veggies or cook a few extra’s when doing you own dinner and add these or even freshly cooked rice to your dog’s bowl. Remember not to add salt though!
- Check your pet's weight. Most vets offer this as a free service and have scales in the waiting room. If they need to lose a kilo or 2 reduce their daily intake (see weighing your pet's food above) or cut down on treats.
- Mix your dog treats up with the daily allowance of kibble (if using) and lesser value treats. Keeping your dog guessing will also benefit any training. Also buy bigger treats and break them up into small amounts.
- Long lasting chews can also be excellent value. We often give these away during “Freebie Friday” so you can try before you buy!
- Clear out your pet's toy cupboard and rediscover old toys or give them to charity (we collect for the RSPCA).
- Buy multipacks or bigger bags of food if you have storage. Multi packs of wet food are usually cheaper and will save you money in the long run. With kibble though you need to make sure you do not have the bag open for too long. Most natural food (such as Canagan) shouldn’t be open for more that 4-6 weeks although if you are storing in an airtight container this could go a little longer and avoid waste. Keep an eye out for offers too or check to see if your local pet shop offers a discount on larger purchases. For example, we offer 10% off if you buy more than 18 Forthglade trays or Edgard Cooper and Canagan tins.
- Make your own enrichment toys. You could even give these as gifts at Christmas. Think home-made snuffle mats or tug toys but do make sure the material you are using is dog friendly.
- Make your own treat biscuits. Liver biscuits are easy to make, and dogs love them. Died fish skin is also a winner. Search for these online to find a recipe you like.
- Worried about vet bills? Minor complaints can often be solved with over-the-counter remedies. Get to know your local pet shop and ask them for advice in the first instance. Have something big coming up (like a dental or neutering) shop around. Call all local vets and ask them for a quote (after all you wouldn’t just use the first plumber you came across when needing a new boiler would you!?)
- Regular home grooming helps prevent uncomfortable matts which ultimately have to be clipped out by a groomer for their welfare resulting in a chilly pet. Brushing at home regularly also helps you bond with your pet.
- Review your annual pet vaccinations. Many studies seem to suggest that some vaccines can last longer than a year and in the case of elderly pets you may want to consider if you need to vaccinate at all. Of course, you should always do your own research and discuss with your vet.
- Review your monthly flea treatments. If you are confident you have no fleas in the house a less regular regime or a cheaper option may still be enough to keep fleas at bay.
- If you have decided to keep the heating low at home, make sure you have a good quality jumper for your dog. Equafleece is a firm favourite here at The Pet Shed, particularly for “non-standard” shaped dogs or come in and try our Hotterdog range made by Equafleece. A small heat pad can also be cheaper than heating the whole room/home.
Have any more suggestions? Please feel free to send them to [email protected]