Save Money By Developing Affordable Pet Grooming Habits

It's no secret that grooming costs add up. Start building your affordable pet grooming habits today - without affecting your pet's quality of life.

Professional grooming is a valuable service, but it can get expensive - especially if your pet requires regular trimming.  Even a visit every 3 months can be a costly proposition, especially if you have multiple pets.  By the time you calculate the cost of your time and fuel, professional grooming can run into hundreds of dollars every year.

Where You Can Skimp -- And Where You Shouldn't

Visit the dollar store or general discount outlet for many of your supplies.  Cotton balls, mineral oil (used for breaking up mats), baby wipes, and even some pet-specific grooming tools can be bought there.   Be careful about choosing brushes and combs from a cheap source because they may break unexpectedly or have sharp edges where they shouldn't.  It always pays to get a good brush and comb from a reputable supplier.  If you can only afford a cheaper tool, inspect it carefully. Pet flea shampoo is another item that should be selected by the quality, not the price. 

Cats are notoriously sensitive to certain chemicals, so if you are looking for a kitty flea shampoo, buy from a reputable supplier and purchase only items labelled for felines.   If you are not in the market for flea shampoo, you can use a non-perfumed, non-scented baby shampoo for most pets.  Baby shampoo is more mild than regular shampoo and can be used on most pets that require frequent bathing or that have sensitive skin.

Don't Skimp on Equipment

Pet nail trimmers: buy a good brand.  Don't skimp on these, because cheap trimmers dull easily and dull trimmers cut sloppily.  They can shred a nail or make it more prone to breakage.  Buy from a pet supply store or online pet supplier. Styptic powder, used to stop the blood flow from a nail cut too short, can be expensive.  In a pinch or when penny pinching, corn starch or flour can be used instead. If you clean your pet's teeth, a child's toothbrush can be used instead of a more expensive pet toothbrush.  It is usually best to shell out the cash for a specially-formulated dog or cat toothpaste.  There are homemade recipes to be found on the Internet, but many of the ingredients (baking soda, etc.) are toxic to pets and can cause tummy upsets if nothing else. Some medical supplies for minor scrapes and scratches can be had at the dollar store - bandages, small first aid kits and so forth - but when dealing with any medical treatment beyond that, it is always wise to consult with your veterinarian.

Try Scaredy Cut

Scaredy Cut gives you an easy, affordable tool to manage your pet's fur.  With a little practice and patience, you can get results that can stretch out the time between a professional bath and clip - or even eliminate it altogether.   On, Scaredy Cut is $35.00.  This often only pays for the most basic of baths for the smallest of pets.  With Scaredy Cut, you have a silent grooming salon at your service at any time of the day or night - with no added fees for bigger pets or longer hair!

Your Pet's Quality Of Life Is Always Priority

Successful home grooming depends on some other factors.  The quality of the food your pet eats.  Your pet's health.  Your time investment in your pet.  These all contribute to your pet's overall quality of life. What your pet eats will show up in its coat.  Purchase the best quality of food you can afford.  There are many sites on the Internet that can educate you on what should be in a good pet food.  Keep your pet within a good weight for its height and structure to help prevent joint problems and encourage healthy activity. Regular veterinary care is recommended, but sometimes difficult on a budget.  At the very least, get your pet spayed or neutered and have it given basic vaccinations.  Consult with your veterinarian about any concerns.  Bring your pet to the vet if you see significant, unusual changes to its behavior or physical activity - unusual irritability or a limp that doesn't go away, for example.  It's a lot cheaper to treat injuries and illnesses at the beginning then when they start to worsen.  A 'vet fund' envelope that you contribute a few dollars to every time you can spare them can help you afford care when it counts.

"Money Not Important... Only Time Important"

The most important factor in your pet's quality of life is the time you spend with them.  It's free to take your pet to the park or play with them at home.  You can make toys instead of buying them.  Train your pet using positive reinforcement - make grooming and other tasks into games that then become their own reward.  There are many videos on the Internet that can give you affordable ideas for training, play and behavior management. Pet care on a budget can be challenging, but not impossible.   Careful investment in the right tools and services is key.  This will ensure that you maintain a realistic budget while still giving your pet the best care possible.

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Julie MacTire is a writer and educator devoted to the world of dogs. She also writes a blog ( about her adventures with her Shiba Inu, Tierce, and is a supporter of many pet welfare organizations.

References & Resources

Grooming, Stress-Free

Scaredy Cut is the gentle clipper designed for grooming sensitive pets.
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