Taking care of a pet properly is almost like taking care of a child bar the college fund and the shouting. They require discipline, activities, nourishment, grooming, affection and health care. The costs can mount up especially when a pet has special needs.

By special needs, we are not talking about spas, hotels, designer clothes, and food that extreme pet lovers with money to burn lavish on their pets. We are talking about pets that are sick, old, or injured, which boils down to pretty much being disabled. When a pet like a dog acquires mobility problems, it can mean a significant added cost to the pet owner to provide it the care needs.

Why would a pet become disabled?

Our pets are subject to pretty much the same health concerns that people face, which include genetics, diet, exercise, and the environment. A pet can become mobility challenged when they get injured in an accident, get old, or acquire disorders that affect the spine, brain, joints, or muscles of the legs that affects one or more legs, leaving them weak or paralyzed. If the injury is irreparable and requires amputation, or the disease progresses, the pet will eventually lose the ability to move or experience too much pain to do so comfortably.

Costs of caring for a disabled pet

The highest costs associated with a disabled pet, like with people, are in health care. Depending on the condition of the pet, it may require extensive tests, doctor visits, surgery, rehabilitation, various therapies, medication, strict diet, and special aids.

In one case, the pet cat suffered from a neurological disorder that severely affected its coordination. The pet owner estimates that between therapy (including hydrotherapy and acupuncture) and consultation costs she had already spent close to $50,000, and likely to grow. Obviously, not everyone can afford to spend so much for the care of a cat, no matter how much they may want to.

There are many organizations and groups that are dedicated to helping pet owners who cannot afford the care their disabled pet needs. But it is possible to cut down costs considerably on your own if you follow these tips as far as you can.

Tips for cutting pet care costs

1. Make a budget. It’s easy to lose track of the money you spend on extras for your pet because they are not normally big expenses, but a bit here and there piles up to quite a bit over time, leaving you with nothing to cover emergencies. Knowing that your pet is disabled does not mean you throw up your hands and hope you get through it without getting too much into debt. Make a list of the necessary purchases and stock on those and putting aside some cash for emergencies before indulging in non-essentials.

2. Keep an eye out for bargains. In line with keeping a budget, buying in bulk for essential supplies often translates to huge savings, especially if you exercise a little couponing. This is where your savings come in; when a great deal comes along for your basic pet need like food you can buy a lot without killing your budget for the current month and make up for it in the following months. Make a point of regularly looking in warehouse clubs and wholesale outlets for sales and promos.

3. Consider second-hand aids. When your pet has mobility issues, the veterinarian may recommend getting them a wheelchair to allow them to move around. This can go a long way towards improving their physical health and quality of life, and saves you the necessity of carrying your pet around (presuming they're small enough to be carried). It may even take the place of physical rehabilitation, so that’s another cost-saving technique.

However, wheelchairs and other mobility aids can be pricey if you buy them brand new. Look online for websites that offer refurbished pet wheelchairs; you will find that they can be as good as new but at half the price if you look hard enough.

4. Use an ounce of prevention. Your mobility-challenged pet can develop complications because of their condition and compromised immune system. Keep an eye on your pet to head off bed sores, infections, and parasites. It is also important to have your pet regularly checked by a vet, so avail of special prices and discounts for package deals at your local clinic to include check-ups, vaccinations, and other preventative services.

These tips are infinitely useful for cutting pet care costs whether your pet is disabled or not; it even applies to leading a practical life in general, actually! It just becomes more of a big deal when you have to make every penny count.