I'm a pet expert – here are 10 tips that could HALVE your ownership costs | The Sun

I'm a pet expert – here are 10 tips that could HALVE your ownership costs | The Sun

January 30, 2023

A PET expert has revealed 10 tips that could HALVE dog ownership costs – including cutting down on their food intake, becoming animal ‘first aid trained’ and DIY grooming.

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to put a strain on households, This Morning's vet, Dr Scott Miller, has shared advice on how your four-legged friend doesn't have to be a huge expense.

According to the celebrity vet, owners could save up to 25 per cent on pet food per year if they were to feed their dog the correct amount while understanding their nutritional needs.

When it comes to exercise, the more walks you take them on, the healthier they will be, resulting in less trips to the vets with fewer bills to pay.

Other advice includes investing in technology like wearable pet devices, designed to nip worrisome symptoms in the bud, potentially saving owners up to £10,000 in unforeseen vet bills.

It comes after research, commissioned by Wisdom Panel in partnership with Whistle Health, the health tracking smart device for your pet, revealed the average dog owner will fork out a staggering £1,648 per year.

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The poll of 2,000 adults with a canine found half are worried about how they will be able to afford their pet as they prepare for another challenging financial year.

Unexpected vet bills (62 per cent), insurance (35 per cent) and food (30 per cent) are among the biggest concerns.

More than a third (35 per cent) have been forced to change how they care for their pet with 36 per cent resorting to lower quality food.

ITV's This Morning Vet, Dr Scott Miller, said: “Vet bills can be hugely expensive but there are many ways pet owners can keep these costs down – from the more obvious changes, such as food quantity and exercise, to keeping track of their health.

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"The likes of track and test technology, including pet DNA kits and wearable pet devices, can get dog owners on the front foot by identifying common breed related health risks early on whilst tracking a dog’s behaviour for clues about ongoing issues.

"A simple wearable device will spot habits like excessive drinking – which could point to kidney disease and if left untreated could cost thousands to treat.

"Likewise, itching and scratching could indicate issues such as an allergy which if caught early would save the pet owner considerable money down the road.

"With frightening numbers of dogs being abandoned due to the rising cost of living, being proactive about pet care gets owners back in control and saves money.”

According to the OnePoll study, costs have risen by £77.40 for the average dog owner within the last 12 months.

Food (76 per cent), vet bills (53 per cent) and insurance (44 per cent) are cited as the top things noticeably more expensive.

When it comes to veterinary care, 70 per cent reckon they are “too expensive”  with nearly a fifth (19 per cent) being caught out by them within the last six months.

It was revealed four in 10 didn’t have the correct policy to cover the emergency care they needed.

And a shocking 36 per cent simply didn’t have any pet insurance.

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Georgina Richardson, head of Wisdom Panel UK, said: “It's a sign of the times that dog owners are concerned about the rising cost of living and what it means for pet care.

"The science packed into a simple DNA test allows your dog to speak for itself so you can get to know them better and head off expensive vet bills at the pass.”


  1. Testing – DNA testing your pet to understand any potential health risks will help you know what to be aware of and will also allow you to pick the best pet insurance for your pooch. I’d always advise taking out a life policy vs a year policy as certain issues, particularly with the heart, will be harder to insure with age.
  1. Tracking – Wearable pet tech will track behaviours like licking, scratching, sleeping, eating and drinking via a simple app at the palm of your hand and could save you serious money on unforeseen vet bills. Check out the full breakdown of costs saved here.
  1. Informed Grooming – It’s important to fully understand your dog’s breed and grooming requirements before becoming a pet parent. Some dogs can be groomed at home and this could save up to £40 per month, but make sure to consult a professional groomer or vet beforehand to ensure you’re doing it correctly.
  1. Food Intake – 30 per cent of dogs that visit my vets are overweight but owners could save 25 per cent if they were to understand their exact nutritional needs. However, make sure to not suddenly change their diet as this could result in gastro-intestinal upsets and diarrhoea, with an unwanted vet bill of up to £100 to treat it.
  1. Regular Exercise – It sounds simple, but the more your dog moves the less likely it will have to go to the vets. Make sure to get at least 1 hour of exercise daily.
  1. Spot Checks – Do a quick nose to tail exam after every walk to check for things like grass seeds, fleas or little injuries that could worsen if left unseen.
  1. Simple First Aid – Familiarise yourself with simple first aid and vital statics so you can calmly monitor your dog at home without having to attend your vets unnecessarily. I recommend getting to know the resting heart and respiration rate of your pooch and where to find their pulse (femoral artery, located on the inside of your dog’s hind legs).
  1. Oral Care – Use chews, gels and brushing to keep on top of your dog’s oral hygiene. If left uncleaned, could result in gingivitis and tooth loss and incur on average £750 in vet bills.
  1. Ear Care – Otitis externa (or inflamed ears) is one of the most common reasons for vet visits and, if left untreated, your dog could develop a yeast or bacterial infection and rack up hundreds of pounds in vet bills. Weekly management with liquid cleaners will remove dirt or excess wax.
  1. Free Vet Advice On-The-Go – Make the most of unexpected bonus features in pet tech, such as instant virtual vet appointment for on-the-spot advice, preventing health conditions developing.


  1. Unexpected vet bills
  2. Insurance
  3. Anticipated vet bills i.e. yearly vaccinations
  4. Food
  5. Grooming costs
  6. Flea treatments
  7. Accessories
  8. Toys
  9. Pet tech e.g. wearable devices
  10. Outfits

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