39 Expensive Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making With Your Pets

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Technically, I didn’t pay anything for my dog; he was a rescue a friend of a friend was fostering, so they gave him to me for free so long as I promised to take great care of him. (He even came with his own crate.) And yet, even though he cost me nothing up front, Oscar the Mal-Shi was one of the steepest investments of my life. I’ll be the first to admit that, as a new dog owner, I made some pretty expensive mistakes while learning how to best care for my pet.

Yeah, I got a little experience that time I temporarily fostered that cat who was born in my dad’s backyard, but ultimately, once you take your pet home for good, all of those bills really start to add up. There’s the cost of food and the groomer and the toys, of course — but there are also all of those messes and mishaps that take some serious money to fix: The fur-caked carpet, the chewed-up furniture, the stained blankets, the damaged hardwood, the emergency vet visits. Fortunately, a lot of those can be prevented — if you have the right tools.

Thousands of pet owners swear by these genius products because they really do help to minimize costs over time. Plus, they’ll keep your furry friends clean, healthy, and well-behaved, so you can focus on all the good aspects of pet ownership.


Using Sticky, Disposable Lint Rollers To Get Rid Of Fur

If you’re still using those sticky paper lint rollers to get rid of fur, do yourself a favor and invest in the ChomChom roller instead. It uses an effective brush system that captures hair and moves it to the built-in waste compartment, all with a simple back-and-forth motion. It’s earned more than 80,000 ratings, and buyers rave about how it’s saved them tons of money on replacements, vacuum bags, laundry detergent, and more.


Spending Too Much Money On A Vacuum

“I vacuumed the day before I used this broom and was shocked at how much hair my vacuum left behind. And we have a vacuum that's meant for pet hair,” one reviewer wrote. Needless to say, unlike expensive pet vacuums, the FURemover broom is worth every single penny. It uses natural rubber bristles to attract fur like a magnet, so you can deep-clean your floors, area rugs, and carpets. It also has a built-in squeegee edge and a telescoping handle to make reaching under furniture easy.


Filling Your House With Expensive Cat Furniture

This window perch keeps your cats off of the furniture and ensures that they remain entertained with all the happenings of the outside world, according to reviewers. It attaches to glass (damage-free) using sturdy suction cups, and the built-in hammock can support up to 40 pounds of weight, all while remaining comfortable, quick-drying, and easy to maintain. “My cat is not one to like the things I buy for her,” one reviewer wrote, “but this she LOVES.”


Ruining Your Hardwood With Sloppy Eaters & Drinkers

One reviewer swears that their pet is the “the worlds’ messiest drinker,” but this Gorilla Grip feeding mat “catches all the water” and stops it from “dripping onto [their] wood floors.” Its raised edges and dotted texture also help to contain crumbs, kibble, and wet food — and since it is silicone, it’s nonslip and can even be thrown in the dishwasher when it gets dirty. Get it in several sizes and tons of colors.


Letting Food Go Bad When You Buy It In Bulk

I buy my dog’s food in bulk, but once the bag is open, it’s hard to keep it fresh. The Gamma2 Vittles Vault (available in six sizes) fixes that. This container creates an airtight seal that keeps moisture out and freshness in, so your pet’s food stays crunchy, healthy, and flavorful. It’s also made from BPA-free material and has square corners for compact storage inside cabinets and in closets.


Tossing Old Beds Because Of Spills Or Accidents

“These beds are so easy to clean,” one reviewer wrote about the Bedsure waterproof dog bed. “Dogs throws up on the bed? No problem. Dog has another accident on the bed? No problem!” Even though it’s filled with comfortable stuffing, the polyester cover is washable and fully lined with a waterproof layer, so you don’t have to toss the whole thing due to spills and accidents. It comes in three sizes and two colors, and it’s rectangular to fit in crates.


Forgetting To Protect Your Car Seats

Odds are, you’ve made an effort to protect your indoor furniture, but car upholstery can be even more expensive to replace. That explains why this car seat cover has over 5,000 reviews and an overall 4.7-star rating. It’s made from heavy-duty, nonslip, rip-resistant material, and it’s designed to fit most standard bench seats in most vehicles. It’s also washable and has all the necessary straps and materials to secure it to your car.


Wasting Electricity Or Half-Drying Your Pet’s Bedding

It’s a race against the clock every time I have to wash and dry my dog’s bed; he’s eager to get it back, but I don’t want him sleeping on a damp wad of fabric or spends tons on electricity bills, either. Dryer balls are the answer. They’re made from premium New Zealand wool, so they’re free from fragrances and harmful chemicals. Still, they speed up drying time, reduce wrinkles, minimize static, and ensure that bedding and blankets don’t clump up in the machine. They also last over a thousand loads.


Never Establishing Boundaries With Your Cat In Your Home

Using a scent that’s safe but extremely unpleasant for your cats, this Bodhi bitter spray stops them from chewing up your flowers or scratching your furniture. It also repels them from certain areas of the house, if that’s your objective, and it can be used on fabrics, wood, floors, carpets, blinds, and plants. Put simply, “it works,” wrote one reviewer who has “tried so many sprays” before finding this one.


Letting Your Dog End The Day With Excess Energy

A tired dog is a good dog. In other words, when your pet has excess energy, they’re way more likely to take that out on the things in your home. The Squishy Face Studio flirt pole has thousands of five-star ratings because it’s easy and low-effort for you, but it still offers ample mental and physical stimulation for your dog. The polyester lure is durable, pre-attached, and catches your pet’s attention for play or training purposes, while the pole comes in multiple size options and has a grip for your comfort.


Ignoring Your Dog’s Dental Health

Made with baking soda, these Arm & Hammer dog dental treats help reduce tartar buildup so your pup’s teeth stay healthy. Made from a gentle alternative to rawhide, they’re chicken flavored and also help with bad breath. And while every pooch’s taste is different, “my dog does back flips for these,” one customer reported.


Buying Expensive Toys Your Cat Doesn’t Care About

“My cat is obsessed with these,” one reviewer wrote about these crinkle balls, which are made from sparkly, lightweight aluminum. “The kitty won't play with any other cat toys, but chases these crinkle balls all over the house!” according to another. Since they come in a pack of 25 for $9, you’ll be set for quite a while — even if your cat tends to lose toys underneath furniture.


Letting Fleas & Ticks Get Out Of Hand

Maybe it’s where I live, but for months after I got him, my dog was a magnet for fleas and ticks. It took a combination of different products to finally tackle the issue, but one of the most effective was Vet’s Best flea and tick spray. Its formula contains certified natural, steam-distilled oils (like peppermint and clove) to repel and eliminate pests, but it’s still safe for your dog, upholstery, and home.


Going Through Countless Toys With An Aggressive Chewer

One reviewer has a dog who “chews through everything within a matter of minutes,” but according to them, this durable toy actually lasts and doesn’t break the bank. It’s made from all-natural, nontoxic rubber that’s soft and elastic, but also super resistant to rips. It also has a built-in squeaker and comes in three different shapes. Not a believer? The brand offers a lifetime replacement guarantee that they’ve honored for countless reviewers.


Buying Tons Of Replacement Tennis Balls

If your dog goes through tennis balls at the speed of light, these Chuckit! Ultra Balls have over 70,000 reviews and an overall 4.8-star rating for a reason: They’re bouncy, lightweight, and extremely durable. Instead of a hollow core, they feature thick rubber inside, so they can stand up to chewers — but they’re still soft on a dog’s teeth. Get them in several sizes and value packs.


Letting Your Cat Scratch Up Your Furniture

If you have a cat who loves to scratch on your couch, these furniture protectors could be the thing that gets them to stop. At the very least, they’ll protect the upholstery, and at the most, they’ll help nip the habit in the bud due to the texture, which some cats find unpleasant on their nails. They’re transparent, can be cut to any size, and stick right onto your furniture with adhesive that’s designed to not leave behind any residue.


Wasting Pricy Medication On A Picky Cat

Let’s face it: Cats can be pretty fussy, so if yours hide, spit out, or refuse their medication, you’re not alone. Luckily, these Greenies pill pockets are a genius solution and a “wonderful product” that reviewers report “actually work.” They encase the pills or capsules in a moldable treat with a delicious chicken flavor that masks the taste of the medication, and they’re made without artificial flavors and preservatives.


Bringing Your Pet To The Groomer To Help With Shedding

The FURminator deshedding tool reaches deep into your pet’s undercoat to remove excess fur before it ends up all over your home. One reviewer wrote, “My dog enjoys the grooming and we have so much LESS fur all around the house.” Even though it’s shockingly effective, it’s still comfortable and safe for both of you, and it comes in two types and three sizes for all kinds of breeds.


Cleaning Up Pet Messes With Standard Sprays

While any old cleaning spray might eliminate the odors as far as your nose is concerned, cats and dogs can still smell it — and as a result, they’re much more likely to continue marking the same spot over and over again. Rocco & Roxie’s stain and odor eliminator is an enzyme-based spray that breaks down organic messes so there are no traces of them. It works on everything from urine to vomit, and it’s safe to use on carpets, furniture, bedding, and hard surfaces.


Leaving Your Floors Exposed During Potty Training

According to experts, when you’re first training your dog, you need to watch them constantly — but it’s impossible to be on them every second of every day. That’s where these pee pads come in. They’re great for potty training and accidents because they have five leak-proof layers that turn liquid into gel. They also have a built-in attractant and are easy to clean up, since they dry quickly and feature an anti-overflow border.


Buying All Of Your New Cat Supplies Separately

This cat starter kit comes with five essential tools and costs just over $10. It includes a litter box, 12-pack of plastic liners, scooper, and food and water dishes. “This is a great kit for someone with a new pet in the house,” one reviewer described. “Everything is good quality and it's so convenient to get everything in one kit.”


Wasting Money On Expensive Litter Mats That Don’t Work

Even the most expensive litter mats still have you whipping out the vacuum on a regular basis, but according to past buyers, this one is different. “I’ve tried several different types of litter catchers and this is the best I’ve found,” one reviewer wrote. Its honeycomb top traps all kinds of residue, while its waterproof bottom layer is easy to empty; the whole thing is washable and comfortable on your cats’ feet, too.


Not Keeping Your Dog’s Nails Managed

Clippers can be intimidating, and groomers and vets are expensive. Thankfully, if your dog scratches at your floors and furniture, the Dremel nail grooming tool offers a safe, convenient way to manage their nails. The battery-operated tool has two rotation speeds, while the interchangeable drums get the job done fast while offering optical control. “It is SO EASY to use and works amazingly well,” wrote one reviewer whose dog “hates having his feet touched.”


Buying Expensive Treats Your Picky Cat Won’t Eat

“My cat loves these and will not eat any other treats,” one reviewer wrote about these Temptations cat treats. Even though they’re under two calories per treat, they’re nutritionally balanced and have a crunchy exterior with a soft interior that many cats simply can’t resist. Reviewers have used them for training purposes as well as meal toppers, and they come in 10 different flavors.


Bringing Your Dog To The Vet For Digestive Issues All The Time

Of course, if you’re concerned there may be a serious problem with your dog’s digestion, you should bring them to the vet ASAP — but if they’re just having trouble pooping, Bernie’s Perfect Poop supplement might be able to help. It’s filled with careful ingredients that help revitalize your pet’s digestive tract: specifically fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes. According to thousands of rave reviews, it works for both constipation and diarrhea, and it’s safe for most sensitive stomachs.


Paying The Groomer To Take Care Of Knots Or Matted Fur

Dog and cat owners alike are in love with the Pat Your Pet grooming tool, which has earned an overall rating of 4.5 stars after feedback from thousands of buyers. Using two rows of curved, stainless steel teeth, it removes knots, cuts through matting, and thins the undercoat to reduce shedding, all while remaining safe and comfortable for your pet. “I was about to send him to the groomer to give him a buzz-cut,” wrote one reviewer who has a long-haired cat, but instead, they “ordered this and it’s absolutely AMAZING!”


Or Paying The Groomer To Take Care Of Everything Else

Looking to try your hand at DIY grooming? This pet-friendly electric clipper set makes it easy. The base is rechargeable, quiet, and low vibration for your convenience and your pet’s comfort, while the ceramic-and-stainless-steel blades cut quickly and evenly. You also get scissors, a comb, a cleaning tool, and six interchangeable guards for all different lengths. “This thing is an absolute miracle,” one reviewer wrote. “I could cry about how easy it is to keep our little gal groomed and happy now.”


Buying Dog Chews That Don’t Last

If you have a heavy chewer, you know that treats can disappear likethat. That’s where these yak milk treats come in. Since they’re hard (so be sure to watch your pet while they’re enjoying them!), they’ll last a long time. They come in a range of sizes and are packed with protein without the lactose or gluten.


Jacking Up The AC Just To Keep Your Pet Comfortable

You don’t have to crank up the air conditioner just for your pet. The K&H pet cot helps to keep them way more comfortable in hot weather due to its elevated design and air-circulating mat. The metal frame is lightweight, but sturdy enough to support up to 200 pounds — and you can get it in three other colors and three additional sizes.


Or Letting Your Pet Overheat Anywhere Else

Since it’s compact, flat, and self-activated (meaning it doesn’t need any batteries, freezable gels, or electricity), TheGreenPetShop cooling mat is amazing for travel or home use. Put it in your car, on the deck, or in the crate, and as soon as your dog sits on it, the cooling exterior helps to reduce their body heat for more comfortable lounging. It comes in three sizes, and reviewers have written that it’s “a must-have for warm weather” and “great for fluffy puppies” who otherwise can’t get comfortable.


Buying Countless Beds Your Pet Won’t Use

My dog is very picky about beds, and I ordered several before I finally found one that he would use consistently: the Best Friends by Sheri donut bed. Because the edges are raised and plush, they can curl up in the middle with a heightened sense of security. The fluffy exterior looks like vegan shag and comes in eight stylish colors, but you can also toss the removable shell in the washing machine in case of accidents. Choose from four sizes.


Giving Your Chewer Easy-To-Destroy Dog Toys With Stuffing

When your dog has the stuffing out of toys within seconds, this plush toy is the answer. Why? They don’t have any stuffing to begin with. It does, however, come as an adorable lion and with squeakers to keep them entertained. “My dog is a very aggressive chewer and these have lasted for months,” one reviewer wrote. The toy also comes in of sets of three and six and in a variety of designs.


Calling In Backup When It’s Time To Groom, Travel, Or Administer Medication

Even owners of the fussiest cats have raved that the Cat-In-The-Bag carrier is “worth every penny” and the “best carrier for a happy cat.” The adjustable collar keeps them feel safe and secure while you’re on the go, but others have noted that it’s a life-saver for nail-trimming and administering medication, too. It’s made from soft cotton, but woven to resist rips and snags. Plus, it has a seatbelt pass-through so you can secure it in the car and a strap for extra leverage while you’re carrying your baby.


Not Giving Your Cats A Place To Stretch & Scratch

Cats need to scratch — it’s a natural behavior that keeps their nails healthy — but that doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice your furniture for the cause. The Dimaka scratching post is durable, sturdy, easy to set up, and attractive to cats, all while remaining pretty darn affordable. The base is made of chipboard covered with carpet-like material, and the cardboard scratching post is covered in sisal rope and measures 29 inches for cats to stretch out. It even has a plush ball on top for them to play with.


Bringing Your Pets To The Groomer Just For Their Nails

“I love these!” one buyer raved about these nail clippers. “I’ve always been paranoid to cut my dog's black nails, so much I have never done it on my own, but this makes it easy.” Even though the stainless steel blades are extra-sharp for quick and easy clipping, they have a safety guard to avoid over-cutting. There’s even a nail file that stores inside the handle.


Allowing Your Dog To Eat All The Cat’s Food

Multiple pets? The Door Buddy adjustable latch keeps them separate when necessary (like if your dog is getting into the cat’s food or litter box). Here’s how it works: The durable adhesive attaches to your door and your doorframe, the strap is length-adjustable, and the clip allows you to disengage the strap much more easily than a pet gate. Since cats are adept at getting into small places, they can easily slip in and out, but the dog stays put.


Renting A Carpet Cleaner

Even though it is handheld, cordless, and rechargeable, the BISSELL Pet Stain Eraser packs a serious punch when it comes to removing stains and messes from soft surfaces. (That includes rugs, furniture, and auto interiors.) It sprays a fabric-safe cleaning formula, which comes with your purchase, before scrubbing and vacuuming up any residual mess. “I was expecting to be let down and have to rent a Rug Doctor, but I will say with the help of some stain remover and pre-treatment, my couch actually looks new,” one reviewer wrote.


Neglecting Your Cat’s Dental Health

Don’t let your cat’s teeth get neglected. These Virbac C.E.T. Intellident cat bites have a crunchy texture that works with a cat’s chewing patterns to reduce plaque and tartar. They also taste great, freshen breath, and are made with no artificial preservatives.


Petting Your Dog Or Cat Without These Grooming Gloves

For $13, this might be one of the smartest pet-related purchases you ever make. These Pat Your Pet grooming gloves feel like a gentle massage as far as your pet is concerned, but while you’re spending quality time with them, you’re also removing excess fur so it doesn’t get all over your home (or mat up and cause more issues). They’re also easy to clean, comfortable to wear, and work on all types of pets with all lengths of fur.

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