How to have a pet on a budget: useful resources

Ok, so we know that pets cost money. But there are ways you can cut down on expenses and provide your animal companion with everything he or she needs. Here’s our list of resources that can help.

dog is superman costume
photo credit: prawnpie via photopin cc

Pet Food Banks

If times are tight, you can go to a pet food bank for free pet food. Unfortunately there are only two pet food banks in Toronto – and both are downtown. Though at times, your local food bank may have pet food as well.

The Toronto Humane Society operates both pet food banks:

The Toronto Humane Society (Mon – Fri, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sat-Sun, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.) 11 River Street, Toronto (at Queen)

St. James Town Community Corner (2nd Thursday of the month, 12 p.m.-3 p.m.) 200 Wellesley Street East (at Parliament)

Veterinary Care

The Toronto Humane Society operates a low-cost, high volume spay and neuter clinic. The clinic prioritizes cats due to the high numbers of stray felines in town, though dog care is occasionally available. Also, people on financial assistance such as ODSP, Ontario Works, or CPP get a discounted rate.

The Farley Foundation provides financial assistance up to $1,000 a year to cover veterinary fees for people in Ontario who are on various forms of social assistance, such as ODSP. Medical procedures must be non-elective (necessary) and not part of an animal’s routine care (for example, the Farley Foundation does not provide assistance for food.)

Animal Rescue Groups

Animal rescue groups are volunteer-run organizations dedicated to keeping homeless animals off the streets, and out of shelters (where they will likely be caged, and if not adopted in a certain time period, possibly euthanized). Rescue groups tend to have no-kill policies, and animals are ‘fostered’ in volunteers’ homes until they are adopted. They may also have the resources to help with things such as specialized, veterinarian recommended diets.

Dog Rescue Group

Canada’s Guide to Dogs has an online listing of canine rescue groups here – organizations include breed rescues (such as pugs) to your general, run-of-the-mill, awesome muts.

Dog in store looking at camera
photo credit: jumping lab via photopin cc

Cat Rescue Groups

Toronto Cat Rescue – The Toronto Cat Rescue says they usually have around 300 cats waiting for adoption at any given time. While the cost of adopting a cat is $175, if you adopt a cat older than 8-years-old, it’s pay-what-you-choose. Cost includes spay or neuter, vaccination and six weeks of pet insurance.

Annex Cat Rescue – The Annex Cat Rescue started as a group of dedicated cat vollies in  Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood almost two decades ago, but has since spread throughout the city. They say their adoption fee is ‘modest’ and includes vaccination, microchip, de-worming and four weeks of pet insurance. Right now, you can adopt a special needs cat for $80.

Forgotten Ones Cat Rescue – Forgotten Ones Cat Rescue charges $175 for cat adoption and $225 for kittens. Adoption fee includes: pet insurance for 30 days, vaccinations, physical exam, flea treatment, ear mite exam and treatment, feline leukemia and FIV test, spay or neuter and de-worming.

Cat Busters – Cat busters holds regular adoption sessions at Pet Valu stores in Toronto. Adoption fee includes six weeks of pet insurance, de-flea treatment, de-worming, or ear mite treatment, spay or neuter, and vaccinations as deemed necessary.

Action Volunteers for Animals – In its third decade of dedicated animal-oriented activism, this group of volunteers is willing to go the extra mile to help cats and dogs.

Second Hold Circle – An Oakville-based rescue organization which aims to find homes for hard-to-place animals. (Black cats are awesome!)

You can fiind more animal shelters at 

People With AIDS (PWA)

PWA provides a variety of services to assist people living with HIV/AIDs in caring for their pets such as:

  • Referrals to vets in Toronto who provide free or reduced cost veterinary services
  • The option to use $300 which PWA provides annually to its members on items their pet needs
  • Free pet food and supplies available at PWA’s Essentials Market

Dealing with fleas (eww) is a great online resource for tips on getting rid of a nasty infestation.

cat with half black and half brown face
photo credit: Tjflex2 via photopin cc

DYI Grooming has great tips for how to groom your dog – properly.

For more information, see our post on How to have a pet on a budget here and be sure to tell us about the awesome animal(s) in your life via our Pet Photo Contest here