5 Hacks To Keep Some Coin In Your Pocket And Your Pets Happy And Out Of Mischief

By Morgan Reardon
24th Mar 2023

Is there anything better than coming home to your four-legged mate? From a sloppy kiss, to a nose boop or a fluffy squeeze, pets have the inate ability to instantly dissolve bad vibes, melt away stress and create a shot to the heart of pure love and serotonin. Seriously, owning a pet massively improves your mental health. 

Pet owners and soon-to-be fur parents want to do everything they can to ensure their furry friends are feeling their best (and to prepare for, or avoid any mishaps that could lead to an unexpected vet visit). In partnership with GapOnly®, the innovative payment solution powered by PetSure, we've wrapped up five easy hacks to help keep your four-legged mates happy, healthy and out of mischief—and avoid any budget surprises.

Plan Ahead For Unexpected Mishaps

Is your pet a Muncher? Read: inquisitive cuties who are food obsessed and can’t be left unattended at the family BBQ? Maybe your pooch is an Opportunist (a close cousin to the Muncher), who has never met a fatty chicken drumstick they didn’t love, which could lead to unexpected surgeries. Do you live with a Daredevil known for overestimating their abilities and ending up with a broken bone or a Wrangler? Read: likely a cat who isn’t scared of anything, especially snakes, toads and spiders. We know all pets have unique personalities, but to help new pet parents understand how their new bundle of joy might get themselves into a spot of trouble, GapOnly® has created a set of seven archetypes—including the aforementioned characters. Getting to know your furry bestie's quirks can go a long way to keeping them out of mischief in the long run. 

Whatever your pet's archetype, you may want to consider the types of mishaps they could be prone to, and the role pet insurance could play in helping you prepare for the unexpected. Enter pet insurance, one of the options that can help reduce the expense of eligible vet bills, with some policies allowing you to claim up to 80% on eligible bills, and up to a value of $30,000*. A GapOnly® ready policy can also help you reduce upfront expenses by allowing you to claim on the spot, simply paying the gap** on eligible vet bills while you’re still at the vet clinic.

GapOnly® is available at more than 800 clinics Australia-wide, with the majority of them within 5km of major metro areas. This means you can focus on the health of your furry friend, with less worry about paying the full cost of treatment upfront. It’s a total game-changer.

Seek Out Easy And Healthy Treats To Make At Home 

A healthy diet is one of the most important things you can provide for your four-legged friends. Ditch the expensive store-bought treats and instead, get creative in your kitchen with some homemade snacks that are as tasty as they are healthy—and can be made with ingredients you’d probably be popping in your basket anyway. Plus, it might also stop them from eating other things they shouldn’t.

First up, treat your dog to some peanut butter cookies. Simply combine ⅔ cup of pumpkin puree, ¼ cup of peanut butter, two eggs and two cups of flour in an electric mixer, before shaping into cookies. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees and you’ve got one seriously impressive batch of dog cookies. In the warmer weather, they’ll love pumpkin ice cream pops. Just mix one cup of pumpkin puree with one cup of plain yoghurt, then freeze into cubes. Serve on a balmy day and watch their tail wag.

For the cats out there, whip up a batch of salmon and sweet potato bites. Mix 400 grams of salmon with 1 ½ cups of mashed sweet potato and 1 ½  cups of rolled oats before freezing into silicone moulds—bonus points for a fun shape. These treats are not only delicious for your kitty, they’re also packed full of antioxidants.

These are for supplemental treats only and if feeding these snacks adjust your furry mate’s normal diet so as not to overfeed. If in doubt, see your vet for health and dietary advice about your pet.

Get Creative With DIY Toys To Keep Your Pets Active And Happy

The easiest way to get your cat purring or your dog’s tail wagging? Treat them to some toys to keep their brains busy and to provide them with enrichment. You don’t need to bust your bank balance on expensive toys. Instead, opt for some DIY creations that will ensure they stay active throughout the day.

Grab their favourite treat and pop it inside an empty toilet roll, then fold up the edges so they’ll have to sniff out their reward. This mental exercise will keep your dog or cat happy and engaged, which could also help keep them out of trouble. Got an empty cardboard box? Tape it up, cut some small holes out of it and place catnip inside. Then watch your cat lose hours dipping their paws in and out of their latest hide-and-seek toy.

Flex your creative skills by making your own snuffle mat. Designed to entice dogs to sniff and forage, simply cut fleecy fabric (old flannel PJs are great) into strips before weaving through a rubber mat that you can pick up from your local hardware store. A great way to reuse old bed linen or clothes—and hours of entertainment for your fave pooch. Just make sure you regularly check for any loose bits to ensure your dog doesn’t swallow them.

Use A Pet-Sitting Service Instead Of Kennels And Catteries 

While we love a vacay, chances are your pet isn’t quite as keen for you to go MIA for an extended period of time. Cue seeing their sad eyes when you pull out the suitcase. And that’s usually because they know what’s coming next—a trip to the local kennels or cattery. While there are lots of plush options out there, nothing beats the comfort of your own home.

Instead of taking them to a kennel or cattery, opt for a pet-sitting service where an animal-lover will essentially move into your digs for the time you’re away and look after your fur baby. They’ll be showered in love and affection and get to stay in their favourite place—their home. Many pet sitters will send updates and pictures of your pets to you while you’re away so you know they’re in safe hands. Plus, you’ll likely save time and petrol on transporting your furry bestie to an out-of-the-way destination they don’t want to go to anyway.

Check Out Pet-Friendly Cafes And Restaurants To Avoid Anxious Destruction At Home

Ever come home from a long lunch with your mates to find that Buster has gotten into your collection of kicks? Cue the devastation and the dollars you spent on fresh footwear trickling down the drain. To ensure your possessions stay intact, and stop your poor pooch from spiralling into an anxious episode that sees your home turned into a bomb site every time you leave, why not consider making your social plans somewhere they can join you? With a little digging you’ll find that loads of awesome cafes and restaurants are now dog-friendly. Some even offer pup menus to make the outing extra special for them. Find out our picks over here.

Keen to sort out pet insurance that can take the bite out of unexpected vet bills? Head over here to see if a GapOnly® ready policy is right for you. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by PetSure, the power behind GapOnly® and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image credit: Urban List

* platinum policies provide coverage for eligible claims up to the value of $30,000. Correct as at December 2022.

**The gap means the difference between the vet’s invoice and the eligible claim benefit under your policy.

GapOnly® is a trademark owned by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure). Insurance products are issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, arranged and administered by PetSure and promoted and distributed through their Authorised Representatives and distribution partners. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to decide if a product is right for you. PDS and Target Market Determination are available from the relevant partner’s website.


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