Vet's bills, pet insurance, dog and cat food, grooming fees - you don't need us to tell you that looking after our canine companions and feline friends can be rather costly.

And, while no one ever wants to scrimp when it comes to caring for our four-legged friends, with all the economic doom and gloom of the past few years, some pet owners may find themselves worrying about how they're going to keep up the costs.

But there's no need to panic if you've got a pretty pooch sprawled out in the kitchen or a fluffy feline curled up by the fire, as by following a few simple steps there are several ways that owners can keep costs down without sacrificing their pet's wellbeing.

Speaking to the ASPCA, Dr Stephen Zawistowski, executive vice president of the ASPCA National Program Office, suggests the best way to keep pet care costs down is to cut back on the non-essentials while ensuring that the basics don't suffer.

"The basics are still the same," he says. "Quality food, litter for cats and good medical care."

However, taking care to ensure that your mutt or moggy is eating well doesn't mean that you can't save money on diet - it's simply about feeding your animal efficiently

Many cat and dog owners are now choosing to buy frozen pet food as an affordable way to feed their pet that will also ensure they are receiving all the nutrients they need to remain healthy and active.

Dr Zawistowski also points out that enrolling your dog in training classes or setting up basic training for your cat can be a surprisingly good way to avoid any unexpected costs.

"A lot of people don't think about dog and cat training as a way to save money," he says.

"But a well-trained dog will be easier to walk, will be calmer in most situations and will be less likely to get into things he shouldn't."

Written by: Hannah