How many times has the thought of those puppy dog eyes had you justifying blowing the budget? If you’re like me, the answer is far too often.
Dogs Don’t Have To Cost A lot
As much as I love my mutt I know how expensive dogs can be.
But I also know they don’t have to be AS expensive as we make them.
Let me explain.
When you commit to an animal you have to be prepared for vet bills, emergency care, and other essential expenses; there’s no getting around that.
BUT, a lot of the costs we shell out for our pups aren’t actually necessary.
So, here are five tips to help you save money on your dog without compromising care.
1. Stop buying everything from the pet store
When I first adopted my dog I wanted to make sure I had all the right gear for my pup, and I assumed that the pet store was the place to get it.
I quickly realized that I could find a lot of the same stuff elsewhere for a lot less money.
Shop for dog supplies at Alternate stores
If you’re in the market for leashes, harnesses, toys, treats, or other dog stuff, stop at some ‘regular’ stores before you head to the pet store.
Soon you’ll know just where to get best prices on all the things your puppy needs.
For me, I’ve had good luck at stores like Winners, Homesense, Dollorama, and Bianca Amor.
I have often found quality, name brands items at these stores for way less money than the pet store sells them.
The only catch with these stores is that you can’t guarantee they’ll have what you need in stock.
So, I like to keep a list of things I’ll need within the next month or two, and when I see the items, I snap them up.
In the end, I save a lot of money!
2. Buy prescriptions in bulk
Similar to human pharmacies, veterinarians charge dispensing fees for prescriptions. And, at my vet, it’s about $30 a pop.
When your dog is on a regular medicine or flea/heartworm prevention schedule you can really save on costs by purchasing your doses in bulk.
Talk to your vet about purchasing prescriptions in 6 – 12 month quantities next time you have to refill. It’s an easy win for your schedule and your wallet.
3. Do basic grooming yourself
When I first adopted my pup, grooming at home was a scary thing for me.
But, after watching a bunch of YouTube videos and examining the work of a professional after I had my dog groomed, I started doing it myself.
I started out just bathing and brushing my dog. Then I ventured into de-shedding him and clipping his nails.
Now I have no problem trimming the overgrown hair in his pads and shaping up his coat.
With some practice, it’s a totally doable for you to groom your dog at home too!
build your dog grooming kit
When you decide to take over grooming, you will need some grooming supplies.
But not to worry, you can start small and build your kit over time. And, these costs are worth it compared to what you will save!
Here’s a list of my grooming kit staples.
- dog nail clippers
- a brush
- a good de-shedding tool
- hair scissors
- a hair buzzer
Learn Grooming Do’s and Dont’s
As with anything new you do with your dog, it is important to do your research before you dive in.
If you don’t groom him properly, you can end up doing way more harm than good, to your pooch and your wallet.
So, talk to your vet, ask your groomer for a nail-clipping demo, and find some credible DIY videos online. Then, start small and slowly work you and your dog up to longer and more thorough grooming sessions.
4. Don’t Buy Fancy Treats
It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy dog treats out there and spend a fortune!
But, if you treat train your pup, you might not even need to worry about buying special treats. And that saves you money!
Here’s how to reward your dog without fancy treats:
Use Kibble As a treat
If you can help your dog to be motivated by their regular kibble, you can use that food as a reward. It’s worked great for me!
When I know I’ll be working with my pup during the day, I only give him a sliver of his daily food during breakfast and dinner.
Then I use the rest of his food throughout the day to reward him for good behavior and listening to commands.
And, he seems to be just as happy with a kibble reward as he is with a dried beef liver treats.
Use Moderate amounts of dog-safe human food
A lot of times you don’t even need to make a dog biscuit for your pooch to feel like he’s getting an awesome treat.
I often give my dog moderate amounts of things like carrots, peanut butter (the kind without artificial sweetener), and certain berries.
His reaction to those ‘treats’ is even better than when he gets a homemade dog cookie!
If you are unsure of what your dog can and can’t eat there are many helpful resources on the Internet or you can give your vet a quick call.
5. Take the minimalist Approach
Instead of buying TONS of crap for your dog, think about buy for quality over quantity.
Certain things will get destroyed even if they’re well built – especially toys. So, like it or not, you’ll probably buy a bunch of these.
But things like leashes, harnesses, dishes and collars can last a really long time if they’re well built.
In that case, buying something today could actually save you money in the long run (if it’s a quality item).
Buy Multi-Purpose items
Try to buy items that can serve more than one purpose (instead of buying a million single-purpose things).
Yes, different types of leashes, collars, and other gear have different uses. But, if you can make do with just one of something, make do.
For example, if you can use your hands free leash as a six foot lead too, there’s no need to buy a separate six food lead.
Just stick with the leash and save some cash!
Even though we have the best intentions when it comes to our dogs, we can easily get sucked in by those puppy dog eyes and blow the budget in no time.
So, start spending smart when you pamper your pooch, and both your dog and your budget will thank you.