If you own a dog, you're well aware that they're quite an expensive investment. Even though it's all worth it for their unconditional love, dogs certainly aren't easy on the wallet. Thankfully, there are some tips and hacks you can try yourself to save a sizable amount on all of your pet's expenses. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't spoil your dog every now and then!
Don't Waste Money On A Fancy Bed
Even if you allow your pup to sleep on the bed with you, it still needs a comfortable place on the ground where it can take naps and relax, especially if it's up in years. However, that doesn't mean that it needs a fancy bed that many retailers sell for far too much money.
Most dogs are fine with a folded-up blanket, or if you're handy at sewing, something that you patched together with old materials that you already have lying around.
Make Your Own Dog Clothes
Many pet owners put clothes on their dogs for a variety of reasons, whether to keep them warm, dry, stop them from licking a wound, or just so they look cool.
There's no shortage of dog clothes on the market either, with some people willing to pay even more than they do for their own clothes. If your dog needs an outfit for whatever reason, grab something you no longer wear and alter it to fit your dog! Not only is it cheaper, but fun to make!
Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Just like humans, dogs need to have their teeth professionally cleaned from time to time. Unfortunately, the dog usually needs to be sedated for these procedures, which means your bill can be hundreds of dollars! If you're especially unlucky, your dog might also have cavities or other problems that need tending to.
In order to avoid this from happening, it's important that you also clean and brush your dog's teeth on a regular basis, so there aren't any surprises when you go to the puppy dentist.
Don't Buy Your Medication Straight From The Vet
It's not unusual for dogs to get sick and need medication periodically throughout their lives, and, of course, it's rarely cheap. When your dog is given a prescription, do a little shopping around to find the best deals.
Although the vet usually has it, they also tend to have higher prices that people pay simply because it's more convenient for them. Usually, the cheapest source for medication can be found online; it just takes a little more work.
Trim Your Dog's Nails
Having your dog's nails trimmed is something thing that needs to be done on occasion because overgrown nails can lead to difficulty walking and can stop harmful scratching or destructive behavior.
Of course, you can take them to the groomer to have this done, but you can also do it yourself to save money. Nail trimming is easy, and all you have to do is get your hands on a pair of dog-specific nail clippers and closely follow instructions that you can find online.
Prevent Fleas And Ticks
Using flea and tick treatments regularly on your pet isn't cheap but can help keep your dog comfortable and the money in your wallet in the long run. Fleas and ticks tend to carry diseases that can make your pup very sick, so try your best to avoid your dog contracting them.
On top of vet bills from a sick puppy, a flea infestation requires you to buy countless products to get rid of them, and you'll most likely need to replace a lot of your dog's belongings.
Bathe Your Own Dog
If your dog is downright filthy to the point that it needs some professional attention, then it's probably time to take them to the groomers. However, if your pooch just smells like a dog or happened to be in the ocean recently, it's nothing that you can't manage yourself.
All you need is a bottle of dog shampoo, a handheld showerhead, and some towels. Wash them as if you were washing yourself, and although it takes a little effort, it's certainly cheaper than going to the groomer.
Buy Dog Food In Bulk
Although it's been proven that making your dog's own food isn't very cost-effective, buying it from the bulk bin at the pet store is. Buying the bigger bag can save you around 25% off what you would normally spend buying multiple smaller bags.
Furthermore, you can save money on gas and your time by not going to the store as frequently. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that kibble only lasts around six weeks after it's opened, so take the size of your dog into account.
Watch How Much You Feed Them
Of course, you don't want to starve your dog by not feeding them enough, but you certainly don't want to overfeed them either. Not only does feeding them too much mean that you have to spend more on food, but it can result in a very unhealthy dog.
Pets that are overweight become susceptible to countless ailments that will end in a trip to a vet and a large bill. Also, having an unhealthy dog can lead to a shorter life for your friend, which nobody wants.
Take Your Dog For Routine Checkups
Nothing is more damaging to your bank account than having to take your dog to the vet for an issue that could have been prevented. By taking your dog to the clinic on a regular basis, the vet can inspect your dog to make sure that everything is in order and to catch any issues early on, hopefully.
Of course, not all emergencies can be prevented, so it's important always to have some money saved up for such a situation.
You Don't Have To Get Pre-Made Dog Treats
While store-bought dog treats aren't necessary for your dog's survival, they are helpful when it comes to training, and it's nice to give your dog something they enjoy now and then. However, the treats you provide them don't necessarily have to be from a dog treat company, which are usually pricey.
There are plenty of healthy alternatives that you might already have in your home that your dog will learn to love, such as fruits and vegetables. However, make sure you look up to see what's safe for your dog to eat and what's not before you feed them anything.
Ditch Canned Food For Larger Dogs
When it comes to what to feed your dog, canned food is always a convenient option. Not only does it help to hydrate your pet, but it also tends to have more nutrients than dry kibble.
With that being said, if you have a bigger dog, buying enough canned food to keep them full is going to cost a fortune. So, your best bet is to stick with a high-quality kibble to keep them healthy and make sure that they always have enough water to drink.
Store Pet Food Properly
Dog food, even kibble, has an expiration date and should be thrown out when it goes bad. So, when buying food, check that expiration date, and come up with a plan for where to store it.
To keep it from spoiling, make sure you keep dog food in a cool and dark place and safely inside of an airtight container to get the most use out of it as possible.
Spay Or Neuter Your Pup
It's usually a good idea to have your dog spayed or neutered to prevent any unintentional puppies. Although the procedure can be costly upfront, it will save you money in the long run by stopping the possibility of you being responsible for a litter of puppies that need to be cared for and fed.
Furthermore, your dog will get several health benefits, such as decreasing the chance of testicular or prostate cancer for males and breast cancer for females.
A Well-Exercised Dog Is A Healthy Dog
Dogs that are healthy and fit typically are the ones that get the most exercise. Dogs who don't move their bodies enough or get outside very much are more likely to become obese and develop cardiac issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
Obesity can also be severely damaging to your dog's hips, joints, and other body parts that feel the impact of the weight. All of these problems require more frequent trips to the vet and that equals money out of your wallet.
Pick Your Vet Wisely
When taking your dog to the vet, not only do you have to pay a visitation fee, but also for whatever other procedures are done or medicine that is required. Sometimes, what you think will be a routine checkup can cost hundreds of dollars.
While your pet must get the care that it needs, there's no harm with doing your research to save yourself some money. Some vets are more expensive than others, and it's as simple as that. Go online, talk to friends... whatever you need to do to find the vet that's best for you.
Train Your Own Dog
While there's no denying that utilizing a professional dog trainer can work wonders on unruly pets, they do not come cheap. For those who are unable to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few hour-long sessions, your best bet is to train your dog yourself.
Anyone can handle basic training techniques with their dog; all you really need is time, patience, and energy. Plus, training your own dog will help build a stronger bond between the dog and the owner.
Pet-Proof Your House
To help prevent your dog from needing any emergency trips to the vet, you should pet-proof the house. This means locking away all chemicals, covering up wires and sockets, closing the doors, and keeping anything out of reach that they could hurt themselves with.
Most dogs have a hard time hurting themselves in a safe environment but left unsupervised in a dangerous area, there's no guarantee that they'll stay safe. Save yourself emergency trips to the vet over something that could have been prevented.
Join Pet Store Rewards Clubs
Most major pet stores such as Petsmart and Petco have loyalty rewards programs. Lots of local and independent stores do as well. For many of these places, if you spend a certain amount of money, you receive gift cards or deals on specific items.
Your best bet is to pick one of the stores you like and stick to it to build up your points and save money using the deals that they offer. Those points really do add up!
Start A Pet-Savings Account
One of the worst things that can happen financially as a dog owner is not being prepared for an expensive emergency situation. Because you're willing to pay whatever it takes to help your dog, it can put you in a bad financial spot.
The best way to prepare for this is to establish a separate savings account for your pet's needs, so you always have money in case your dog has an unexpected problem.