Being a dog owner can be one of the most emotionally rewarding acts that a person can do. Having a loving and faithful companion deserves the best in the world. However; our bank accounts may not always reflect our desire. This begs the questions: Can I afford a dog? and What money-saving tips for dog owners are out there?
According to the latest figures from the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent an estimated $72.1 billion on their animal companions just this year. This is a $2.6 billion increase from 2017. This goes to show that animal lovers are continuously spending more money to provide the best for their dogs.
Deciding to receive a new addition into the family is no easy feat. There are many expenses that need to be considered from acquiring the dog, food, medical bills, toys, treats, to grooming.
How To Save Money Getting a Dog?
Check With A Shelter
Shelter dogs are relatively less expensive in comparison to buying from breeders and pet stores. The adoption fees typically include up-to-date vaccinations and spay/neuter, things that are not usually included by pet stores or breeders. This is important to take into consideration especially if you do not want any surprises in the future or want to get ahead of any behavioral issues.
Buying a puppy from a pet store or breeder carries a far greater risk of incurring secondary expenses heavily related to their health. It is important to note that there are many reputable sources for puppies but unfortunately, many more disreputable ones. It is not a risk you really want to take.
Social media is a great tool to use when searching for your forever friend, it can connect you to a wider, personal search engine. Going to someone you know or that they know that has a litter on the way or an adult pup that needs relocating can relieve the pressures on both sides. It is knowing whether this person is a responsible and trustworthy dog lover that makes all the difference. You will be more comfortable in coming to agreeable terms than you would with a total stranger.
Now that you found your forever friend, here are some money-saving tips for dog owners to keep in mind:
How To Save Money On Dog Food?
We all have to eat, usually more than three meals a day and a dog is not any different. Food will be the single largest regular expense and one owners are not likely to cut back on, for good reason.
It is important to do your research here. You want to make sure that the food you are providing has your pet’s best interest. The trap that many owners find themselves in, is believing that the more expensive a food brand they buy is, the better the quality it is. This, unfortunately, is not always the case.
The best tip in quality food is checking the list of ingredients and selecting a brand that uses the least amount of filler. These ingredients are what makes your canine full but do not contain enough nutritional value. Once you are familiar with these ingredients, you can go on to choosing the best dog food brand at an economical price.
Buy in Bulk
It helps to buy in bulk. You are able to save money on a per item basis, which over a lifespan of a dog really add up. If this is not your preference or lack the necessary space, it is best to choose a single large bag over several small ones. The small bags will be easier to carry but the amount spent will be more for the same amount of food that a large one provides.
While buying always seem to be the easiest option, it is not always the most economical way of living or healthy for that matter. A great way to save and manage your canine’s diet better is through making your own dog treats. It is nice knowing exactly what ingredients are going into the dog treats while also controlling portion sizes. It is not only a good way to save and keep your pup healthy, but also helps improve your baking skills.
How To Save Money On Dog Gear?
Dogs will sleep on just about anything. So long as it is comfy, they are sound asleep. If you prefer their own designated sleeping area you may want to try DIY dog beds. This can be achieved through no-sew dog beds out of old bed sheets or one out of an end table.
An old sofa or patio furniture cushions make ideal dog beds as do outgrown crib mattresses. Sometimes items we would never think to use for our dogs are actually the most ideal to use. There are a plethora of crafts that provide comfy but inexpensive bed ideas.
It is easy to head to the nearest big box pet store because we know that they will have exactly what we need and do not know where else to acquire it. There are so many cute and unique accessories for dogs that it is difficult to not be tempted into purchasing the items in that moment for fear that you will not find it someplace else.
Worry not. You are not alone and you will find the item somewhere else, often times at a reduced price. What is important to remember is that all stores have competition. Check flyers, newspapers, wait for sales, and ask for price matches when possible. Checking non-traditional options like malls and thrift shoppes may just surprise you in having the best prices for your wallet.
It is no surprise that shopping online with websites like Amazon have become so popular. They really do have a wide variety of dog merchandise that sometimes we don’t think about before hand. There are also reviews written by actual users to help persuade you to make a purchase or not. It is not only money saving but time saving too.
Other online shopping options range from Craigslist to Kijiji. More often than not, you will be dealing with lower prices in comparison to physical stores. It also allows you to shop from the comfort of your own home, allowing for more time spent with your lovable canine.
How To Save Money On Dog Grooming?
Other areas in your dog’s life that you can save money on is their grooming. This can be a challenge especially with bigger pups but still worth doing yourself in the long run.
One way to save money on grooming is by brushing their teeth daily. Dental care is something that many dog owners overlook but nearly 85% of all dogs over the age of 4 experience periodontal disease. To lower that risk, simply brush their teeth everyday. Your pup will be very happy and with strong teeth as a result.
If there is one thing that dog owners must learn to live with is the large amounts of pet hair on everything. You can save money by using everyday household items like packing tape or gloves to pick up loose pet hair on clothes or furniture.
Many owners are not fond of the idea of trimming their pup’s nails and would rather have a groomer or vet take on the task instead. While this is not a bad idea, the cost of this treatment does add up quick. But it is also an easy task to learn to do on your own.
Purchasing your own set of good trimmers will roughly cost $20-$40. One nail trimmer that is worth looking into is a nail dremel which is a rotary tool used for grinding your pet’s nail slowly. Another thing to keep in mind is having a pair with a guard that limits the amount of nail you can trim off at a time, reducing the chance of accidentally hurting your pup.
Rather than constantly taking your dog to get their nails trimmed at a groomers or vets office, doing it at home will cut back on the expense immensely. Taking your canine to a groomers can get pretty pricey, especially when most services begin at around $65. Opt to bathe and other related grooming expenses at home.
How To Save Money On Dog Toys?
It is important to take note on the type of toys that your canine prefers. This information will provide useful when shopping for toys and you will not waste your money or time on items that they ignore. Another factor to take into consideration is the toys durability. If it only lasts for one play time then it is not one worth investing into again. From then on, rotate their favorite toys so that they do not get bored.
Another money-saving tip is DIY dog toys. Most dog toys are pretty simple in structure and the material can be found all around the house. There are chew toys, tug-of-war, find-the-treat toys, and so on that you can make. So there are a variety you can make that will appeal to your picky pup.
One idea is taking an old length of rope or belt to be a new chew toy or tug-of-war toy. Another is stuffing a an old sock with an empty water bottle inside or use use old clothing to fill in an empty stuffed animal for them to chew on. There are many easy crafts to do and a quick search on the internet will make you an expert dog toy craftsmen.
How To Save Money On Health Care?
Just as it is important to keep your dog entertained, it is even more so keeping them healthy. This entails providing the sufficient amount of exercise, hygiene, and nutrients. This is essentially true as the dog grows older and will be in need of more attention and specific care.
This often includes several vet appointments a year, which adding up get pricey. One way to prevent the piling up of extra medical expenses is starting early. Begin to take your dog for yearly check ups as soon as they are old enough or when you first take them in.
In the long run, keeping up with your dog’s wellness exams helps detect medical issues early on and keeps your canine up to date with any medications or preventatives they may need in the future.
Exercise is also a major part in your dogs care. But how does that save you money? By going out for a morning or nightly walk everyday, you prevent the chance of your furry friend from becoming overweight. It also helps prevent any developing destructive behavior issues like excessive chewing or unwanted holes in the backyard.
How To Save Money On Dog Training?
Training your dog will be a major component for your dog’s well being. It will help you deal with unwanted behavior, pent up energy, and bonding time with your canine.
Find a suitable time and focus that increment to training your pup. There are many books broaching the subject and the option to borrow from your local library is much less expensive than hiring a trainer or taking a course. It can feel like there is not enough time in the day but training your pup will yield great results like being well behaved around other dogs or people.
If reading doesn’t work for you and would rather have visuals, the internet is full of videos on every possible pet subject, including training, and they are completely free. However, you must do your research as there are questionable materials online and you do not want to do something that have negative effects on your pup.
Deciding to add a dog to your household is not always an easy decision and typically is an expensive one to make. Anyone looking to become an owner of a pup needs to first understand the financial responsibility. After reading this ask yourself again: Can I afford a dog? Yes, you absolutely can. It will be a challenge of course, but it will not be an impossible one.
For most dog owners, the rewards of having a furry friend will always out way the cost. But remember, there is no rule that says you must break your bank in order to provide the best care.