Having a dog is like having the most amazing best friend who never chips in for dinner. Dogs are great, but they can be expensive. Expenses like food, medicine, and vet care all add up. Luckily, there are ways you can save money. Here are 10 money saving hacks for dog owners that’ll keep both your dog and your wallet happy.
1. Choose Your Vet Care Wisely
Vet care can be pricey, and skipping a vet visit is not an option (it will end up hurting you in the long run). Make sure to get your pet annual exams and stay up to date on vaccinations. To save money, look up free or reduced-price care in your area. You can find free or low-cost neuter or spay programs through the ASPCA or the Mayor’s Alliance. Vaccination clinics will save you money on office fees, and can be found around the country and in mobile clinics. Petco offers low cost microchipping and vaccinations in some stores. Need additional help? Ask your vet if they offer payment plans, or contact financial assistance programs like VetICare. There may also be special programs in your area you could be eligible for if you’re in a bind.
2. Make Your Own Dog Food
Quality dog food from a store can be very expensive, especially if your pup needs specific brands or is on a special diet. Making your own dog food is not only much cheaper, but it’s healthier than kibble. You can buy fresh ingredients at your local grocery story while shopping for yourself, and make large quantities to store in the freezer.
3. Make Dog Friends
We love to go to our local dog park, not only to exercise our dogs, but to socialize. Once you get a dog and start walking them multiple times a day, you’ll start to interact with the other dogs and dog owners in your neighborhood. You’ll start recognizing certain faces and breeds, and meet those who live in the area. Dog parents are a great resource to have. Ask them for recommendations, find out who their dog walker is, and see if they have any tips for great dog friendly locations in the neighborhood. I’ve gotten great tips from my local dog community, like which vets to avoid and which pet stores have the best deals. These tips have saved me money, and loads of time.
4. Sign Up For Subscriptions
There are some items that your pet will always need. We always have a supply of poop bags, Boogie and Marcelo’s favorite dog treats, and healthy chews in the house. Many people buy dog food and toys on the regular too. You can save money on these reoccurring necessities by signing up for subscriptions. Online retailers like Amazon, Chewy, and Petco will allow you to subscribe and save. You can edit frequency, and cancel at any time.
5. Invest in Pet Insurance
During a trip to Ithaca, New York, Boogie got into some chocolate birthday cake. We rushed him to the Cornell Animal Hospital. Our $500+ bill was fully covered by our pet insurance! Pet emergencies can be expensive, and vet bills add up. Pet Insurance will help give you a cushion, so you don’t have to worry about every trip to the vet. There are many on the market, with a variety of plans. Choose one that fits your needs, and get the coverage your pet deserves.
Purchasing a pure breed dog from a reputable breeder can cost a pretty penny. Puppies prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Rescuing a dog is now easier than ever, with many breed specific rescues and online tools to find the perfect pup for you. We were able to adopt Boogie, a purebred pug, and Marcelo, a purebred chihuahua, from local rescues. Use PetFinder to locate available dogs in your area. You can search by size, age, location, sex, and more. You’ll be surprised to learn that there are many healthy dogs of all types available. Plus, rescues will often neuter or spay, and fully vet the dog, so you’ll save on vet visits.
7. Do Your Research
Before choosing the dog for you, research breeds and see which one best fit your lifestyle and your wallet. Some breeds are genetically prone to certain health issues that you might encounter in their lifespan. Others require certain lifestyles, like lots of activity and exercise, that might require specific training or dog walkers. This will affect their lives and your money. Doing your research beforehand will give you a heads up on what to expect.
8. Look For Generic Options
Buying medication or supplies at the vets office means you may be dealing with huge markups. If immediate treatment isn’t necessary, then look up the medications online. Generic brands and online retailers could help in saving a good amount of money, especially if you’re able to buy in bulk.
9. Spend Time Outside
An active lifestyle is great for weight loss and weight maintenance. Plus, more time exercising means your dog will remain happy and healthy. Roughly 53% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, leading to chronic issues like diabetes, hypertension, liver disease and more. An unhealthy dog means a shorter lifespan and a lot more trips to the vet! Incorporate daily exercise into your dog’s lifestyle and keep them fit.
10. Learn To DIY
Dog supplies, like beds, toys, and accessories, are necessary but expensive. You’ll need them around to keep your pup entertained and happy. Many of these items can be made for free using items you can find around the house. Check out available DIY tutorials online that’ll teach you how to make them yourself! You’ll find everything from dog toys, to cleaning products, to clothes!