HOW TO SAVE MONEY AS A DOG OWNER
Owning a dog isn’t cheap. On top of food bills, there’s the cost of dog toys and grooming products to consider. And then there’s the cost veterinary treatment, which can cost thousands in many cases.
Whilst many of us are willing to pay these costs to keep our pooches happy, many of us pay a lot more than we need to. Here are just a few trick to cut the costs of your canine companion.
BUY FOOD IN BULK
Some dogs eat a lot of food – especially larger breeds that often need those added calories. To save money on food, your best option is often to buy food in bulk. Large packs of kibble often end up being a lot cheaper than were you to buy the same amount in small bags. Stocking up on this food will also save you those extra shopping trips.
You can sometimes get deals on wet food by buying in bulk, but be wary of the expiry date as you want to be certain that you can get through all this food before it goes off. Some sneaky retailers may only offer discounts on large packs of dog food when the food is nearing this date.
On top of dog food, you may be able to get other pet supplies discounted by buying in bulk. This could include poop bags and toothpaste.
MAKE YOUR OWN DOG FOOD
It’s also possible to make your own dog food. Many human foods can be consumed by dogs such as peas, rice and chicken. You could also try making your own liver cake as an easy and cheap treat. This guide at Dog Food Insider offers a few recipes and ideas for making homemade dog food.
When making your own dog food, you should ensure that your pet is getting the right nutrients into their diet. Manufactured pet foods do a good job of balancing out a lot of the nutrients needed for your dog and some people may find simulating this with their own home-made food a little difficult.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PET STORE LOYALTY PROGRAMMES
There are some pet retailers out there such as Pet Planet offer loyalty schemes. These schemes allow you rewards once you’ve spent a certain amount that could result in some great discounts. Even if you don’t have a store near you, you may be able to still buy products online and collect points this way. Don’t forget to check out independent stores in your area for similar loyalty programmes.
INVEST IN INDESTRUCTIBLE TOYS
If your dog loves to chew through toys and you’re forever buying replacements, it could be worth investing in some toys that are a little bit more robust. Kong is known for its particularly hardy toys ranging from tug toys to squeaky balls. You can also try deer antlers as sold by companies such as Ace Antlers – these chew toys are certain to last a while and are surprisingly cheap. No dog toy is truly indestructible, but such toys will certainly last a longer than your average rubber ball at your local supermarket.
MAKE YOUR OWN DOG TOYS
It’s also possible to make your own dog toys from recycled household objects. This could save you a lot of money if you’re forever buying new toys.
For example, you can make a DIY tug rope by twisting together some old t-shirts and knotting them at one end. You can also place treats in empty plastic bottles and encourage your dog to try and get the treat out – puppies in particular will find this very fun.
The web has lots of inspiration for these types of toys – you’ll find plenty of ideas at DIY n Crafts.
DO YOUR OWN GROOMING
Many dog owners pay a professional groomer to do tasks such as trimming their dog’s fur or clipping their dog’s nails. Some people even pay professionals just to bathe and brush their dogs.
Whilst there is certainly an art to dog grooming, you can learn to do certain grooming tasks yourself such as clipping your dog’s nails and trimming their fur. Youtube videos are a great source of information for this and there are plenty of blogs out there too that can help. You could even consider taking a course, although given that such courses tend to be expensive this may not save much mon
LOOK INTO PET INSURANCE
When it comes to vet bills, you can often save a lot of money by taking out pet insurance. In return for paying a small monthly fee, you’ll have all veterinary treatment paid for by your insurer – this could include vaccinations and check-ups under some schemes.
You can compare pet insurance schemes online to find the cheapest rate. It could also be worth searching for specialist insurers that may deal with certain breeds or certain conditions.
Pet insurance isn’t always the most financially sensible option. It’s usually not worth getting an older dog insured nor is it worth getting a dog insured that has a pre-existing health condition. Often the best time to take out insurance is as a puppy. Some insurers offer a fixed lifetime rate, which means you’ll pay the same amount each month for your dog’s entire lifetime – in the long run, this will usually save you money.
SHOP AROUND FOR VET CARE
Veterinary prices vary from clinic to clinic. Whilst many of us like to stay with one vet out of loyalty and convenience, shopping around can save you huge costs when it comes to major treatment. You may even be able to negotiate a price match by collecting quotes from other clinics in your area.
On top of trying traditional vet clinics, there may be other places to get cheap treatment. Veterinary colleges sometimes look for pets to use for practice when it comes to routine treatments (treatment may be free in some cases). You may also be able to lucky enough to find a pop-up clinic in your area – these clinics tend to travel to pet events such as dog shows and are able to offer cheap treatment for routine procedures.
As for medication, you can find plenty of dog medication online being sold at a cheaper price than the medicines being offered by your vet. When searching for medication, you should always buy from trusted sellers so that you can guarantee that what you’re buying is medically approved. Pet Meds is just one such site that is widely used.
GIVE YOUR POOCH A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
By far the biggest thing you can do to save money on your dog is to give it a healthy lifestyle. A dog that is well-groomed, well-fed and well-exercised will develop less health problems and therefore require less trips to the vet.
Overweight dogs tend to develop many of the same conditions as overweight humans such as joint problems, diabetes and heart disease. You can keep your dog’s weight at a healthy level by feeding it a balanced diet and taking it for regular walks. Some breeds require much more exercise than others – make sure to research into this so that you can be certain your dog is getting the activity it needs.
It’s also important to brush your dog’s teeth. Many dogs end up suffering from tooth decay, which can require costly treatment. By brushing your dog’s teeth daily with dog toothpaste (human toothpaste is poisonous to dogs due to the fluoride) you can prevent these dental issues. Dental chew toys may also be able to prevent these problems.
You should also eliminate any dangers in your home that could cause your dog to potentially need to take a trip to the vets. Many dogs can get poisoned by eating the wrong human foods or eating houseplants that are toxic. You should also ensure that chemicals for cleaning are locked away as this can be very dangerous for dogs. On top of these household dangers, check that there are no garden dangers.