Dog parenting can get expensive and even more so if you own several dogs. Naturally, most pet parents want only the best for their pets and they will not hesitate to splurge on them. They want the best food, the best toys and even the best health care for their fur baby. But over time, these costs can add up. In this guide, we will discuss some ways to save money when you own a dog or several dogs.
1. Regularly exercise your dog
Start your pet on a regular exercise program early on. The earlier you start, the better it will be for your pet. Take your pet/s out twice a day. (Some owners actually manage to do 3 short walks too). Get the entire family involved in exercising the pet. This is a great way to teach kids the importance of exercise too and make them more responsible towards the pets. The amount of exercise your pet needs depends on its breed, its age as well as its overall health. In general, small or toy breeds need 2 short walks of 10-15 minutes while medium to large breeds thrive on at least 45 minutes of workout daily. Depending on the weather, you can also get your pet to swim, play fetch etc.
2. Take care of their diet
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. Avoid feeding human food to your pet. The habits you set in your pet’s puppyhood can last all its life. So avoid feeding table scraps or giving in to your pet’s begging. Buy healthy dog treats instead. You can also make healthy homemade treats for your pet. Check out my article on easy homemade treats that you can make at home and save tons of money in the process. Do feed your pet the best dog food; your vet can recommend a brand of premium dog food. This could seem expensive but it will do wonders for your pet’s health and save you hundreds of dollars in vet bills. You can buy the food in bulk or also clip coupons here to save money. Alternatively feed your pet some of these homemade dog food recipes. You can make them in bulk at the start of each week and save time on workdays.
3. Search for low cost training classes
Many pet hostels, local trainers, dog handlers, humane animal societies and parks offer dog training at a cheaper price. Naturally, you must check out the trainer’s credentials first. If needed, observe them while taking a class before you enroll your puppy. Check out my article on how to choose dog training classes.
4. Prevent fleas and ticks
Many dog owners feel that buying tick/flea medicines, drops or collars is ‘waste of money’. However, you must not forget that you will end up spending a lot more on treating your pet for tick fever or other deadly diseases which these parasites could transmit to your pet. So be proactive with tick and flea control. There are many options available for you today. Speak to your vet about the best and most cost effective flea/tick prevention program.
5. Take pet dental health seriously
Your pet’s dental health is vital for its overall well being. So be very strict and disciplined when it comes to brushing your pet’s teeth. Do invest in good quality chew toys, dental sticks, raw hide chews and other healthy products designed to remove canine tartar and plaque. Schedule a professional dental cleaning if your pet has deeply set tartar. This can save a lot of hassles as well as money down the line.
6. Get your pet ‘fixed’
It is vital to have your pet spayed/neutered since the procedure reduces the risks of many illnesses to save a lot of heartache as well as money down the road. Spaying/neutering should be done as early as 6 months; your vet will advise you about the right time. (Of course this is not applicable to owners who want their dogs to have pups for the sake of selling or even keeping them). If not, you could approach some humane animal rescue organizations to get your pet spayed at a lower cost. Check out my article on how to care for your pet after spaying.
7. Shop around for vets/medicines
This point is not applicable to pet owners who are attached to a particular vet. Sometimes, shopping around for a different healthcare provider can actually save you tons of money. Prices tend to vary greatly from region to region. So simply by switching to another vet you could save hundreds of dollars per visit. Naturally you mustn’t choose a doctor based on price alone.
8. Ask for discounts
Some vets are known to give discounts when you ask for them. If you have adopted a pet, then vets consider that too: after all you have done a noble deed. So mention these special circumstances if any. Note that senior pet owners have special discounts too.
9. Never purchase medicines from your vet
Always ask your doctor for the name of the medicine and have him fill out a prescription. Then go to your local drugstore and get a generic brand of the same medicine which will be at a much lower price. Do not hesitate to ask your vet for alternative remedies or even cheaper medicines; most vets are willing to oblige. (Always check with your vet before using home remedies).
10. Get a second opinion
Sometimes, vets are not able to diagnose an issue. If that is the case, do not hesitate to get another practitioner involved. This might seem to be costly at first but you might end up saving tons of money once you get a confirmed diagnosis. You can also find a holistic vet who gives natural medicines. These may not always be cheaper than conventional vets but they can help get to the root cause of the issue instead of just treating the symptoms. This can end up being cheaper. Plus most natural vets might suggest home remedies.
11. Consider pet insurance
Buying pet insurance can be a worthwhile decision and could help you save tons of money. I have discussed the top pet insurance companies as well as other factors to consider when purchasing pet health insurance. You can also consider opening a saving account for pets.
We hope these simple money saving tips for dog owners come in handy and help you save considerably!