You don’t have to break the bank to keep your pups happy.
- Pet insurance can make a world of difference when it comes to medical expenses, so pick it up before you need it.
- Look for cheaper vaccinations and toy options — and consider taking care of your dog yourself.
- You may also be able to save money by taking preventative measures such as: B. Brushing your dog’s teeth and feeding him healthy food.
We love our dogs. But they are not cheap. The American Kennel Club estimates that dogs cost between $1,800 and $3,300 a year, depending on their size. And dogs with additional medical needs can be even more expensive.
While most of us think our four-legged family members are worth the expense, our budgets may be less appreciative of the benefits. If you are looking for ways to make both your dog and If your budget is happy, these tips inspired by animal lovers on Reddit may come in handy.
1. Get pet insurance – early
Pet insurance can help you cover larger medical bills for your pet. Most pet insurance plans have a modest monthly fee — less than $50 for dogs, on average — depending on your dog’s age, breed, and type of insurance.
There are a few types of pet insurance, including those that cover accidents only, those that cover accidents and illness, and those that are designed for screening and vaccinations.
2. Check local animal shelters for cheap vaccinations
If you don’t have pet insurance that covers vaccinations and other preventive measures, contact your local animal shelter and/or SPCA. Many have employed veterinarians and provide low-cost care to families in need. This can include inexpensive vaccines, as well as procedures such as spaying or neutering.
3. Do your own grooming
A major expense associated with owning a dog is keeping it clean and groomed. This can get particularly expensive if your pup has particularly long or thick hair.
Luckily, as many Redditors agree, you can buy many of the tools groomers use and do it yourself. Even a quality hair clipper will only cost you a few professional appointments.
While the perfect dog haircut can require a bit of a learning curve, there are many helpful videos online to help you get started. And dogs are notoriously straightforward when it comes to their haircuts, so many don’t mind if it takes a few tries to get their bangs just right!
For things like trimming nails, you should consult your veterinarian at your next appointment. Most vets are happy to share tips and tricks for keeping your pet’s nails clean and tidy.
4. Brush your teeth daily
Dental costs for dogs can rival those for humans, especially if you have a biter on your hands. By brushing your dog’s teeth daily — or at least a few times a week — you can avoid expensive deep cleanings or tooth extractions at the vet.
5. Don’t skimp on quality groceries
Dogs are just as much a product of their diet as humans are, so a good quality food is a must. If your dog has digestive issues, skin issues, or other issues, their food could be to blame, although it’s best to check with your vet before making any changes.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you buy the most expensive bag on the shelf – but you should probably avoid the cheapest stuff, too. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure what is best for your pup.
6. Buy less processed treats
Not only are the over-processed treats in the dog food department more expensive, but they can also be less healthy for your pets thanks to many additives and chemicals. (Think of it like the processed snacks we should also avoid.)
Rather than paying extra for snacks, look for less-processed options, like the dried animal products you can find at pet food stores. You can also use your pet’s dry food as a snack during daytime exercise.
Redditors also like to offer their dogs healthy fruits and vegetables as an affordable option. Carrots, for example, are relatively cheap to buy and a healthy snack for both dogs and humans. However, some human foods can be toxic to pets, so make sure you do your research and consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure of what’s safe for your dog.
7. Practice, practice, practice
A tired dog is a happy dog - and often a healthy one. Every dog has their own exercise needs — working dogs can run for hours, while many smaller dogs only need to go around the block a few times — but every dog needs some form of exercise to stay in shape.
Without enough exercise, dogs can’t just get bored (and bored dogs will chew all), but they can also become obese or develop other medical problems. As an added bonus, the extra movement is good for you too!
8. Look for coupons and credit card offers
With prices as they are, many of us grab coupons for everything—pets included. Be sure to check your local pet store’s weekly sales flyer for deals, and if you find a good one, buy in bulk.
Several Redditors said they get good deals on flea drugs at Costco. And don’t forget to check your online options. Chewy.com, for example, can be both convenient and affordable for buying large bags of groceries.
Your favorite credit card can also be a savings tool. The savings portals offered by most issuers can host huge discounts for retailers on everything from toys to medicines.
9. Find toys outside of the pet aisle
Depending on your dog, toys can be a big expense. (I’ve had dogs who could unsqueak a stuffed animal in under an hour.) While you can sometimes pick up decent toys at the discount store, often the trick is to look outside the pet aisle.
Many Redditors suggest checking thrift stores or flea markets for gently used toys. (If you go this route, be sure to thoroughly clean and sterilize the toy before giving it to your pup!)
You can also meet other aisles in the discount store. For example, normal tennis balls from the sporting goods sector tend to be cheaper than those from pet shops. Kids stuffed animals can also be a good choice for less destructive puppies who want a soft pal to carry around the house.
Dogs may be our best friends, but they don’t come cheap. Anytime we can squeeze a little more from our budget while showering love on our furry friends, it’s a win-win.