As pet parents, we would do anything for our canine companions to keep them happy and healthy; it’s just part of what being a dog mom or dad is all about! However, that doesn’t mean that the expenses don’t add up quickly and it’s no secret that parenting a pup can be expensive. Luckily, there are several smart and simple things you can do to help keep costs down while still maintaining the same level of care and dedication to your dog. Plus, you might just find that, on top of saving you money, these tricks can be a fun for both you and your furry friend!
1. Make Your Own Treats
We all love to spoil or pups with tasty goodies and chewy treats, but buying all those bags over time can really add up. Instead, try making homemade dog treats with ingredients you already have in the home. You’d be surprised how easy it can be and homemade treats tend to be a healthier alternative. You can also make in bulk and freeze any extras.
2. Make Your Own Toys
Our pups love to play and toys are essential to keeping them happy and entertained. However, toys can be rather expensive and our dogs can destroy them pretty quickly. Luckily, it’s not that hard to make durable and fun toys from scratch with items you probably already have lying around. If you need some ideas, check out our DIY dog toy post and see how easy and money-saving it can be!
3. Look Into Loyalty Programs
Many pet stores and pet boutiques offer customer loyalty programs where you can rack up points for dollars spent at their store. Overtime, this can really add up and eventually be redeemed for cash-back or store credit on items. Plus, if you download their apps or sign up for their newsletters, you’ll often be rewarded with weekly discount codes and giveaways. It might not seem like much, but when concentrated on one store you can really rack up those points!
4.Train Your Dog at Home
Training is an important part of pet parenting and can help to keep your dog happy and well-rounded. Of course, there will always be cases where a professional should be contacted, but for the majority of both basic and advanced training, there are resources you can use to learn how to train your dog at home. YouTube, blogs, books and even virtual pet-parent groups all offer free advice and videos on training your dog and, if push comes to shove, you can always ask a trusted friend for advice!
5. Keep Up With Your Dog’s Health
It’s no secret that most dogs hate the vet, but keeping up with your dog’s health is both important for their quality of life as well as for saving you money. By keeping your dog active and feeding them a healthy diet, you can help fight off common health problems they may have later in life. Tending to your dog’s teeth is also important as 80% of dogs over the age of three show signs of dental disease. This may mean costly vet bills later on if you don’t stay proactive in keeping your pup healthy. It’s always good to think ahead and plan for anything!
6. Research Your Dog’s Food
We all want to feed our pups the best food money can buy, but more expensive does not always mean better. Do a little research into your dog’s current food and see if there are brands that offer the same quality for cheaper. Consulting with your vet about your dog’s unique dietary needs could also help you to better understand what food is actually good for your pup and which just has the fancy label for more money.
7. Look for Cheaper Vet Care
Just as a more expensive brand does not necessarily mean healthier food, a more expensive vet does not always mean better care. Many local animal shelters and humane societies offer public veterinary care to animals in their area, often for a cheaper or discounted price. Because their work is dedicated to helping animals in their community, many also offer programs and services that are completely free to those who qualify.
8. Play With Your Dog
It may sound silly, but playing with your dog can actually save you money! If you have a pup who needs constant stimulation and isn’t getting the right amount of physical or mental exercise, they may take it out on your couch, your caret, your lawn, your shoes, or anything else they can get their teeth and claws into. Making sure to exercise and enrich your dog regularly can go a long way to saving you money later on when you have to replace the sofa or buy a new pair of boots. A tired dog is a happy dog (and one that saves you money!)
9. Reuse and Recycle
Many things in your home can be reused as dog-essential items, rather than you having to go out and buy them. Paper towel and toilet paper tubes, for example, can be used as puzzle toys when stuffed with peanut butter and frozen. Plastic sandwich and newspaper bags can be used as poop bags. Old t-shirts and sheets can be sewn to make tug-toys, and empty milk cartons or water bottles makes great crinkle toy alternatives. Recycling and reusing common household items can really save you money as well as keep your pup happy!
10. Create a Budget
One of the best ways to save money as a pet parents is to create a budget based on your dog’s needs. There are some expenses that only need to happen once a year (like a routine check-up at the vets), but others that are consistant throughout each month (like buying food.) It’s important, then, to breakdown what’s actually necessary to spend money on each month, and what can be put off. So long as you never go over your budget, you should start to see that money saving up!
Parenting a pup will always require time and money, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little ingenuity and good, old fashioned elbow grease, you can easily find ways to save money while never sacrificing quality of care! Happy saving!