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Tips for Saving Money on Dog Supplies


business-money-pink-coins-largeDespite all of the rewards of dog ownership, caring for your four-legged friend can be downright expensive.  Experts estimate that owners spend a minimum of $1,100 in the first year, and $500 per year on food and medical care after that.  Additional items such as toys, treats, cleaning supplies, grooming sessions, and bedding can add up quickly.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways to lessen the burden on your wallet and save money.

Take Advantage of Autoship Discounts
One expense that pet owners can count on is food.  But, did you know that you can save time and money by purchasing pet food online and signing up for an autoship discount?  Retailers such as Amazon.com not only offer pet food at reduced prices than most pet stores, but will also ship your food at regular intervals for a fraction of the price. Check out the free program here.

Join Rewards Programs
If you prefer to frequent your local pet store, inquire about rewards programs.  Petco, for instance, has a “Pals Rewards” program which gives pet owners 5% back on their shopping trips, plus special coupons and perks throughout the year.  If the pet store does not have a loyalty card, inquire with the dog food brand.  Numerous companies provide rebates after a specified amount of food has been purchased.  For instance, many brands will provide a coupon for a free bag of food after 12 bags have been purchased.

Make your Own Dog Treats
Another way to save money is to make your own dog treats at home.  Instead of purchasing expensive bags of treats that are subject to recalls, use bits of kibble as rewards instead.  Other options include baked sweet potato, canned green beans, pieces of apple, cooked carrots, bits of cheese, and chunks of cooked chicken.  If you would prefer to bake for your dog, a list of homemade dog treat recipes can be found here. We suggest Peanut butter treats and liver cake!

Make your Own Dog Toys
Does Fido really need a $15 rope toy when you can make one at home?  Get creative by tying together scraps of fabric to create a new tug toy.  Other ideas can be found here.

Groom your Dog at Home
Why pay money for someone else to give your dog a bath when the job can be performed at home?  A small investment into dog-friendly shampoo, nail trimmers, brush, ear cleaning solution, and clippers can save you an average of $500 on grooming annually.

Look for Alternative Boarding Options
Most boarding facilities charge $30 – $40 per night and do little more than feed your pet and provide clean bedding.  If possible, look into alternative options such as hiring a dog walker to stop by your house 2 – 3 times per day, or enlist the help of a local student.  After all, most pets prefer time spent at home as opposed to a chaotic boarding environment, anyway. It is important to ask questions before leaving you pet with a new place. We suggest asking these questions.

Keep Your Pet at a Healthy Weight
One of the best ways to avoid expensive vet visits down the road (and save on food costs) is to keep your pet at the optimal weight.  Ensure that you are feeding your pet the appropriate amount by reading the dog food label.  Limit your dog’s excess calorie consumption by swapping out calorie-laden treats for healthy alternatives such as fruit and veggies.  Additionally, make sure your dog receives plenty of exercise. Here are the benefits.

Stay Up to Date with Annual Exams and Preventative Care
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Taking your pet to annual exams and administering the proper preventative care (flea, tick, heartworm, and vaccines) can save you money in the long run. FRONTLINE PLUS VS K9 ADVANTIX

Know Which Items Can Be Bought Used
Pet owners can save money by purchasing certain items used.  Kennels, dog bowls, containment systems, and any items that can be sanitized are great candidates for purchasing at garage sales.  Avoid bringing home plush toys, dog bedding, leashes or collars, as these items may contain fleas or other parasites.

Spay/Neuter Your Dog
Not only will spaying or neutering your pet prevent expensive litters of puppies, but this is also an important step in preventative care.  Removing your dog’s reproductive organs ensures diseases such as uterine or testicular cancer are completely eliminated.  Male dogs are also less likely to mark within the house, which will save on cleaning costs. Here are reasons why it is important.

Visit Low Cost Clinics
You can save on vaccination prices by visiting low cost clinics in your area.  While dogs should still receive a regular annual exam, you can save a percentage of your bill by opting for less expensive vaccination options.  While at the vet, inquire whether the 3 year rabies shot is practical for your pet, as it can also drive down your vet bill.

Ask About Rebates
Ask your veterinarian whether any of your pet’s medications have associated rebates.  For instance, most heartworm preventative manufacturers offer a sizeable rebate for owners who purchase a year’s worth of tablets at once.

Start a Savings Account or Purchase Pet Insurance for Emergency Situations
When emergencies strike, vet bills can easily be in excess of $10,000.  Consider purchasing pet insurance for your dog.  A multitude of policies are available ranging from comprehensive care to ones which can only be used during emergencies.  If pet insurance isn’t for you, consider setting money aside each month in a high-interest savings account.  In the best case scenario you will never have to use it and will have saved a considerable amount of money, while in the worst case scenario you will be happy to have thought ahead.

Seek Help when Needed
Finally, if you ever encounter a situation where you may have to give up your pet because you are unable to afford its care, reach out to those who can help you.  Local rescues, humane societies, and government agencies have funds in place for struggling pet owners.  Shelters may be able to provide food and supplies, while certain veterinarians offer discounted care.  Never assume you have to give up your pet if you fall onto hard times!

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Anna Weber

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