According to CNBC, American dog owners spend upwards of $2,000 per year on routine care and maintenance for each of their pups. If there is a medical emergency, that figure can easily sore above $10,000.
With these tips, you can give your furry family members the best of the best and save money in the process!
1. Make Your Own Products:
DIY Dog Beds
There was a time when pallets were tossed out like useless garbage. Now, there are countless DIY projects from holiday decorations to trendy dog beds to be made with these free (or at least inexpensive) wooden platforms.
The hardest part about these pallet beds is choosing which one your pup will like best!
The internet is overflowing with fun, innovative ideas for creating toys from household items or inexpensive bric-a-brac. Here’s a roundup of 33 different options to brighten up any pup’s toybox for less.
DIY Healthy Treats
A single bag of treats made from high-quality, domestically-sourced ingredients can cost upwards of $20! Making your own not only allows you to control exactly what your furry friend eats, chances are you already have many of the ingredients in your kitchen. It’s a win-win!
DIY Pill Pockets
Does your pooch require daily medication? Is she too smart to fall for the old pill-in-cheese trick? Squishy, delicious Pill Pockets are a wonderful way to ensure your dog swallows her meds, but they can be quite expensive. This simple, no-bake DIY recipe requires just three ingredients: milk, crunchy peanut butter and the flour of your choice – try almond, pups love it!
2. Take Advantage Of “Frequent Buyer” Promos
Whether it’s a rewards card to a pet supply store or a frequent buyer program direct from the manufacturer, you can save on the essential products you purchase regularly.
Big box stores like PetSmart offer “Pet Perks” for members such as in-store discounts, members-only online coupons, and customized email alerts to let you know when your favorite products go on sale.
Many of the major pet food manufacturers also offer benefits to their loyal customers like Buy-10-Get-One-Free programs or customer appreciation coupons.
3. “Clip” Coupons
With websites like Coupons.com and Groupon, you don’t have to steal your neighbor’s newspaper to cash in on money-saving offers! In addition, several websites have emerged with the sole purpose of selling discounted pet products.
Dog.com posts frequent “doorbusters” and promo codes such as 20 – 30% off your entire purchase – just remember to take shipping into account.
Wag.com was recently purchased by Amazon, allowing you to acquire many of their deeply-discounted pet products with free Prime shipping. Even non-Prime members get free shipping on purchases of $49 or more.
4. Score Free Products
If you are willing to invest a small amount of your time writing reviews, websites like PINCHme will reward you with free goodies! You simply fill out a profile, select the products you’d like to try, and the company will send you a monthly package of samples to try out and review completely free – including shipping!
SnagShout is another way to score free loot. Joining the group gives you access to free or deeply discounted products from Amazon in exchange for your honest review. They offer a wide range of categories – including pet supplies.
5. Buy Food In Bulk & Store It Properly
Lugging around gigantic bags of dog food may be a pain, but the savings are worth it! The cost per pound of kibble tends to go down as the weight goes up. Check the expiration date and store it properly in your home to ensure it stays fresh.
6. Make Your Own Pet-Safe Household Cleanser
Pet-safe household cleaners can be costly, but you probably already have the ingredients to make your own. The combination of baking soda and vinegar is a tried-and-true method for cleaning and deodorizing almost any pet mess.
7. Use Gloves & A Squeegee For Hair Removal
Do you find yourself constantly lint-rolling your sofa to remove pet hair? Rubber dish gloves and squeegees effectively extract shed hair from carpets and furniture – plus, you only need to purchase them once.
8. Extend The Life Of Your Pet Shampoo
Did you know that almost all dog shampoos/conditioners are intended to be diluted? That means you are washing money down the drain if you use it as-is. Instead, dispense a small amount into a plastic pitcher, mix with warm water, pour over your pup, and lather!
9. Wipe Those Paws
You can preserve your flooring and furniture while saving money on household cleaning products by wiping your dog’s paws before she enters the house. High-quality grooming wipes can also remove allergens, prevent excess yeast build-up, and keep your dog smelling fresh between baths.
10. Trim Nails At Home
Having your dog’s nails professionally trimmed is not a major expense – typically between $10 and $20 – but these fees add up over time. If you are comfortable and have someone to help you, consider trimming your dog’s nails at home. You can also try a few methods to extend the time between trims.
11. See The Vet Regularly
The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is the absolute truth. Dogs are extremely stoic, and waiting until they “seem sick” to see your vet may cost you big bucks – and precious time with your pooch. The money you spend on regular head-to-toe checkups could end up saving you thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, not to mention a lifetime of regret.
12. Prioritize Dental Health
Caring for your dog’s teeth is one of the most important aspects of care you can provide. Not only will maintaining a healthy mouth save you money on expensive dental procedures, oral health also impacts your dog’s heart, liver, kidneys and overall wellbeing. You can even use coconut oil instead of buying specialty doggy toothpaste.
Additional Tip: Should your dog need a dental cleaning, many veterinarians offer discounted procedures during National Pet Dental Health Month each February.
13. Watch The Waistline
Obesity in dogs can lead to expensive and life-threatening health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. In addition, over-feeding your pup will add up exponentially in extra food over the years. Instead, make healthy diet and exercise choices on behalf of your pup – his health and your wallet will thank you!
14. Invest In Pet Insurance Or Open A Savings Account
No matter what your opinion is on pet insurance, preparing for an emergency makes good financial sense. Some pet insurance policies only cover unexpected accidents and illnesses, while others offer discounts on routine care as well. If you decide to purchase insurance for your dog, do so as soon as possible since premiums tend to increase with age.
You may also want to add your dog to your car insurance. Many companies, such as Progressive, have programs that will cover your dog’s vet bills in the event of an accident.
If you prefer to avoid the risk/reward gamble of paying into pet insurance, consider opening an interest-accruing savings account for your dog’s veterinary care. If your dog remains healthy, you are not out money for insurance premiums; but if there is an emergency, you will be financially prepared.
15. Adopt. Don’t Shop.
If you are planning to add a new dog to your family, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue group rather than buying from a pet store or a breeder. Adoption fees vary widely, but tend to cover much of the costly care a puppy needs in his or her first year including vaccines, spay/neuter, microchip and veterinary exams.
In addition, many shelter dogs have already undergone training which will save you money on professional trainers, potty training pads, etc.
If you have your heart set on a specific breed, keep in mind that 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds. Sites like PetFinder allow you to search for adoptable dogs all over the country by age, breed, gender and geographic location so you can find your perfect pooch-match!