While people should understand and anticipate the costs of having a dog, unexpected events such as the loss of a job could make it challenging to afford a dog. In fact, research by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy found cost of ownership to be one of the top 5 reasons why pets were surrendered to shelters. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce costs without compromising your dog’s care.
Keeping your dog well groomed will help your furry friend look good and remain healthy. Since trips to the groomer often cost more than $50 a session, doing it yourself can save a lot of money.
Grooming can help to prevent the formation of matts, a problem that arises when hair that is naturally shed is not removed. This can lead to tangled fur that may be difficult or (in severe cases) impossible to remove by brushing. Matted fur can lead to skin sores and other problems therefore, regular brushing and bathing is paramount to prevent matts and for keeping your dog’s coat healthy.
Need advice on nail trims and other DIY grooming? Check out this article as well.
Buy A High Quality Dog Food
While it may be tempting to buy the $20 bag of dog food from the grocery store, you may end up paying more in vet bills. Often, these foods contain dyes, have a high corn/grain content, and have meat sourced from questionable resources. Feeding a poor quality diet can aggravate allergies, cause stomach upset or contribute to the development of other health conditions.
A good dog food doesn’t have to cost a fortune but it does mean reading the ingredient list. A high quality food has a specific protein such as chicken or chicken meal (“meal” in this case means most of the water was removed from the meat) listed as the first ingredient. Avoid foods that use generic terms like meat or by-products. While veggies are a healthy component of dog food, grains are considered cheap “filler” ingredients that have little nutritional value.
Some pet store offer their own “in-house” brands that are a fairly nutritious at a good price. Ordering your dog’s food online can be 30-40% less expensive and shipping is usually free. Another good option is to visit the manufacturer’s website, many offer coupons or even free samples.
Taking your dog to the vet can be a costly experience, fortunately there are programs that can help to offset this cost. Many communities now offer free/low cost spay and neuter programs for low income individuals. Charities such as Tails of Help, The Farley Foundation as well as many local SPCAs, help individuals afford life-saving veterinary care for their pets.
Toys, Gates & Crates
After food and vet bills, food bowls, crates and other items are other expenses that can take a large portion out of a household budget. One way to save on these items is to shop at rummage sales, particularly ones hosted by rescues. They often offer a lot of great deals on dog related items. Be sure to check for excessive wear, particularly on items such as collars and leashes.