The ASPCA estimates that the owner of a large breed dog can spend up to over $1800 a year on their pet, not including unexpected vet bills. With that in mind, we went searching for ways to save on pet costs while still taking the best care possible of your dog.
US News & World Report compiled these 5 tips for saving on pet costs:
1. Choose the right pet for your lifestyle and budget.
In other words, choose a breed of dog that best fits your lifestyle. If you choose a dog that is highly energetic or active, make sure you have the time and space to devote to your pet, or you may be adding expenses such as dog walkers, day care, or even a doggie treadmill to keep him in shape.
Also, be careful to choose a dog who’s typical health issues you can handle over the years of his life. Bulldogs, for example, are prone to respiratory and skin conditions that you’ll need to be prepared to deal with.
If you’re in the market for a new dog, check out our breed selector first. We detail expected health issues and lifestyle concerns for each breed. Choosing wisely now could save you big money down the road.
2. Invest in preventative care.
Keep up to date on your dog’s vaccines and make regular veterinary office visits. Waiting until your dog is sick or making a middle-of-the-night trip to the emergency vet can cost thousands. By making regular veterinary visits, you’re more likely to catch an illness before it becomes an urgent issue.
Also, think of preventative care in terms of avoiding accidents. When traveling with your dog in the car, use restraints. Keep poisons safely out of reach of your dog. Consider taking a dog first-aid course to prepare yourself to deal with an accident at home. Here are some ideas for what to include in your pet’s first aid kit at home.
3. Consider the cost of pet insurance.
There is no clear consensus regarding whether or not pet insurance is a wise investment. While many dog owners have been thankful for having it in the long run, others may go the entire life of their dog without using it even once. If you do choose to purchase dog insurance, read your policy closely. Some policies won’t cover conditions that are common to your breed.
Another option could be to invest in a savings account each month and keep it available for a pet emergency rather than send a check to the insurance provider each month.
4. Feed your dog the right food.
Not only can you save money in the shorter term by purchasing dog food in bulk, but you can also save in health costs in the long run by feeding your dog a premium food now. Though you may spend a little more on a daily basis, your dog will be healthier and happier, saving you on vet bills later on.
Also, don’t overfeed your dog. Not only will this cost you more on food costs, your pet will suffer as he ages, as overweight dogs are much more prone to illness and joint health issues as they age. Consider using a measuring cup rather than estimating how much to feed each day.
5. Focus on attention over fancy toys.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars each year on fancy collars and toys, play with your dog – that’s what he wants! Sure, chew toys and bones are good for their teeth, but for getting exercise and attention, a walk down the street, a good game of fetch with an old tennis ball in the backyard, or a no-cost-at-all belly rub will make your dog happier than the priciest of dog toys.
Do you have any other great money saving tips for dog owners? Share your ideas with our readers!