Tips for Pet Parents – Saving Money on Dogs

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Money Saving Tips for Pet Parents: Why Spending Money Wisely Can Save You a Bundle

Adopting a furry friend is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have, but owning a pet is a big financial commitment and the costs to properly care for your dog can quickly add up. In fact, the cost of owning a puppy during his first year may exceed $3,300, according to the research conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association in 2017. Fortunately, with the proper preventative care, a little bargain hunting, regular grooming and proper exercise, saving money on dogs is an approachable goal. Read on to discover some useful tips to help you save money when it comes to caring for Fido.

Preventative care for dogs is key

Regular visits to the vet one to two times per year are vital for not only keeping your furry friend healthy but also preventing serious illnesses that could cost you thousands of dollars to treat.

  • Keeping your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date provides him with protection against diseases like rabies, distemper, hepatitis and parvo virus that could make him very sick. Note that the rabies vaccination is required by law, according to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Dental cleanings for pets prevent a variety of illnesses and are necessary to keep your pet healthy.
  • During regular check-ups, your vet may catch serious health issues in their early stages, before they progress. Catching and treating conditions like diabetes, thyroid issues, heart and liver problems before they get worse can prevent permanent damage to your dog’s organs, which is potentially life-threatening.
  • These expenses are necessary and shouldn’t be avoided because they prevent your kitty or pup from developing conditions that can be very expensive to treat in the long run.

Get pet insurance for your pooch

Pet health insurance is a great investment because it may save you a lot of money in the long term. A small monthly premium can cover basic health exams, dental cleanings and vaccinations each year. Most importantly, should something happen to your pet, including an accident or illness, the policy may also reimburse you for most of the costs, which is a great way to save money.

  • Typically, these plans work by reimbursing your veterinary costs, meaning that you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your dog’s expenses at the vet and the insurance will send you a check for the services that were covered.
  • Always check with your insurance provider to see if preventative care and accidents are covered under the plan.
  • Note that many types of pet insurance have a waiting period before you can make use of the coverage and a deductible that you will have to cover for the services that your vet provides.
  • Dogs past the age of 7, certain breeds or those with a pre-existing condition may be ineligible for coverage, so it’s best to get a plan started as soon as possible after you bring home your new pooch.

Shop around for pet supplies.

Keep track of sales in your local area for grocery stores and pet retailers on the food your canine companion likes to eat. Look for coupons you can use on the brand of food your pooch loves in your local newspaper or circular. You may also find printable online coupons that you can use in-store.

Many online retailers offer subscription services on your pet’s food, litter and other necessities that may save you money and time because the food is delivered right to your home. Don’t forget to sign up for email and text alerts from pet retailers as well so you can keep track of deals and sales, which is a wonderful way to save on your furry one’s supplies.

Compare prices on pet prescriptions

If your kitty or pooch is on any prescription medications, check to see if you can purchase them through your local pharmacy. While some veterinary offices may offer you discounted prices on these medications, some human pharmacies may actually be cheaper, so you’ll want to shop around a bit. This is especially true for medications like insulin, which are the same for people and pets, but given in much lower doses for our canine companions.

Also, some online pet pharmacies may offer you discounts on your dog’s medications, but make sure that the pharmacy you choose is reputable and licensed in your province. Unlicensed pharmacies and those outside of Canada may sell counterfeit or unsafe products. Another option — ask your vet’s office to price-match other pharmacies that offer lower prices.

Keep your dog active

An active dog is a happy and healthy dog. Simply interacting with your pet regularly and playing with him each day will help keep him from becoming obese and even help with destructive behaviors, which can be very costly to you in the long-run. Remember, a bored dog with no outlet for his pent-up energy is more likely to destroy your couch or expensive shoes than one who is getting all the exercise he needs each day with a brisk walk and fun game of fetch. Need some ideas to get you started? Check out some of our previous posts to get you thinking!

If you aren’t available during the day to exercise your pooch as much as you want to, invest in a dog walker who can come by daily to exercise Fido. Check out dog-walking apps like the one offered by GoFetch, which allows you to find the perfect dog walker for your pooch. You can even shop around for the walker with the best price and recommendations. This way, your canine companion will have had plenty of exercise during the day and even a potty break to ensure he won’t have accidents and ruin your flooring, another potentially costly expense.

Don’t overfeed your canine

This one seems like common sense, but simply feeding your dog the proper amount of food for his size is the perfect way to keep him healthy. Plus, feeding the amount of food per day as recommended by the manufacturer will save you money. That’s because you won’t be feeding too much food, making it last longer.

Most importantly, healthy pets won’t become obese and develop related health issues. In fact, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association states that by keeping pets at their ideal weight, pet owners avoid many health problems that can develop from obesity and even extend their pet’s life. This is great for two reasons – you avoid spending too much money on food and you avoid unnecessary veterinary costs associated with pet obesity.

Instead of free-feeding your dog dry kibble in a gravity feeder or giving him a giant bowl of canned food, try portioning it out to him in the morning and evening so you can keep track of exactly how much food he is getting. Follow the recommendations on the package instructions for your dog’s weight to determine how much to feed your dog. You can also consult with your veterinarian to determine what the right portions of food are for your pooch.

Portioning the food out will also ensure that it stays fresher because it won’t be sitting out, avoiding food waste due to spoilage. Plus, your pooch will always have a nice fresh bowl of food to eat.

Regularly groom your dog

Grooming can be costly but if you regularly maintain your pet’s coat and nails, you won’t have to go to a professional as often, if at all.

  • Brush your furry buddy daily to prevent knots from forming in the coat.
  • Bathe your pooch as needed, but not more often than about every four weeks so you don’t dry out his skin.
  • And don’t forget to use a dog-specific shampoo which won’t be too harsh on their skin and coat. Shampoos designed for humans are too harsh on your dog’s skin and can dry it out.

Spay or neuter your pet.

Spaying or neutering your furry buddy helps to prevent a lot of diseases like different types of cancer and prevents unwanted litters too. In female dogs, spaying prevents uterine, ovarian and breast cancers. Males have a reduced rate of prostate cancer. These types of cancer can be quite costly to treat over time, even with pet insurance.

Litters of kittens and puppies can be very expensive to care for even if you plan to adopt them out. Keep in mind that you’ll have to provide supportive care, veterinary care, food and shelter for those growing little pups. The cost of the procedure alone is actually less than the cost of caring for a surprise litter.

  • While the procedure to spay or neuter your pooch can be a bit expensive, if money is tight, you may be able to find some low-cost spay and neuter clinics in your area.
  • Some municipalities also offer vouchers for spay and neuter procedures with local veterinarians.
  • Best yet, if you adopt your canine companion through a rescue group, the rescue will likely provide that service for you as part of the adoption fee or free of charge.

Participate in group dog training classes or train pets yourself

Clicker training is a perfect way to teach your furry friend basic commands and to keep your pooch well-behaved. And it’s easy enough for you to try it yourself in short training sessions of 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

  1. For dogs, it’s a necessity to teach them basic obedience for their own protection and the protection of others. Teach your canine companion simple commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “Leave-it” and “Come” to prevent him from running into traffic or eating something he shouldn’t – all of which can lead to expensive medical care.
  2. Basic obedience training will make your pooch better behaved around people and prevent accidental rough play that could end up costing you money in legal costs should someone become injured by your dog.
  3. Look for group training classes offered by local shelters and pet rescue groups in your area, typically at a lower cost than professional trainers. Group sessions are also less expensive than one-on-one sessions.
  4. Many local shelters, like the Toronto Humane Society offer group classes for puppies over 4 months of age who are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations. These classes are also a great way for you to socialize your pooch to new people and other pets.

Do you have any money-saving tips for other pet owners? Let us know in the comments below!

By: Susan Paretts



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