5 Practical Ways to Save Money on your Dog
Owning a dog can be expensive. From regular daily care supplies and food, to unexpected veterinary costs, things can add up. Here are some tips on how to save money on your dog.
1. Shop Out of the Box
When initially buying supplies for your dog, I hate to say it, but big box pet stores are overpriced. You will need a long list of supplies when first starting out, (Get my free new puppy and dog supply list here) and if you buy everything at Petco or Petsmart, you are going to spend more than you need to. I have found the best deals at home goods stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods. They have very cute, high quality products for a fraction of the cost of the big box stores. The treats and health/grooming supplies they sell are high quality brands that can be found at the more popular pet stores but for a much better price.
Costco is an awesome place for pet supplies. They have a good quality dog food line, sell large dog beds at a good price, and have good quality toys at an awesome price. What isn’t awesome about Costco?!
When I do shop at the big box stores, I always sniff out their clearance bin. You can get some amazing deals on older or discontinued inventory. I like to buy toys after holidays, because themed toys and treats often go to 75% off the day after a holiday.
2. Shop Online
For recurring needs such as food and poop bags, Amazon and Chewy offer recurring purchase discounts of around 5%, with 30% off your initial purchase. Big box stores actually offer these as well, so price out your specific brands across the different websites, factoring in shipping costs. Chewy offers free shipping over $49, otherwise they have flat rate of $4.95. Amazon prime will get you free shipping. Here’s a link to try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days. For recipients of certain government assistance programs, like EBT, you can get Amazon Prime for $5.99/month with this link, half the regular cost.
3. Shop Local
Some locally owned pet stores offer membership or loyalty discounts. My local pet store offers buy 11 bags of food of one brand, get one free. So once a year I save about $70 on my 24 pound dog food.
I just learned that Petco has started something similar!
Classified ads are also a great resource for big items like crates. Big crates can be quite expensive, and local classifieds, yard sales, or thrift stores often have crates in good shape at great prices.
4. Take Advantage of Clinics and Animal Services
When my dog was young and spry with no health concerns, I got her yearly vaccines and heart worm test/medication at our local County Animal Services and Humane Society. They do not charge an office visit fee and they charge less for vaccines than private veterinarians. Some humane societies or animal services in your area may offer free or low-cost spay and neuter services. Best Friends Animal Society has clinics in some states that offer very discounted services. Check your local animal service and humane society websites, or call and ask about financial assistance. They are invested in keeping pets in their jurisdictions healthy and spayed or neutered, so they will be more than happy to help.
5. Consider Pet Insurance
If you are anything like me and your dog is like your child, no veterinary cost is going to prevent you from giving them the care they need to keep them alive.
There are some factors to consider when looking at pet insurance. Your monthly premiums will depend on your dogs, age, size, and breed. Older, bigger dogs of breeds with certain genetic dispositions will cost more. They also are more likely to need expensive care, so it may be worth it. Young dogs will have cheaper premiums, but are less likely to have health complications. If you have a purebred dog, I highly recommend getting them insurance because their chances of developing genetic disorders is high.
My dog is a mixed breed, so we never insured her, as mixed breeds are far less likely to develop health problems than purebreds. For the first 5 years of her life she was very healthy and needed very little vet care. One incident that cost us almost $1,000 was when she ingested mold and started seizing. We took her to the ER vet, which is more expensive to begin with, and they kept her overnight. I wasn’t going to let $800 be the reason I let my dog die, but that was definitely a hit to our bank account.
Izzy has since developed some arthritis, autoimmune meningitis, and she recently tore her ACL! So as a large dog ages, they are more likely to incur expensive care. Most medications are by weight, so the basics and medications will always be more for a large dog.
Owning a dog can be expensive, but there are ways to save money! From monthly costs of food and treats/toys, to medical costs, being prepared and knowing your options will help you save some money on your dog.