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5 Ways to Save on Pet Costs

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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!

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  1. Avatar Of Mikaela



    Amen Stephanie. Took the words right out of my mouth. Working in vet clinic, it’s always the “I won’t give my dogs vaccinations” clients that in turn lose their 8 year old beloved companion to parvo. So easily prevented.

    • Avatar Of Diane



      Feel free to share with Stephanie.
      I am a retired licensed vet tech and if you recall the 2003 article in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association a study showed vaccines offered protection for 3 years, later that year AVMA extended that to 5 years and as a longer period of study found that most dogs got lifetime immunity after the 1st vaccine. They did also mention that yearly vaccines bring in 40% of a veterinarian clinics income.
      Titres are effective for checking if the dog has immunity. If he does, then vaccinate. Rabies vaccines also last but are required by law every 3-5 years depending on state.

  2. Avatar Of Stephanie



    There is a lot of propaganda crap about vaccinations. I ask those opposed, have you gotten polio? I’m guessing if you were born after the 50’s the answer is no because of vaccines. Parvovirus in dogs is more often seen in animals from mothers that have not been vaccinated. Please vaccinate your dogs. Leptospirosis is transmissible to humans and is deadly. Rabies is always fatal. And please use heart worm prevention and test yearly. All of these things will help keep your dog healthy. I am a vet tech and I see more dogs and cats come in to my clinic who have “never been sick so [the owner] never needed to take them to the vet” who come in at a young middle age and are now sick. Very often these dogs end up with diseases such as kidney failure, liver failure that we could have managed before they became a death sentence. Preventative care is not a myth and if you think your vet is making a dime off of you more times than not you’re mistaken. Health care costs to the provider are the same in veterinary medicine as in human medicine. Veterinary hospitals do not have the benefit of being able to buy supplies in massive bulk like human hospitals do. We also don’t have insurance companies to bill when our clients don’t pay. If we recommend something, we generally, genuinely believe it is for the good of our patient. And yes, buy good dog food. A commercial dog food is better than cooking because it is complete and balanced and formulated to meet a dogs needs. Raw foods pose risk to the owner in handling and the dog could be a transmitter of food borne illness if it has raw food on its lips and licks the owner. Bones also pose risk of intestinal foreign bodies and perforation. Never feed your dog chicken and pork bones. Your dog is not a wolf. It does NOT need to be fed like one.

  3. Avatar Of Linda Teten

    Linda Teten


    I love how people are becoming more aware of the dangers of vaccines and are either feeding raw or cooking for their pets. This is what I do for my rottweilers and other dogs. It may cost a little more now but in the long run you will save by having a healthy dog that does not have skin or other health issues. My motto is you can spend it now to keep your dog healthy or spend it later in vet bills. Just look at all the beloved pets lost from vaccine reactions & food and treat recalls…I lost one of my rotties after vaccinating to IMHA.
    I have pet insurance, VPI to be exact, I will never recommend them to anyone. I just had an emergency this past July, I maxed out my credit cards with $7,500 to save my girl from a rare lung disease thinking I would be reimbursed. They flatly refused to pay, we filed an appeal & my vet hospital wrote them a letter. Last week I got a check for $600. Definitely do your home work when it comes to pet insurance because it comes out of your pocket first and can cause a huge financial burden if they refuse to pay.

  4. Avatar Of Jerrie Williams

    Jerrie Williams


    I cook for my two poodles and it is less expensive that the so called holistic dog foods that are being recalled! Do not get a dog unless you can afford the vet bills and you do not know what is coming your way, tell me I thought I would be taking my dog to a dermatologist and that a dental would cost $900.00 (rescue dog). This is the very reason the shelters are full folks can not afford the vet bills. Now I am not sure how things have changed so much, our family dog lived to be 17 years old eating table scrapes to supplement his grocery store dog food, never had his teeth cleaned and had them all (almost) when he passed. He only went to vet yearly for shots, once he dod get hit by a car and had a cast on for a few weeks other than that no big vet bills. My dogs have cost me thousands in the last three years. So far for two visits to the dermatologist $1200.00. I would love to adopt another senior , I can’t afford it. I adopted Mr Tucker at 13, do you know how much a month
    insurance would be for a 15 year old dog! Two words “not affordable” Please tell folks the truth.

  5. Avatar Of Lori Kay Thuestad

    Lori Kay Thuestad


    Nutrition is everything! I spend some serious money on my dogs’ food, but they are super healthy. I also use some great supplements and digestive enzymes, coconut oil, etc. We get rabies vaccines because it’s a law, but other than that, we haven’t had a health issue in over 4 years. The cost of my dogs’ food and supplements is still less than what my vet visits used to cost.

  6. Avatar Of Natalie



    Go Cherrie! Feed raw, LIMIT vaccines and other harmful chemicals and see how much you go to the vet! My raw fed pups only go when they injure themselves doing dog sports! Haha

  7. Avatar Of Andi Andi says:

    My dog’s favorite toy is a stick! That’s really cheap 🙂

  8. Avatar Of Cherrie



    Long term health of a dog can be managed much easier or even eliminated if you feed a species appropriate diet. This does not include dog food.

    • ABSOLUTELY!! I cured my dog Chloe’s skin conditions & illness’s with a Raw Food Diet & Supplements.. Which led to me become a Holistic Animal Wellness Advocate & Consultant 🙂

  9. Avatar Of Monika Lebbers

    Monika Lebbers


    You can save a lot of money with cheap premium food. I try an other brand and save now 30$ / week.
    There are so many dog food.I bought last year ab sweet beagle. I bought some ebooks to choose the food.
    This is a good review site: free-new-articles.com

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