10 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Dog Care Costs

Fur babies are a lot like…well, human babies. They are every parent’s pride and joy, require the utmost care and speak in a language none of us can quite understand. Accepting full financial responsibility for your four-legged companion can seem daunting — whether initially or when the bills keep piling up — but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. 

Here are 10 simple ways to effectively cut dog care costs.

1. Schedule your dog’s yearly check-up and other necessary visits

It’s best to stay in-the-know at all times when it comes to your dog’s health. A great way to do this is to book annual exams to keep up on how healthy your dog is. Another is to call your vet as soon as you notice your dog is showing unusual symptoms. Taking immediate action prevents the problem from potentially getting worse and pricier to treat. To maximize your savings, search for low-cost clinics or free initial exams near you.

Related: The Top 6 Dog Parenting Mistakes, According to a Veterinarian

2. Compare medication prices

Ever think that extra zero at the end of an estimate was a typo? You’re not alone. Medication expenses can quickly add up depending on your dog’s needs. Fortunately, you can shop around to compare prices elsewhere instead of buying directly from your vet. Doing a simple search online on where your dog’s medication is also available can save you a good chunk of change. 

3. Vaccinate your pup accordingly

Vaccines protect your dog from deadly diseases. While some are crucial to overall health and wellness, there are others that are simply recommended. Talk to your vet to figure out the best vaccine options for your dog.

4. Spay or neuter your dog

Bob Barker reminded us at the end of every episode of The Price Is Right to have our pets spayed or neutered, and for good reason. Doing so can lower the chances of your dog developing testicular, uterine or ovarian cancer. It can also prevent prostate complications and breast tumors. The one-time payment for a spay or neuter is vastly cheaper than treating these health problems, or caring for your dog and a litter of pups.

5. Care for your dog’s ears and teeth

Bye, Bye Dog Breath
Bye, Bye Dog Breath

Your dog doesn’t have thumbs to clean his own ears and teeth, but you do! Minimize your dog’s chances of developing an ear or dental infection by regularly checking his ears and brushing his teeth, or using another preventative care product, like our Bye, Bye Dog Breath dental line.

Practicing good hygiene saves you money that would otherwise go toward medications, dental procedures and additional vet bills.

6. Groom your four-legged friend yourself

Unleash your inner Jess Rona and learn how to groom your dog at home to cut costs. Establishing a routine will not only make your fur baby look absolutely fabulous, but also help you detect fleas, infections or skin issues. 

Related: Need to Give Your Dog a Bath or Good Brush? Here’s How to Not Make It a Complete Disaster.

7. Opt for high-quality dog food

Buying the most dog food for the cheapest price may seem cost-effective, but it can actually do more harm than good in the long run depending on the quality. Low-quality food can pose health risks like digestive issues and allergic reactions, which can get expensive to continuously treat. A way to make sure dog food is high-quality? Read the labels to check if it meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for nutritional adequacy. Healthy food means a healthy pup. And of course, fewer trips to the vet.

8. Make your own dog treats

Treats can be pricey if your pup goes through them faster than Scooby-Doo. Not to mention, some may not be the healthiest for your dog to eat. You can eliminate the cost and stress by making treats at home. That way, you know they’re filled with nutritious ingredients and a whole lot of love!

9. Help your furry companion maintain a healthy weight

According to a survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2018, about 56 percent of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. Weight problems can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Keep your dog fit and your vet bills low by implementing exercise and a well-balanced diet.

10. Research pet insurance

Pet insurance comes in handy if your dog gets injured or sick unexpectedly. It’s up to you as a dog parent to determine whether your bank account can take the hit if either happens, or if you’d rather put money toward a pet insurance plan just in case. While pet insurance isn’t mandatory by any means, it’s worth looking into to decide if it’s right for you and your pup.

Related: We Compared the Top Dog Food Delivery Companies on Ingredients, Price and What Makes Them Special 

By Yvonne Villasenor

Yvonne Villasenor is an Orange County, Calif-based freelance writer. She can often be found watching creature features, swooning over dogs on the internet or playing with her Chihuahuas.

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