I really love my pets and as the proud parent to 300+ lbs of dog, (a Great Dane and a Black Lab) I experience firsthand the expense of pet ownership month after month. But I’m not alone. According to the ASPCA, the average annual cost of caring for a dog is $1579, this covers food, medical care, toys and treats, licenses etc. However, with a little bit of planning and pre-emptive care, it is possible to reduce these expenses.
Get a Grooming Lesson
Learning to groom your own pet may not seem glamorous, but when compared to the cost of just one visit to the groomer or pet “spa,” you’ll be thankful you did. Ask your vet for a few simple tips to make your job easier (One trick I found quite useful is to put a towel in the bottom of the tub when giving baths, dogs don’t like slippery surfaces). Also, invest in a good pair of nail clippers or file, a $10 bottle of pet shampoo and voilá! You could be saving over $400 per year.
As with humans, a dog’s dental care plays a large role in their overall health. Make sure to get Fido used to regular teeth brushing at an early age and continue to do it a minimum of once a week. By reducing your pets plaque and tarter build up, you’ll not only avoid bad breath but also costly veterinary cleanings and other related health problems with their internal organs.
Spay or Neuter
It’s expensive to own a pet, even more so when they multiply. In addition to more mouths to feed, the cost of an unaltered female dog’s potential medical problems could be in the thousands. They run the risk of uterine infections and are more susceptible to developing cancer. Many non-profit shelters and community programs offer a voucher program for discounted or free procedures so check around and make sure to select a reputable program and/or clinic.
Feed High Quality Food
Considering the size of our dogs, you can imagine the amount of food we go through on a weekly basis. Timber, our Dane, has a rather sensitive stomach and can only handle holistic foods. While their food may cost more per bag, the savings on costly supplements and vet bills has been well worth it. Also, look into frequent buyer and rewards programs at your local pet shop and Amazon.com. In most cases, your purchase history is automatically tracked and after 10-12 bags (depending on the program) you’ll receive a certificate for a free bag of food.
You wouldn’t miss your annual exam, right? Well doesn’t woman’s best friend deserve the same? Absolutely. Since animals don’t often show signs of illness until it has reached an advanced stage, a regular check-up for your provides an opportunity to catch issues early on. And when a problem is caught early enough, it can often be taken care of with a $20 prescription versus a $300 operation. So, for you and your pet, make an appointment at your earliest convenience.
Do you have any additional tips for saving on your pets healthcare?