Ask Away...: Affordable Animal Ownership: Cut The Cost of Keeping a Dog

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Affordable Animal Ownership: Cut The Cost of Keeping a Dog

Owning a dog doesn’t come cheap, and over the course of their lives they’re likely to set you back many thousands of pounds If you’re on a smaller budget this can be enough to put you off taking the leap into pet ownership, but actually there are some things you can do to keep prices low. You should always ensure that you have the money to look after a dog and only go for it if you’re certain you can provide for them. However there are ways you can give them a happy life without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas.

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Adopt Don’t Shop

Lots of breeds and designer dogs will set you back hundreds, sometimes thousands just for the puppy or dog itself. However going to a shelter and adopting instead will be relatively inexpensive. You will usually have to pay for microchipping, vaccinations and admin fees but it's far cheaper and you also get to give a dog a second chance. If you really want to buy a puppy, look for mongrels or more common breeds which will generally be cheaper and save you money in upfront costs. Pets from a shelter will have been health checked and behaviour tested, and if you go for a dog rather than a puppy you’ve bypassed all of the really difficult stuff which is great if you don’t want to go through the hypo/ toilet training/ chewing everything up phase! On the plus side to buying a mixed breed, mongrels are generally healthier and have less health conditions so often work out cheaper to own in the long run.

Bulk Buy Dog Food

As with anything, bulk buying is always cheaper and the same applies to pet food. Instead of buying smaller bags that will only last for a week, buy a month, two month or three months supply in the form of a larger bag. Many supermarkets carry them these days, otherwise go to a pet shop or supplier. You can buy large vats from places like ebay to store it to keep it fresh, and it will work out far cheaper overall. Dry food also tends to be cheaper than wet food, so transition your dog onto kibble if you’re currently feeding them tins. If you can afford premium pet food brands these can be great, however less expensive brands also do good quality food and switching to this instead will certainly make it cheaper. You could always supplement your dog’s diet with fresh meats and vegetables when they’re on offer.

Make Your Own Treats

Homemade dog treats are quick, easy and inexpensive to make. Best of all you know exactly what’s gone into them. Always double check that the ingredients you plan on using are safe for dogs, but there are lots of simple kitchen items that you can use to make them. Oats, eggs, grated or chopped vegetables, yoghurt and chopped leftover meat for example can all be combined in different ways and baked in the oven. You could use kitchen scraps and leftovers or buy things when they’re on sale to make them cheaper still.

Buy Medication Online

Things like worm, tick and flea treatments such as Advecta will all be less expensive when purchased online as opposed to through your vet. Of course there will be times when you need to see a vet and there’s no substitute for this, but in the cases of routine treatments you’re usually better off sourcing this yourself. Providing you’re using known brands from a reputable site you will be fine and can save yourself a lot of money.

Don’t Skip Insurance

Insurance might seem like an added cost each month that you could do without, but it’s wise to purchase it. If your dog becomes ill or has an accident it could set you back thousands, and if you can’t afford to pay this they have to be put to sleep. Having insurance as a backup policy can give you peace of mind, that if something happens you won’t end up out of pocket if the worst were to happen. Make sure you read all of the fine print and know exactly what your pet is insured against.

Look For Bargain Pet Accessories

Go into a pet shop and you will generally pay a premium price for things like beds, toys, bowls, combs, tags and more. However sites like Amazon and eBay will have them far cheaper. Dollar and bargain stores also usually have a pet section so it’s worth keeping an eye out. When it comes to things like collars and leads you will probably want to spend the extra and make sure you’re getting something really good quality, the last thing you want is for them to snap when you’re out walking as this could be incredibly dangerous. However there are lots of other accessories and pet items that you really don’t need to spend much on and will function absolutely fine. Checking Craigslist, Facebook groups and charity shops is another option as people might be getting rid of things second hand for free or cheap. Once people’s puppy has outgrown their carrier, pen or crate for example they will no longer be in need of them and could be looking to pass them along.

Make Sure You Have a Dog Sitter

If you’re the kind of person that’s jetting off every weekend then a dog won’t be for you. However even if you only take the off mini break or annual holiday your costs can skyrocket since kennels don’t com cheap. Before getting a dog, find out if you have anyone to watch them for you on the times you go away. You could even form a pet sitting circle with friends or neighbours which could save you all money. If you don’t have anyone that can do this for you, shop around for kennels to find the best prices. You of course want somewhere great with fantastic reviews but no need to purchase the premium service if it's not affordable.

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  1. I think I might try making home made treats for my babies! Lord knows they go through plenty of them! Merry Christmas to you and your furry family, Ellen!!

    1. Let me know how they turn out! Merry Christmas <3


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