It all starts at the beginning: save money on your dog BEFORE you get a dog. Make sure you can afford to take proper care of a dog by knowing what goes into the expense account – room and board, medical care, education, recreation, transportation and … time. The annual cost of a dog can go anywhere from a little over $1,000 to $3,500. If you feel you can handle it, choose the right breed. It takes more to feed a Great Dane than a Chihuahua. Long-haired dogs need more special grooming than short-haired ones. If you’re away from home often, find out the prices for putting your dog in a kennel or hiring a pet sitter.
Look for bargains
Food is going to be your biggest expense with a dog. Look for special offers by supermarkets, compare brands and exchange information with other dog owners. Buy in volume and split food costs with friends who also own dogs. However, don’t just buy because of price and make sure that your dog gets all the nutrition it needs. If you know how, you might want to cook your dog’s meals. Keep treats to a minimum by sticking to apples or carrots or making your own from dog food.
Don’t skimp on the meds
Dogs can hide diseases quite well so the regular checkup with the vet is a good way to save money on the long term. Getting health insurance for your dog can save you a lot especially as your dog gets along in years. Do what you can by yourself to keep your dog healthy like brushing its teeth and medicating it against tics and lice. Avoid taking your dog to places where it might get contaminated by other animals. Stick to the heart-worm medication schedule and make sure your dog doesn’t get obese.
Handle beauty treatments yourself
Ask your vet how you can groom the dog yourself. Buy the right grooming tools and aids then learn how to groom your dog. It not only saves you money it also helps you establish a closer relationship with your pet. If you have a breed that needs professional grooming, shop around for a good and affordable salon.
Leashes and collars, beds, toys and other stuff that the dog needs can add up to the costs. Find out about good and durable brands, even if they cost a bit more. Keep toys to a minimum and rotate them every so often to keep your dog amused and entertained.
Practice birth control
Have your dog spayed or neutered. It’s good for your dog’s health and your wallet. An unplanned dog “family” can really throw your budget out of whack. A local shelter or an animal organization can assist you with the cost of the procedure.
Save for emergencies
Emergencies will strike for dogs as well as humans. Put aside an amount every month for such occasions. Prepare a disaster plan that you can put into effect at a moment’s notice so you’re not forced to spend more than you have to.
Save money with your dog the way you save money with yourself.
About the author: Mel is an animal lover and travel writer. For him the ideal way to combine work with travel and also keep the company of animals is by house sitting in different parts of the country for people with pets. His favorite house sitting site is http://mindahome.com