How to Save Money as a Dog Owner

Owning a dog can be extremely expensive - dog experts estimate that the cost of owning a dog over a 14-year lifespan can range between as little as £5,000 to as much as £30,000!

In addition to the purchase price of your pooch, you must factor in the cost of food, veterinary care and grooming as well as extra costs like toys, boarding and training. Over time, these expenses pile up and many dog owners become overwhelmed to the point that they decide they can no longer afford to keep their dog.

Rather than going to this extreme, try a few of these money-saving tips for dog owners. There are simple ways to cut costs on toys, food and health care for your dog - you just need to know where to start.

Cut costs on dog toys

If you have a puppy or a dog that loves to chew, the chances are good that you go through dog toys pretty quickly. If you spend £3 to £10 on each toy, you could be spending £20 or more per month on dog toys alone!

Luckily, this is a cost that can easily be avoided with a little bit of creativity. Try making your own dog toys using regular household objects like old rags or t-shirts, socks, tennis balls and even cardboard boxes.

Tear rags and t-shirts into strips or use socks to create your own braided ropes for tug-of-war games or stuff a tennis ball into a sock and toss it for your dog to fetch. Dogs also tend to enjoy toys that offer them a reward, so try putting a few treats inside a small cardboard box or plastic water bottle and let your dog go at it.

The options are endless when it comes to making your own dog toys, so just let your imagination run wild and see what you can come up with. It's a sure fire money saver.

Feeding your dog at a lower cost

While it may be tempting to switch to a low-quality dog food to save money, this can actually end up costing you more in the long run. Low-quality dog foods often use fillers that have little nutritional value and can cause digestive problems which may lead to increased veterinary bills.

To save money on dog food, visit the manufacturer's website or check your weekly paper for vouchers and offers. Pair these vouchers with weekly sales at your favorite shops or pet stores to cut costs on feeding your pooch. Purchasing dog food in bulk is another money-saving option and you may also be able to find deals by shopping online.

Many dog owners go the alternative route of making their own dog food using raw ingredients like poultry, beef, eggs and vegetables to save money. Depending on the size of your dog and how much he eats, this option can end up saving you a lot of money and may also be healthier for your dog too.

Money-saving doggy health tips

Though it may seem silly to spend a great deal of money on regular veterinary visits if your dog is healthy, keeping up with your dog's veterinary care can actually save you money. Keeping up with tests and routine check-ups is the best way to catch illnesses and congenital conditions early before expensive treatments or surgeries are needed.

If you are concerned with being able to pay your dog's veterinary bills, think about purchasing a dog insurance policy. Like health insurance for humans, dog insurance plans help to lower your out-of-pocket costs and many plans will reimburse you for up to 90% of the cost of services covered by the plan.

By shopping around and comparing pet insurance you'll be more likely to find a money-saving policy.

If you already have dog insurance but feel like you are paying too much, shop around for a better deal. The same can be done in regard to your veterinarian - if you are unhappy with the fees, look for an equally-qualified but less expensive vet somewhere else.

Other tips for saving money being a dog owner

If you are wondering how to save money as a dog owner there is no simple answer - the key is to utilize a number of cost-cutting tips to maximise your savings.

In addition to making your own toys and shopping around for better prices on food and veterinary care, you can also reduce the cost of owning a dog by utilising the help of your friends. Rather than taking your dog to the kennel while you are away on vacation, ask a friend to pet sit or, if you are going on a short trip, ask the neighbor to check in on your dog a few times a day to feed him and let him outside.

Ask fellow dog owners if they will lend you a cage their dog has outgrown rather than buying one for your growing puppy. Borrow dog training books from the library or do some online research to learn how to train your dog yourself in order to avoid the cost of expensive obedience classes.

There are plenty of ways to save money on dog ownership - you just need to have a little bit of creativity and to take the initiative to look for them.