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Resource Guide: Raising a Dog on a Budget

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We all know that pet expenses can add up, but there are a lot of things you can do to save money. When it comes to having dogs, though, they’re often an integral part of the family, and you don’t want to cut corners that could impact the quality of their life. We get it! That’s why we put together this budget-friendly guide to help you save money while providing Fido a fantastic, fun and healthy life.

In particular, we believe planning and education can prevent a lot of the most costly aspects of having a dog in your life.

Approaches that include preventative medicine, a healthy diet, adequate exercise and effective training can help reduce veterinary bills, prevent destructive behaviors and avoid the cost of professional trainers. You might also wish to consider the benefits of pet insurance, especially if you have a disease-prone breed or an older dog.

Dog Budget

  • Business-Budget-Dog[1]How to Reduce Your Pets’ Expenses: This is a great article on how preventative measures and even negotiations with your vet can help save money without compromising your dog’s health.
  • Tips on Lowering Veterinary Bills: Here’s a veterinarian’s take on a step-by-step list to perform some preventative services yourself, including ear and eye cleaning, as well as teeth brushing.
  • Money Tips For Caring Pet Owners: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more expert source than the American Veterinary Medical Association. Their article cites a lot of vets on how to cut down costs.
  • How To Put Your Dog On A Budget: This 12-page PDF has recipes for dog biscuits, tips to save money on toys, and links for how to find coupons. There’s even a dog shampoo recipe to help save a few bucks.

Dog Health

  • Veterinarian Examining DogFor Pet Anxiety: The Thundershirt wraps your dog in snug material to help reduce anxiety. This investment can save you a fortune if you’re using medication to treat your dog’s anxiety.
  • What You Should Know About Rabies Vaccination: Read this incredibly important article for information on the rabies vaccination, including possible adverse reactions you should look out for.
  • All Things Dog: This list compiles a number of excellent dog-related books, most of them for under $20. These kinds of “self-help” materials can save you money you might otherwise put toward a professional trainer.
  • Through A Dog’s Ear: Music therapy can help dogs that suffer from anxiety. Who knew? Learn more about it here and how you could be able to take your dog of those expensive medications.

Organizations

    • AKC STAR Puppy Program: This training program for puppies can help you nip any undesired behaviors in the bud. Even just preventing one pair of destroyed shoes can make this one good for long-term savings!
    • AKC Canine Good Citizen Program: The “Good Citizen” program rewards dogs who have good manners. This program is great for the intellectual stimulation your dog needs. Remember: A bored dog can be a destructive dog.
    • Dog Scouts of America: This program is a great way to get the exercise and training your dog needs to live a healthy and fulfilled life.
    • Association of Animal Behavior Professionals: You’re now able to access back issues of the AABP’s educational journals for free! They focus on non-coercive training methods and the science behind animal behavior.
    • Association of Professional Dog Trainers: If you really need a professional trainer, make sure they’re certified. Otherwise, you could be flushing money down the toilet on someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
    • Best Friends Animal Society: This is a great (and free!) resource than can answer nearly any question on training, behavior, health and more.
    • The Anti-Cruelty Society: The Anti-Cruelty Society runs adoption centers nationwide. If you’re still looking for your furry best friend, adoption is an excellent and low-cost option.

Dog Food

      • Dry dog foodDog Food Advisor: If you’re in need of reviews on the many brand and varieties of dog food, check this one out. You’ll hear from real people who can guide you to low-cost but nutritionally exceptional brands.
      • Whole Dog Journal: Dozens of articles are compiled here for your perusing, all pertaining to dog food, especially for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Managing your dog’s allergies might help you take them off costly medications.
      • Fosters & Smith: If you prefer online shopping, this is the place to go. Fosters & Smith is a veterinarian-owned online pet supply store. You can even sign up for auto-delivery to save money and time.
      • Best Bully Sticks: These chew sticks taste great (to your dog anyway), are all-natural and are less expensive than traditional rawhide. The ingredients are not chemically treated like the rawhide you’ll see at the local pet store.
      • Dog Food Corner: If you’re interested in going the natural route, be sure to give this one a read. It has great information on what to look for so you don’t waste money based on false advertising.

Training & Education

      • child-training-dog[1]How to Choose a Trainer: If you ever find yourself needing a trainer, make sure you know how to pick a well-qualified one who will give you the best bang for your buck.
      • Karen Pryor Clicker Training Basics: Clicker training can look unapproachable, but Karen Pryor breaks it down very nicely. You can learn how to do your own clicker training and save the cost of a professional trainer.
      • Dog Bite Prevention Through Education: Get educated on the risk of dog bites. A bite could not only cost expensive treatment for the victim, but it could cost your dog his or her life depending on the laws where you live.
      • Doggone Safe: Learn why dogs bite and the specific ways you can help prevent dog bites through awareness and proper training.
      • Dog Aware: This website has been tracking the latest information on dog training and other topics for over a decade.

Random

      • c09[1]Dog Names at Dog Name Guide: Check out this A-to-Z list of dog names and their meanings. Just for fun!
      • Find Lost Dogs & PetsThis service serves as an emergency telephone alert system for lost pets. If you can work this into the budget after using the savings tips above, this could save your dog’s life.
      • Bring Fido: Planning a vacation? Have a wedding to attend? Find out where you can bring your dog to avoid paying a pet-sitter.
      • Go Pet Plan: You’ll never regret investing in pet insurance. Vet bills can be shockingly huge, but having pet insurance could save you thousands.

If the above list of resources leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’ll break down the basics you need to know to save money while maintaining a high standard of care and quality of life for your dog.
Look for low-cost vaccination clinics

You might have seen the occasional vaccination booth set up at the local pet store. Take advantage of these, as they’re much cheaper than booking an appointment with your vet. Make sure you bring your records with you so you know what vaccinations your dog needs.

veterinarian[1]Spaying and Neutering: Having your dog “fixed” can prevent a lot of health problems down the road. This is especially true if your dog is female, since non-spayed dogs have a much higher risk of cancer. Plus, if your dog gets pregnant on accident, the vet bills for care can be through the roof. You’ll also be doing your part to help prevent contributing to the abundance of animals in shelters.

Get Pet Insurance: We all know how important insurance can be if you ever end up needing surgery or emergency medical treatment. The same applies to your dog. Pet insurance can be as low as $5-10 per month, but it’ll pay off when your dog gets injured or sick.

Pause4Paws-Grooming[1]Learn How To Groom: One of the best ways to save money each month is to groom your own dog. If you need a partner to help you wrangle, just be sure to get an extra set of hands. You could save hundreds per year just by shampooing and drying at home. You can also start cutting your dog’s nails yourself. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy and cheap.

Preventative Maintenance at Home: Along the lines of grooming at home, it’s important for health and cost reasons to take care of your dog’s eyes, ears and teeth. These areas, when they get dirty and infected, can cause a lot of costly health issues.

 

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