Three Quick Steps to a Thriftier Pet

>> 2.14.2011

I'm never going to claim that I cut every cost possible when it comes to pet ownership (I mean, Hugo does have an entire puppy wardrobe), but that doesn't mean that I won't save where I can! Here are a few quick and easy ways I like to cut down those pet costs:

1.Stay away from the grocery store aisle. The treats and toys in this aisle are incredibly expensive and/ or calorie-packed. Instead of high cost/ high calorie prepackaged dog treats try using the healthy foods you have at home as snacks. Believe it or not- my absolutely pups love eating the crunchy parts of lettuce, baby carrots, and bits of bananas (my vet okayed all three in moderation- there are some veggies that are toxic to dogs) just as much as the expensive treats. When we're doing training exercises, I even reward Hugo with extra pieces of his own food. They're happy (and healthy) and I'm not spending anything extra= win+win!

2. Think out side of the pet store big box. While there are definitely clearance-priced items and coupons to use out there, I find that most of the pet store toys and supplies are really expensive. Believe it or not, my favorite stores to find great deals on pet items aren't stores known for their pet selections: Old Navy (great clearance leashes and shirts), Feed & Supply Store (animal-based treats), Marshall's (high quality toys), T.J, Maxx, Target (best affordable Halloween costumes!) and Tuesday Morning.

3. Keep them healthy. For all of love and companionship that pets provide, the annual costs of feeding them and taking them to the vet aren't all that bad... until you start adding in emergency visits because they eat ice packs (*cough* Hugo) or required medications for their new diseases. Doing optional things now like giving them daily exercise, performing preventative dental care, and pet-proofing the home will really save in the long run!
3-A Start a pet emergency fund. Even with all precautions taken, that expensive surgery or surprise emergency visit will come up at some point. As cheap as I can be, the last thing I would ever want to do is to avoid a crucial pet care cost because it is too expensive. To avoid looking at your furry baby as a burden, start saving now!

What are your favorite ways to stay thrifty with a pet?


Lauren February 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM  

I have never checked Marshalls for dog toys. I will definitely have to check it out. We are really picky about the toys we buy for Banner because he can destroy most toys in 5 minutes or less. Our biggest expenses for Banner are his annual vet visits and when he goes to the kennel during our vacations. Thankfully neither happen that often so we can plan for them.

Kate@TwentySixToLife February 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

Hugo is one freaking adorable dog.

3A is great advice. You never know when you'll need emergency care and already having money set aside for it can be a lifesaver (literally!).

emily @ the happy home February 14, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

when i lived in a really lousy neighborhood due to rent costs, i could only walk my pup (safely) twice a day. that led to a LOT of destroyed stuff and lots of health problems for her.

honestly, just spending a bit more on rent saved me lots and lots of money when it came to the health of my dog!

Amanda@Married Life Diaries February 14, 2011 at 12:33 PM  

Our dog loves ice. He thinks that it is a treat and something special, and very cost effective!

Jackie February 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM  

We really re-evalutated our expenses with our dog. His haircuts were $90 per month (apparently his cut was difficult). We invested in clippers and we groom him ourselves now. We also give him baby carrots as snacks and organic peanut butter in moderation. We also learned that kong brand toys are the only toys he cannot destroy, no matter how cute we think other toys may be.

Hilary Anne February 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM  

Totally agree with all the tips for saving dough on your dog. I have found that there are some great online wholesale shops that offer terrific prices on pet needs too. I like in particular.

Thanks for sharing your tips!

Jordan@the2seasons February 17, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

I love this post thank you. My husband and I are going to get our first pet in the spring and we have been overwhelmed where to start. Good to know about a pet fund, the food and checking out other stores.

P.s. your dog is really cute.

Brian February 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM  

Nice tips! Especially the pet emergency fund, something of a great help when something comes up.

Kimberly February 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM  

Great tips!

Our dogs also love lettuce, baby carrots, and (well just Jaffery likes) bananas. We also buy bulk chicken breast, and when we make some for us, add in an extra piece, dice it very small and use for training treats! Much cheaper than buying treats.

I also have used old socks stuffed with other old socks, for toys. Our Dakota rips toys up anyhow, so we try to limit the number of them we actually buy!

saj March 15, 2012 at 8:55 PM  

I make the inside padding for their beds from old pillowcases stuffed with either rags or from old foam rubber mattress pads.

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