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How to Save Money on My Dog

Happy National Pet Day! 13 Ways to Save Bucks on Fido

The cost of raising a dog is extremely high. In fact, if you look at rates to fly with your dog on airplanes, it's sometimes almost equivalent to what we humans are paying for a plane ticket. And it all adds up — you end up spending a never-ending amount of cash on toys, crates, flea medication, checkups, and the list goes on. However, many think the high costs of raising a dog are totally worth it. To reduce the costs of what you think is a necessary expense, here are some tips on saving money on your new dog:

  • Adopt a Doggie: If you're not too picky about the breeds, getting your dog from a shelter is cheaper than spending over a thousand for a purebred puppy from a breeder. Further, many of the pets have already been vaccinated and spayed or neutered, which will definitely save you money in vet bills.
  • Pick a Responsible Breeder: If you have your heart set on a pooch from a breeder, make sure you do your homework lest you end up with a sick dog from a puppy mill. Do research online to see what qualities a responsible breeder has, and go take a look at the dog and inspect the environment it's being raised in. Ask for references from sources like the breeder's vet, ask to see the dog's parents (if they are around) and quiz her on how she raises her dogs. Here are more questions to ask a prospective breeder.
  • Costco For Pets or Buy Online: Check to see if there is a warehouse superstore for pet supplies in your area. For example, Pet Club in the Bay Area gives great discounts if you buy in bulk — great for buying items in bulk such as urine pads, cleaning solvent, and poop bags. Another option is to see if you can find better deals online — Four Paws wee wee pads are available on Amazon at a 55 percent discount, so be sure to look around online for great bargains.
  • Neuter or Spay at the ASPCA: Spaying or neutering your dog can be extremely pricey. Check out your local ASPCA for cheaper prices on the surgery. To compare prices, I called a local vet that quoted me a hefty $800 for a small breed puppy, while the ASPCA in San Francisco quoted me $225. However, after asking around, my friend told me about an even better deal at another ASPCA, located a little further away in Oakland, CA, which charged $100 to spay/neuter. Be sure to check out the prices of the different clinics, even if they are under the same organization. The local Humane Society clinics were even cheaper so you might want to check out their prices as well. Lesson to learn: always shop around for pet health services.
  • Housebreak Your Dog: If you train your dog to "go" outside of your house, you don't have to waste money buying expensive pee pads and you'll be using less cleaning solvent for the messes that accidentally spill from the pad to the floor.

For more tips to saving on Fido, read after the jump.

  • Ask Your Vet For Deals: Sometimes your vet may have deals that will save you money. My friend buys her flea and heartworm medication directly from her vet, which will give her one pack free for every six packs she buys. Let your vet know that you're trying to find ways to save and she might even have useful tips for you in addition to discounts.
  • Get Equipment From a Fellow Dog Owner: Ask around to see if your dog-loving pals have equipment that they no longer need for their puppy. My friend offered to give me her dog's playpen that retails for over $100. Borrow dog books from them to read so you don't have to buy any Amazon books.
  • Research Before Getting Pet Insurance: Pet insurance isn't exactly the same thing as human insurance. Take a look at the experience Wise Bread's Paul Michael had with VPI. "As I tried to make any kind of sense of [the insurance policy], I realized something: I wasn't supposed to make sense of it. This is made as complex as possible so average Joe's like you and I don't know what we're expected to receive or how to fight it," Michael says. Not only are the pet insurance policies complicated, you might not be satisfied with the money you'll be reimbursed with. Pet healthcare reform, anyone?
  • Pet Emergency Budget: You have an emergency budget, but since you're adding another member to your family (albeit a furry one), you need to create one for your dog. Emergencies with dogs happen all the time, so make sure you have enough of a buffer to get you through those emergencies.
  • Groom on Your Own: Save money by being your pet's groomer. Cut its nails, trim the hair and give it baths on your own. There is plenty of free online instruction for you to learn from — it's a good idea to check out some YouTube videos that teaches how to groom dogs on your own.
  • Feed Quality Food: Although you'll be saving money in the short run by buying cheap pet food, you might want to shell out a bit more for better health in the long run. Check out some of the pet food reviews on DogFoodAdvisor.com to see what food will work best for your puppy. Your dog may be sensitive to certain foods so make sure you keep an observant eye on your dog to see if he seems to be allergic to a brand.
  • Pick a Friend Over Pet Hotel: When you’re traveling, save yourself the $50 a night that a pet hotel will charge by handing your doggy over to a trusted friend. Remember to leave detailed instructions and doggy supplies such as food, pads, toys, and chews. It’s best to leave your precious pup with someone who is familiar with handling dogs.
  • Durable Toys: Get toys that will hold strong under a lot of biting. The classic Kong and the Nylabone toys are both known for their sturdiness.

Do you have more tips to save on dog care? How much have you spent on your pet?
Source: Flickr User youngthousands

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