Thinking of getting a pet? Excellent! Having a pet is amazing and can bring so much joy to a family. The only thing to consider is that they can end up costing an absolute fortune if you don't prepare and look at ways you can save money here and there.
In terms of costs, dogs can be the most expensive and expenses can spiral out of control super quick if you don't track them. In fact, owners can spend up to a whopping £40,000 in their dog's lifetime - ouch! Lucky for you folks, I've found some super savvy ways to cut costs right down and I want to share them with all new pet owners out there, as it can be quite overwhelming...
1. Consider a dog from a shelter rather than a breeder
Sometimes we can have our heart set on a specific breed and if you have kids they will probably beg you to get a puppy. The perception of dog shelters is unfortunately still quite looked down upon and people often presume you will end up with a misbehaved mongrel.
Which in fact is complete nonsense! 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds and if you go at certain times of the year e.g. just after Christmas, you will find a lot of puppies at these shelters, as people have realised they are a huge responsibility and can't cope with training a new member of the family.
If you get a dog from a dog shelter, you are more likely get some of the costly new dog expenses “included” with your dog adoption such as vaccinations and checkups.
2. Invest in pet insurance immediately
Pet insurance is a must when you consider the potential costs if your pet was sick or had an accident – imagine not being able to afford the treatment you need to make your pet better! Invest in pet insurance as soon as you can to avoid any nasty surprise bills.
3. Grab a free puppy pack to get you started
If you do decide to buy a puppy, it's so easy to go and buy everything 'puppy' related. Take a stop check and figure out what basics you need and stick to them. You can even pick up puppy packs for FREE. Here is my favourite from Vitalin - it includes a sample pack of puppy food, a clicker and keyring, a product brochure with key recommendations and so much more.
4. Get free dog food
When you get a new dog it's important to try different foods and seek advice off vets as to what food is right for your new furry friend. I personally love Beco Dog Food - it's eco-friendly and my dog Bruce loves it! You can also grab a free sample. Actually, there are loads of brands out there competing for your attention and they all want to give you a free sample! If you find your dog isn't as picky and will try anything, why not try to get as many free dog food samples as you can?
5. Save money on dog grooming by doing it yourself
If your dog has a luscious long coat of fur, it could mean lots of visits to the dog groomers which can definitely add up. To cut costs, make sure you brush your dog every day or every other day at the very least. Your vet will cut your dog's nails if you ask nicely, or if you're confident enough, you can do it yourself.
6. Make your own dog toys & rotate
I got very carried away and bought my dog so many toys when we first got him. I quickly realised that he went through stages and still has an old sock I gave him from two years ago which he carries around the house at least once every day. Why spend your cash on multiple dog toys when you can make your own and rotate them based on his or her favourites? The truth is they get bored easily and usually prefer the cheapest toy of them all or something you own!
7. Save on household cleaning costs by wiping your dog down before they come inside
This sounds like a no-brainer, but when dogs come running across your clean carpet you'll naturally want to grab the cleaner and paper towels. Instead, wipe down his paws at the door and make it a routine. If any mud slips through, it's better to let it dry in and then remove it by loosening the dirt and treating it with a carpet-safe cleaner.
8. Save money on dog collars &leashes
This tip might shock you, but it's better to buy the most expensive leads - WHAT? Yes, resist impulse buys and stick to the highest-quality, most durable leashes and collars that will last for years rather than just cheap ones that will most likely break after a few months.
9. Consider second-hand supplies
There's no shame in purchasing a used, discounted dog bed off eBay or your local Facebook group for free. Have you seen how much those things cost?
10. Train your dog yourself by searching for specific behaviour training one at a time
This will be so much cheaper than spending a small fortune on dog training! Get to know your dog first and then once you pick up his bad habits e.g. sitting, chewing, toilet training etc. and find advice on how to train them for each behaviour online by visiting expert websites, as and when you need them.
11. Plan those routine trips by taking advantage of your local vet's promotions
Lots of vets and associations now offer deals all year round. The Dog's Trust currently offer FREE Microchipping at a location near you so make sure you take full advantage of these offers!
12. Support your local pet shop
It's no secret that your local businesses may be struggling since huge pet stores and online e-commerce sites now dominate the market. Show your local pet shop some love, many tend to be cheaper and they are more likely to give you some great deals, especially if you're a returning customer. Try it for yourself.
13. Keep up to date with any treatments
You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. Things like worming and flea treatments need to be done regularly, more for your pets health than anything else but this also has an impact on your budget because treatment to cure something is usually more expensive than a treatment to prevent it.
14. Skip the fashion accessories
I know, they look so cute in their fluffy jumpers and custom headbands, but do they really need them? Gimicky pet outfits tend to be expensive and while they make great photos, your pet may chew them to pieces seconds after. Do you need them in your life? I think you know the answer to that...
So there you guys have it, simple ways to save money on your new pet, I hope they bring you tonnes of love and happiness. If you have any of your own tips, please feel free to share!