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17 Easy Tips To Save Money On Dog Costs + 5 Vital Mistakes

Save Money On Dog Costs

Dogs don’t care about monetary things.

Their only goal in life is to be with you happily.

But you still need to ensure they live healthily and comfortably…

So, let me tell you all about how to be a frugal and responsible fur parent.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 3 low-cost ways to train your canine.
  • 17 amazing tips to save money on dog expenses.
  • 5 expensive mistakes to avoid when saving on dog costs.
  • And many more…

17 tips to save money on dog costs

#1: Be your dog’s trainer

On average, a dog group training session costs up to $80 per class. 

Then, individual classes are at least $45 to $120. 

However, renowned trainers will charge you $300 or more for a 1-hour session only. 

Sounds a bit too much to spend for a few hours, right?

But with this tip, you’re going to hit 2 birds with 1 stone:

You get to train your pooch for free or at a low cost.

Plus, you boost your skill set.

So with the many resources available to you instantly…

Here are ways to become your dog’s trainer:

#1: Take up a free online course

Some of the best dog trainers in the world share their expertise online. 

Like Dunbar Academy’s wide selection of free online courses.

#2: Spend a few dollars on a dog training book

Your $15 can go a long way with renowned dog trainer Patricia McConnell’s book:

The Other End of the Leash.

In that book, you’ll learn to understand your dog’s language.

And by mastering how your dog communicates…

You’ll grasp the basics of dog training and what to avoid in the process.    

#3: Watch dog trainers on YouTube 

Simply type “dog training” in YouTube’s search bar…

Then, pick the video you think is best for you.

Reading tip: 27 Best Dog Trainers On YouTube

#2: Invest in durable pet necessities

I know you’re here to avoid spending too much …

But this tip is an exception…

Because I suggest that you invest in durable pet necessities. 

Which usually charges more than other choices in the market.

By doing so, you’ll avoid replacing cheap ones every time they break.

That said, here are some examples of high-quality dog necessities you need to invest in:

#1: Crates

The key is picking one that’ll last long.

Get something made from a strong metallic material.

And if you know your puppy will grow into a medium to large dog…

Buy a large crate as early as possible.

Note: Ensure that you research how big your dog could grow. So that you’ll avoid picking one that’ll be too small for them. 

#2: Bedding

Some dogs love to scratch and dig on their bed…

That’s why you’ll need something made with tear-resistant features. 

Which includes undestroyable stitching. 

#3: Water bowls

Ditch the plastic.

Your dog would easily chew on them. 

And you’ll find yourself replacing the bowl one too many times.

Warning: Don’t continue to use chewed-up plastic bowls. Bacteria can quickly gather in chewed-up areas. Which will be harmful to your dog’s health. 

Instead, opt for stainless steel bowls.

Not only are they painless to clean…

But they’ll also last long because Fido can’t easily chew them.

#3: Get a grooming kit

A basic dog grooming runs from $30 to $90. 

And although this expense only comes once every 3 to 4 weeks…

As a frugal folk, you can save a lot by learning how to groom your dog. 

Which could decrease their visits to the grooming salon.

Or their tendency to become a special case in grooming. 

That describes a canine with:

  • Matted fur.
  • Long nails.
  • Hair patches.
  • Too much ear wax buildup.

Disclaimer: You must still bring your dog to the groomer frequently. Fido needs their anal glands expressed. And it requires training to do yourself. That said, this tip only aims to lessen the groomer’s work, which could help lower your bill. 

#4: Cut back on hiring a walker

Hiring dog walkers costs around $20 to $30 per 30-minute service. 

Since canines need to be walked daily…

That totals from $600 to $900 monthly.

Note: If your pooch is a large breed, they need more exercise. So, you need to double that initial value.

With that, I highly suggest you make time to walk your pooch yourself.

May it be through waking up earlier than you used to. 

Or trading off chores in the household to tend to Fido.

And the best way I got to work on this is:

To treat walking my dog as my exercise.

I already have “working out” included in my daily schedule…

So I inserted this practice under that. And I considered it as my pre-workout.

Fun fact: A study says dog parents walk their pups for 300 minutes a week. With that, they’re more likely to meet physical activity requirements. Which is one of many unexpected health benefits of having a dog.

#5: Have a friend or family member dogsit Fido

Dog sitters would charge you around $20 to $40 a day.

On the other hand, boarding kennels charge depending on the length of stay. Here’s a table to be exact:

Average costLength of stay
$30 to $501 night
$1501 week
$5001 month

Well, you can skip those fees…

Because if you have a friend or family who gets along with your dog…

You can cut back on this expense by half or more.

Just ask them to dogsit for you. 

And you can make it up to them.  

You can pay them less than you usually do to professionals. Or let it be an “I-owe-you.”

#6: Regularly exercise your dog

Regularly Exercise Them To Save Money On Dog Costs

This is a money-saving tip that most dog parents don’t expect:

Ensure that you regularly exercise your pooch.

“How does this help me save money on dog costs?”

When you keep Fido active…

You turn them away from harm and health issues like:

  • Injury.
  • Obesity.
  • Brain ailments.
  • Bone disorders.
  • Poor muscle tone.

That said, more exercise means fewer vet visits. Which also leads to lesser expenses.

“How much exercise does my dog need, then?”

According to PDSA, the amount of daily exercise needed in dogs depend on their:

  • Age.
  • Breed. 
  • Health.
  • Energy level.

But in general, dogs need at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily exercise. 

#7: Buy dog food in bulk (and use proper storage)

You’re doing it wrong when you buy small packs of dog food.

With that method, you’re not just spending money…

But you’re also using your time and effort too often.

Instead, you can buy dog food in bulk. 

Pro tip: Pick one with the farthest expiry date. This guarantees longer shelf life.

More importantly, you must: 

Protect the food from spoilage 

The best way to do this is by keeping it in proper storage.

You can go for simple DIY food storage containers

Or buy something durable and reliable. 

To guide you on the latter:

Know that food spoils when you expose it to air for a long time.

So get something with an airtight seal. 

Moreover, dry dog food can go bad in heat.

With that, put the storage somewhere below room temperature. Below 72℉ (22℃), to be exact.

Lastly, avoid getting the food wet.

As moisture could speed up the process of bacterial contamination.

Continue reading: 19 Easy Tips To Store Dry Dog Food Long Term (How-To Guide)

#8: Opt for homemade pet treats

Gourmet dog treats are priced at $10 to $20.

And usually, those packs only come with a few pieces.

That’s why I suggest making dog treats yourself.

Not only is this a cheap option…

But it’s also a healthy choice.

Because you can avoid putting anything that your pooch is allergic with.

As for recipes, there are many available on the internet. 

Like AKC’s list of homemade dog treat recipes.

There, you’ll learn how to create snacks from healthy ingredients like:

  • Apples.
  • Carrots.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Pureed pumpkin.

#9: Don’t splurge on dog toys

Your pooch is a simple creature. 

That’s why they’ll be happy about anything they can play with.

So, avoid splurging on dog toys.

Warning: Don’t go for cheap choices that could disintegrate quickly. Once they come apart, Fido might ingest their broken pieces. Which creates a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.

“So what should I buy?”

Opt for durable dog toys. 

Usually, they’re pricier than others… 

But they prevent you from frequently paying for cheaper options.

Pro tip: Research says dogs prefer new objects. But that doesn’t mean you always have to buy them new things. In fact, 2 or 3 toys will do. Simply switch between those few toys every once in a while, so Fido doesn’t notice.

Also, why not show your creative side and work on DIY dog toys?

Here’s a video with 5 simple DIY projects for you to try:

#10: Don’t spend too much on dog clothing and accessories

Fashion is your pup’s least concern.

Moreover, some pups don’t like being covered in clothing.

So, follow your dog’s lead…

Starting now, avoid spending so much on dog clothing and accessories.

Because when it comes to garments…

Your pooch only needs weather-appropriate clothing. 

For example, if your dog’s fur is thin, they’ll need a coat during winter.

Or if it’s rainy, a cute raincoat won’t hurt as well.

Other than that, your pooch will be fine to come as they are.

#11: Choose the nearest vet clinic

If you follow this tip, you can save less on gas money.

Or totally get rid of that expense for vet visits…

Because you can walk from your home to the nearest clinic.

“Is that recommended?”


In fact, walking your pup before a vet visit can shake off their nervous energy.

Which makes them well-behaved during the check-up.

The only time I don’t advise it is when:

  • Your dog is lethargic and low in energy.
  • Your pooch is due for a fecal or urine sample.
  • Fido has an injury or illness involving their limbs.

#12: Skip the doggy daycare

AKC says there was an increase in dog parents who availed of doggy daycares. 

From 22% of fur parents, it became 28%.

However, I won’t recommend you jump on that bandwagon. 

Because full-day sessions could cost $12 to $38. 

Now, doggy daycares are for looking after your pooch. As well as canine socialization.

And as I mentioned in #5, you can ask a loved one to take care of Fido.

Then, to keep your pup socialized…

You can bring them to the park instead.

Fido can meet and play with fellow canines there for free.

#13: Be creative when it comes to pet-proofing

Did you know that the average cost of pet-proofing a house is $300 to $1000?

It’s that expensive because it’s a huge responsibility as a dog parent.

And actually, it’s already one way to save on future dog expenses. 

But it shouldn’t cost you so much…

Most pet-proofing requires you to stash away chemicals and medications… 

And that should cost you close to nothing.

Moreover, you can be creative in limiting your dog’s range.

For example, instead of getting those overly-marketed pet enclosures…

You can easily rearrange your furniture to make barriers.

And it can also be a way to hide wires and electrical outlets.

#14: Look for better medication resources

To save money on dog medications…

You have to invest a little time in researching better resources.

Look for locally-owned shops or pharmacies.

Their prices are usually below the average market charges.

Moreover, check out sites like 1-800-PetMeds.

They’re an accredited pet pharmacy that offers medications for a low price…

Plus, you can save more by buying bundles. 

As well as using coupons and getting rebates.

Note: 1-800-PetMeds also handles online prescriptions. You just have to provide them with your dog and vet’s info. Which they’ll verify before sending you your order. 

#15: Make use of loyalty club memberships

If you’ve been going to the same pet store (or you plan to)…

Chances are, they have a rewards club.

So, don’t hesitate to ask around or invest time researching.

And although the store might charge you a few bucks at first…

Being an active and loyal member could benefit your wallet.

With your membership, you can make use of discounts. Or avail of exclusive promotions.

#16: Regularly brush your dog’s teeth

Regularly Brush Your Dog's Teeth

When you don’t brush your dog’s teeth at least once or twice a day…

You neglect their dental care.

And one day, that’ll sneak up on your poor doggo.

In the form of an abscessed tooth or other dental issues.

Which will cost you about $300 to $700 to treat.

#17: Spay or neuter them ASAP

Expenses for this procedure lie between $35 to $500. 

But that sum will help you save a lot in the future.

So don’t skip spaying or neutering your canine.

Or else you’ll deal with a pooch with problematic behaviors.

Which can lead to frequent vet visits or special dog training.

Moreover, castrating a dog during their adulthood might cost you more money.

5 expensive mistakes when trying to save money on dog costs

#1: Not going to the vet regularly

As a thrifty dog parent, this is where you must draw the line.

Because any illness is best diagnosed and treated early.

Even though you might spend money on tests and medications…

It’ll be nothing compared to when you choose to neglect your doggo’s health.

Because worse cases of an illness mean higher vet bills.

Most of all, you’re risking Fido’s life.

Remember that a healthy pooch generally needs at least 2 vet check-ups yearly.

Moreover, keep an active vet emergency hotline on your phone.

So if you notice any signs of illness on your doggo…

Contact a vet and arrange a visit ASAP. 

#2: Splurging on expensive dog food

The number 1 thing you’re going to spend on is dog food.

That’s why you must be wise when it comes to buying it.

Now, a canine’s dietary needs depend on factors like:

  • Age.
  • Breed.
  • Health status.

And AKC says the best dog food is up to you. 

But my general rule as a frugal and responsible dog parent is:

Buy the best dog food that works for your pooch and your budget.

So if you can choose between: 

A pricey but nutritious dog food and an affordable but equally healthy one…

Go for the latter.

Pro tip: Always ask for a vet’s opinion when choosing dog food. Don’t hesitate to tell them about your budget. Because they certainly have recommendations fit for you and your pup. 

For further reading: 17 Worst Dog Food Brands (Avoid #3 At All Times)

#3: Spending too much on services

To recall:

You can save on dog grooming by learning how to do it yourself.

Then, you can also avoid spending on kenneling and dog sitting. Which is by asking your friends or family to do it.

However, those choices aren’t always available…

That’s why you’ll still avail of dog services.

And some dog parents end up spending too much on them when needed.

Despite already saving up for a while.

To avoid that, I swear by this practice:

Take time to find an equally dependable but affordable option. 

#4: Not investing in your dog’s safety 

As you learned in tip #13, pet-proofing your house costs a lot.

And I suggested you get creative on rearranging to save money from it. 

However, I recommend not skimping on aspects you can’t work around.

Because, in the end, it’s an incredible investment for Fido’s safety.

Apart from that, here are others you must put money into:

  • Durable dog carriers.
  • High-quality collars and leashes.

#5: Not getting dog insurance

When you’re about to take a pooch home…

You’ll have to prepare for so many things. 

From paying for their papers…

To lining up their vaccinations…

And buying their necessities.

That’s why some frugal fur parents skip 1 of the most important things:

Getting dog insurance.

The average cost for it is $50 per month. 

And although that seems like a significant bill from your paycheck…

It’s more thrifty to pay for it.

Rather than get billed hundreds to thousands of dollars when your pooch gets sick.