As much as we love our girls, pets (specifically puppies) are expensive! From vet visits, to boarding fees, to buying the right affordable quality dog food, it can be tough to budget for it all. In fact, according to a recent survey, Americans spend an average of $139.80 every month on their dogs—that’s more than $1,500 per year, y’all. Kyle and I may not have puppy parenting completely figured out yet, but we’ve managed to shave quite a bit off of our monthly pet expenses over the past couple months. Even the smallest savings add up, so I wanted to share our tried-and-true tips for saving money on pet care and supplies in today’s post!
1. Buy Dog Food in Bulk
Food is the single largest recurring pet expense. It’s also one most dog owners are hesitant to cut back on—and for good reason. The vitamins and nutrients in your dog’s food play an integral part in maintaining your puppy’s growth and overall health. Fortunately, you can buy affordable quality dog food, like Purina ONE® SMARTBLEND® Lamb & Rice Formula Natural Adult Dog Food, in bulk at Sam’s Club. If you don’t have a membership, seriously, consider joining. Kyle and I have saved hundreds on pet supplies (food, bowls, beds, etc.) in the past year alone. Plus, Sam’s Club members save more than 10% annually ($21!) buying Purina ONE at Sam’s Club!
*Savings calculated by comparing average retail price per pound at leading U.S. retail outlets vs. average per lb. at Sam’s Club. Purchase frequency is based on recommended feeding instructions for average size dog.
If you’re not sure which dog food is right for your pup, talk to your vet. Ours loves Purina One, and their SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Adult Formula has been perfect for transitioning our girls, who have beef and chicken allergies, from puppy to adult food. Not only does it contain real, recognizable ingredients, Nala and Nellie go absolutely crazy for it, and I love knowing that they’re getting all the right nutrients to help them grow into athletic little adults. Since the switch, we’ve seen bright eyes, healthy skin, and shiny coats—three tell-tale signs of happy, healthy pups.
All dogs are different, though, so even if Purina One SmartBlend Lamb & Rice Adult Formula Dry Dog Food isn’t right for your fur baby, all Purina One dry formulas are highly digestible, contain real meat as the #1 ingredient, and offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee. Peruse the pet aisle next time you’re in Sam’s Club; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by both your options and their price tags!
2. Make Your Own Dog Treats
Another easy way to cut food costs is to make your own dog treats! Yes, it takes effort, but it’s cost effective and allows you to monitor exactly what’s going inside your dog. My favorite recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly from All Recipes, calls for 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, 1 can of canned pumpkin, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
To make a batch, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough pliable, but keep in mind that the dough should be dry and stiff. Then, roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll and, using a small circle or bone-shaped cookie cutter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Lastly, bake for 40 minutes or until hard. Store in an airtight container. Easy peasy!
3. Trade Boarding Duties with a Friend
Unfortunately, not every trip you take will be dog-friendly, and from experience, the cost of extended dog boarding can rival summer camp tuition. Ask a friend, family member, or fellow obedience training classmate to trade boarding duties instead. Not only will this save you money, it’ll help socialize your pups when their pets come and stay with you!
4. Invest in Durable Dog Toys
Regardless of your dog’s breed, scrounging for cheap toys won’t end well. They’ll destroy them in days, if not minutes. Destroying a toy doesn’t only ruin the toy itself, your pup can swallow the stuffing and/or pieces, which can lead to pricey (and terrifying) emergency vet visits. Instead, research the best toys for your particular size and breed and invest in toys that’ll last a lifetime.
5. Find the Right Vet
We hit the lottery with ours in Columbia, but there’s no shortage of horror stories about vets upselling, overcharging, and recommending nonessential procedures and products in order to drive a profit. If you’re a new puppy owner, ask your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for personal recommendations. You want a vet you trust completely, not one with a reputation for ripping people off and taking advantage of their clients’ love for their pets.
If you’re a savvy pet parent, what are your tips for saving money on pet care and supplies? I can’t imagine life without my girls. Needless to say, they’re worth every penny, but every little bit definitely helps!
Photography by Catherine Rhodes.