Before we had kids, my husband and I briefly had a dog. He was the most adorable Maltese puppy, and I think of him sometimes and hope that he’s had a wonderful life. I have no regrets, except that we couldn’t keep him, but he sure did cost us a lot of money. We won’t be getting a dog anytime soon, but if we ever do, I’ll follow these money-saving tips:
1. Save plastic produce bags for walks – I see people with the special rolls of plastic bags designed for dog walkers, and it seems like an unnecessary expense. Plastic produce bags (the kind you bring home apples and oranges in) would serve the same purpose, without any extra cost.
2. Sign up for store and manufacturer loyalty programs – I’ve seen some amazing pet-related deals in my constant search for deals to share with you, and they almost always involve a high-value coupon from a store or manufacturer’s loyalty program. For example, Petco has the Pals Rewards program, which gives you 5% back on your purchases, and sometimes sends out high-value coupons.
3. Keep an eye out for pet-related daily deals – In addition to Doggy Loot, a daily deal site devoted to dog-related products, I’ve seen dog toys, sweaters and other products at daily deal site Zulily.
4. Exercise with the dog – Instead of paying for a gym membership, private classes, or exercise equipment, take the dog on long walks. In the last few years, friends have told me about the areas they take their dog for walks and some of them are miles long, or involve challenging terrain, or both!
5. Buy a dog from a reputable breeder – Due to allergies, we could never rescue a dog from a shelter. But I’d take care to buy a dog from a reputable breeder, because the people I know who’ve purchased dogs from pet stores and, shall we say, somewhat shady breeders have all spent a huge amount of money on veterinary care.
6. Train the dog yourself – There are lots of books and web sites about dog training, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a professional trainer. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.
7. Trade dog-sitting services – If you have friends who have dogs, you might be able to trade dog-care services for out-of-town trips and avoid paying for an expensive kennel stay, or the expense of taking the dog with you on your trip.