8 Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners

8 Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CheckYourPetFood #CollectiveBias

I don't know about you, but I am and always will be a dog person. I love the companionship and sense of responsibility that comes with owning a pet and I've always noticed that each dog I've ever owned has had their own personality and quirks. Dogs truly love those that care for them unconditionally. The best part of my day is coming home after work and being greeted by my dog, Oakley. Seeing the way his tail wags brings an instant smile to my face. I can't imagine my life without my dog and I feel so lucky that my husband and I have such a great pet to take care of. 

Aside from having a furry best friend/family member, owning a dog requires a financial commitment. You'll be responsible for buying various pet products over the course of your dog's life to ensure that they live comfortably and remain healthy. This year, my husband and I are working toward being more mindful with money and monitoring our spending. We want to stick to a budget and see how much we can save. One of the biggest parts of our new endeavor is finding products that provide great value and fit within our lifestyle. When we were assessing our spending habits from 2017, we noticed that we spent a lot of money on Oakley. Between buying dog food and other supplies, we spared no expense (or so it seems).

Now that’s it’s 2018, we’re reeling in our spending and making better choices when it comes to caring for our dog. We're figuring out ways to cut costs without compromising quality because we want what's best for our dog, but we also want to get the best value, too. I wanted to share some tips that my husband and I have adopted this year to cut down on our pet care expenses, so read on to see how you can save. 

1. Skip the trip to the groomer and bathe your dog at home
While going to the groomer is convenient, spending money to have someone bathe and brush your dog is an expense you can avoid if you have the ability to do those tasks at home. Luckily, my husband and I are able to wash Oakley at home. We use shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for dogs and make sure that we protect our dog’s eyes and ears as we work the products into a foamy lather. In the summer months, we clean Oakley’s coat using the garden hose. It’s a great way for him to cool off on a hot day and being able to wash him outdoors results in minimal clean up. After each bath we make sure to brush through our pup’s coat to remove any loose hair.

2. Invest in a set of nail clippers and trim your dog’s nails at home
There’s nothing worse than getting your wood floors or the walls and doors of your home scratched up or damaged because your dog’s nails are too long. Keeping your dogs nails trimmed is important because if they grow too long, they can become painful or make walking around a bit awkward and challenging. We clip Oakley’s toenails at home and he doesn’t mind it one bit. At first, he was a bit confused because he didn’t understand why we needed to hold onto his paw for so long, but now he’s completely comfortable with the idea of getting manicures at home.

3. Buy dog food with quality ingredients, like Purina® Dog Chow and Purina® Beneful®
We’ve had Oakley ever since he was a puppy and when it was time to start feeding him adult food, we weren’t sure where to start. Oakley used to eat expensive food that was only available at specific pet stores. After looking at our budget and seeing how much we were spending on his food alone, we were shocked. Plus, driving to the pet store just to pick up one bag of dog food was super inconvenient.

While I was growing up, my parents fed all of our family dogs Dog Chow so when it was time to swap out Oakley’s expensive food with one that fit our budget better, I knew that Dog Chow would be the perfect pick. We love to purchase Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken in the 18.5 lb bag. In addition to having real American-raised chicken as an ingredient, it has 23 vitamins and minerals. Right now, my local Meijer is carrying 20 lb bags of Dog Chow, so I get 1.5 lbs free! During my most recent shopping trip, I also noticed a $2 coupon that was right on the bag so I definitely took advantage of that.

Another brand that Oakley loves is Purina® Beneful®. When it comes to Beneful, we buy the 31.1 lb bag of Beneful Originals with Real Chicken. This food is a blend of real chicken, carrots, tomatoes and avocados. These ingredients provide a great variety of flavors and Oakley really enjoys the taste. Real Meat at the Right Price...what more could you or your dog ask for?

Want to know the best place to find Dog Chow and Beneful products? Your local Meijer! Meijer has always been my go-to store for groceries, but now it's so much more than that. I know that when I'm filling my cart with my weekly essentials, I can swing over to the dog food aisle and find both Dog Chow and Beneful. Buying these brands makes me feel good because I know that they're better for Oakley and my budget. Shopping is so much easier when I can pick up the items I need for Oakley in one trip rather than running around to tons of different places.

When selecting dog food, you should always look at the ingredients and see if the food contains real meat or if its grain free. Doing this exercise can be pretty eye-opening. It can even feel like a reality check. If you see that your dog's food doesn't contain quality ingredients, you should definitely consider doing what I did and make the switch to Dog Chow or Beneful. Your dog and your wallet will thank you! My wallet has definitely thanked me for all the savings on dog food so far this year. 

4. Keep your dog food fresh by storing it in an airtight container
We learned the hard way that storing dog food out in the open can cause it to go bad quickly. When dog food is exposed to air and humidity, it can become contaminated by bacteria which could make your dog sick. To keep Oakley’s food fresh, dry and pest-free, we store it in an airtight container. The container that we purchased holds one full 31.1 lb bag of dog food and it has a circular lid that screws on and off. When we’re ready to feed Oakley, we just take off the lid, scoop out his food and then seal the container back up. The best part about airtight containers are that they can fit in almost any space around the house including under the sink, in a closet or against a wall.

5. Visit the vet for regular checkups
Don’t you just wish that dogs could talk so they could tell you if they’re ever feeling hurt or sick? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so it’s important to visit the vet regularly and to stay up-to-date on shots and vaccines. If your dog is due for a shot or vaccine, your vet visit may cost a little more money than normal, but it’s worth spending the money up front than having your dog get sick down the road. Your vet will be able to check your dog’s vitals and determine whether they’re suffering from any infections or illnesses in addition to any physical injuries.  

 6. Use coupons, apps or store loyalty programs like mPerks to save on pet products
I am a firm believer in using coupons and apps to save money at the store. Why pay full price if you can shave off a dollar here and a dollar there just by clipping a coupon or saving an offer to your phone? One of the things that I love about shopping at Meijer is using mPerks. If you have a smartphone, it's so easy to download the app and start saving. You just find coupons by searching for the product you're looking for or the brand name.

Right now, you can take advantage of a current mPerk offer and save on Dog Chow and Beneful from 2/4 to 3/3. For Dog Chow, you can get $1 off a 32 lb bag or smaller and for Beneful, you can save $1 on any size product. Do yourself a favor and snag these coupons now!

7. Make your own dog toys
These days there are so many dog toys to choose from! Oakley has an assortment of balls, bones, rope toys and squeaky toys. He plays with these store-bought toys occasionally, but he also loves his homemade toys. When I have a pair of socks that gets a hole in them, I’ll wash them and then tie the socks together so Oakley and I can play tug of war. I also love to repurpose old water bottles and create toys by using fabric to conceal the bottle. Oakley enjoys toys that make noise, so water bottle toys are right up his alley. With any toy, make sure that you supervise your pet when they play. 

8. Walk your dog and get some exercise
Paying for a dog walker or a dog walking service can add up quickly. Why not spend time with your pup and get some exercise while you’re at it? Before my husband and I got married, he paid for a dog walker to come over and take Oakley out and about a few times a week. I told my husband that he could save so much money if he just walked Oakley himself and after thinking about it, he agreed and canceled the dog walking service. Making sure your dog gets an adequate amount of exercise is important for their health and well-being. Plus, it provides a way for you to get some exercise in as well.  

Caring for your dog doesn’t have to be costly! So, here’s my challenge to you: take a look at everything you spend your money on when it comes to pet care and see if you can identify any opportunities to save. My first recommendation is to look at the dog food you’re feeding your pet and determine whether it fits into your budget and provides the right amount of nutrition for your dog.

By following the 8 steps outlined above, you'll be on your way to saving money on dog-related expenses in no time! 

Do you own a dog? If so, what are some ways that you save money on pet care? I'd love to hear, so share your thoughts with me in the comment section below!