Saving money is so important. Having a large-breed dog costs can definitely add up. Here are some tips to help you keep those costs down.
Do the Grooming Yourself
It’s not an easy task to bathe a mastiff that hates water, but spending $50 for someone else to give her a bath isn’t ideal. Bathe your dog at home or find a facility that offers self-serve dog baths, which cost less than having a full-service groom. This is a great way to save a few dollars. If your dog’s breed requires more than bathing consider purchasing clippers and learning how to groom them yourself. It may take time and practice but is well worth the savings.
Skip the Expensive Treats
We love to spoil our pup, but dog treats can become a big expense. Many of those high-cost treats aren’t healthy for them either! Treats are great for rewards, so you definitely don’t want to skip them altogether. Consider making your own treats. There are many resources out there. Or use fruits and vegetables! (Though please be aware of those that may be dangerous to your pup like grapes and avocados.)
Take Them With You
Boarding costs can be extremely expensive. When you add on the “extras” like play time, treats, etc. costs can rise into hundreds of dollars for a week away! Because we don’t want the bare minimum for our dogs it’s expected to add some “extras” during their stay. Hiring a pet sitter can be just as costly as rates have risen over the past couple of years.
So what are we to do?
If you’re not able to have friends or family members care for your dog while you’re away – take them with you! There are many pet friendly hotels, and some don’t even charge extra to include your pet. We have stayed in multiple hotels with our mastiff at no extra cost!
Having been a dog trainer I often heard that most dog owners don’t take a training class or hire a trainer because of the cost. If you are unable to train them at home as well as provide proper socialization they may receive through a group training class you may find the costs of NOT having training far exceed the costs of training. Destroyed furniture, walls, carpet, yard, garden, etc. can be costly to replace.
If your dog isn’t socialized properly they may react negatively toward other dogs – or even other people, which can result in financial consequences (fines, court fees, etc.) – not to mention consequences beyond the financial consequences. So although training is an investment up front it is a money saver long term.
Keep Them Healthy
This may seem obvious, but it really is an important point. Make sure your dog visits the vet regularly for check-ups and is on preventive treatments for fleas and heart worms. Should they get fleas or heart worms due to not being on preventive treatment the costs to treat them can be steep. Many think of flea treatment as just a bath, spray, and/or collar, but you would actually need to treat your entire home and possibly even your yard. Costs definitely add up quickly. Heart worm treatment is very costly. It can cost over $1000 if you have a large-breed dog.
Beyond vet care and preventive treatment make sure your dog is eating well, getting plenty of water, and gets exercise regularly. These are all important to maintaining good health. Make sure when purchasing dog food you read ingredients carefully. This is an area where cheaper is not better. In fact, it can be far worse.
I actually suggest spending a little more for a high quality food because it will not only help them maintain better health, but they will eat less because it has more nutrients instead of fillers. My rule of thumb is – if corn is in the first five ingredients it is not a quality dog food as corn is a filler. They will eat more (and go to the bathroom more). So you may feel like you’re saving money by buying the less expensive food, but you’d do better to buy a food with better quality so your dog is healthier and happier.
Do you have any frugal dog tips you’d like to share?