How to Save Money on Your Dog Expenses

Dog lying on pile of money.
Caring for a dog can get expensive but there are ways to save.

Getty Images/Jamie Grill

It's no surprise that caring for a dog can get expensive but there are several ways you can cut costs without compromising on the level of care you provide for your pooch. A little planning ahead can end up saving you a lot in the future.

  • 01 of 05

    Pet Insurance

    Dachshund looking at camera being held by a man.
    Pet insurance can help pay for unexpected veterinary bills.

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    Pet insurance is often cheaper than you may think (averaging around $20 a month) and is something that most dog owners don't consider until it's too late. Most pet insurers work very differently from human health insurance companies in that they reimburse you instead of paying the hospital directly. So while you may have to pay the bill initially, you will get most of that money back quickly.

    Insurance can save you a lot of money if you aren't planning and actively saving for an unexpected emergency surgery or major hospitalization for your dog.

    It's always best to get pet insurance for your dog while it is young and healthy. This will provide you with the least expensive plan and you won't have to worry about any pre-existing issues not being covered.

    Puppies are also most often the culprits for emergency surgery to remove a foreign object after it was ingested, so getting your new dog insured right away will be to your advantage.

    Several different pet insurance companies exist and they allow you to create a plan that fits your needs and budget with different deductibles, reimbursement percentages, and coverage options.

    Many employers now even offer discounts for pet insurance making it even more affordable. Pet insurance takes the pain out of having to decide what you can afford when your dog needs something and instead lets you focus on getting it the care it needs without the trauma to your pocketbook.

  • 02 of 05

    Coupons, Rebates, and Sales

    Coupons, especially when combined with a sale, can save you a lot.

    Getty Images/mphillips007

    It may seem obvious to some, but many dog foods, treats, supplements, and even medications offer regular coupons and rebates. Some online ordering services also have discounts if you sign up for auto-ship and many stores offer sales on different foods and treats pretty regularly.

    Sign up for e-newsletters from your favorite dog product companies, check out their websites for downloadable coupons, follow them on social media, and contact their customer service departments to nicely ask if they have any coupons or rebates.

    Sometimes products are actually cheaper to buy direct from your veterinarian or their online store due to manufacturer rebates that aren't offered from other retailers, so take these into consideration as well.

    Stock up on products if you get multiple coupons or rebates (if they allow it) and during sales, while also taking into consideration the expiration dates of the items you are purchasing.

  • 03 of 05

    At Home Grooming

    Dog nail trim up close.
    Some dogs get aggressive during nail trims because they are fearful, anxious, or stressed.

     Getty Images/Quasarphoto

    If you have a dog you should know how to brush its fur, bathe it, clean its ears, brush its teeth, and trim its nails. Your veterinarian and other hospital staff, your breeder, rescue group, or dog trainer can all help you choose the right equipment for your individual dog and help you get started with these tasks. Online videos are also available to provide tips on how to safely perform these tasks.

    Getting your dog used to these things while they are still a puppy will also be easier than if they are an adult, but that doesn't mean you can't groom your own dog at home even if they are grown and you've never tried it before.

  • 04 of 05

    Human Pharmacies

    Yellow labrador retriever resting head on ground next to pill drams.
    There are a handful of seizure medications that a dog may be prescribed for seizures.

    Getty Images/David Young-Wolff

    If your dog has been prescribed medication and you don't need to start it immediately, ask the pharmacy where you get your own prescriptions filled. Not all pet medications can be purchased from a human pharmacy and sometimes your dog can't wait if it is sick, but if it is on chronic medications, such as medicine for osteoarthritis, it doesn't hurt to compare prices. Larger chain pharmacies are more likely to have some of these veterinary medications but smaller, local ones may too.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Regular Vet Care

    Doberman Pinscher being examined by a vet with a stethoscope.
    Doberman Pinschers are considered to be an at risk breed for developing vitiligo.

    Getty Images/BraunS

    Nothing can replace regular, preventative veterinary care for your dog. Your veterinarian may discover issues before they become a big problem and be able to nip them in the bud before they require major treatment, hospitalization, or even surgery. This can save you a lot of money over the lifetime of your dog and help to keep them healthy and happy. At a minimum, your dog should see the vet at least once a year and as it reaches its senior years, biannual visits are recommended.

When you don't have to worry as much about what it costs to care for your dog, you can both enjoy life a little more.