In today’s current climate we are all on tighter budgets than we have ever been on before and if you are like me, we are looking to cut costs wherever we can, right?
I have recently looked at my budget and the ways I maybe able to save some money on what I spend for my dog’s while keeping them happy and most importantly healthy.
In this budget pet care review, I am going to help you with this, so let us look at some things you could consider when it comes to your 4-legged pal.
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Cheaper Dog Food
With all the different brands available, and each brand saying theirs is the best, and so many opinions when you do a search on the internet, it can be a little confusing as to what is really the right food to be feeding Fido.
When it comes to my dog, I always make sure that they are being fed a balanced and nutritional meal which will always consist of the following.
I will do this one of two ways.
Firstly, I do a lot of home cooked meals for my dog’s, so I ensure the ingredients I am putting in cover the above essentials.
Secondly if I am buying store bought food whether online or from my local pet supplier, I will always look to ensure that it says COMPLETE somewhere within the labeling and that is its approved by our local food standards agency.
This now means that I know all my dog’s nutritional requirements are met.
Please remember to leave your dog fresh water out every time.
Sometimes I think because we love our dog’s so much, we get a little fixated on what we think our dog’s opinion might be when we drop his bowl of food in front of him.
Are they thinking, surely you do not expect me to eat this do you?
Dogs are by nature scavengers so if they are walking around with that ‘I have food in my belly” feeling they are going to be one happy doggy!
What I really want you to remember as part of this budget pet care review is that buying the most expensive and highly advertised dog food on the market, does not necessarily mean you are getting the best food available for your dog.
As I said earlier if your dog’s meal is COMPLETE, they are getting everything they need to be happy and healthy!
One thing my dog’s love, and I am sure they speak for all dog’s are treats!
Just because you are on a budget does not mean to say your dog’s need to go without. Carrots are a great treat for your dog’s, and I go to my local supermarket and pick up a bulk bag which is a lot cheaper than a lot of the pet treats on the market. I also know these are going to be a healthy treat.
Because, 75% of my dog’s food is home-cooked I always buy in bulk.
Please have a read of my article, To Make Dog Food at Home where I discuss some things you must know when it comes to cost, and the benefits it gives to your 4-legged friend.
Vet Bills Assistance for Your Dogs
At sometime in your dog’s life, you may be faced with an emergency, hopefully not but dog’s being dog’s it is a possibility.
If this happens always speak with your vet to see if they can arrange a payment plan to pay off your bill rather than one large payment. Vets are in the business of helping your dog’s and would much rather give you this option than to see your poor dog suffer.
What I would strongly suggest is taking out Pet Insurance.
If possible, pet insurance should be taken out when they are puppies, firstly because the premium will be a lot cheaper and secondly all ailments will be fully covered because there will be no history of previous conditions.
Your pet insurance will also cover your dog’s’ vaccinations which are particularly important for your dog’s health and well-being, along with annual check-ups, worming and flea treatment, along with an array of other things which will be laid out in your insurance policy.
I am not sure about other countries, but here in Australia we have policies starting as low as AUD$5 per week, or as I like to think of it, 1 less coffee for me!
You could also do what my sister does. She has what she calls a pet account which she puts a few dollars a week in, and this helps to cover any unforeseen vet costs, she calls it Mila Insurance (The name of her dog).
Vaccinations – Are They Really That Important?
Just like humans, a dog’s yearly health checks and vaccinations is the best thing you can do to make sure they have every chance of fighting and protecting themselves from common diseases.
Making sure you get this done will be a budget saver in the long run, because if you do not and your dog becomes extremely ill, guess what? You are going to have to take time off work to care for them and taking time off work means we are not getting paid.
Now, if you are the owner of a puppy, and if you only take one thing from this Budget Pet care Review, I really need you to understand the importance of having your get there initial vaccinations.
One of the biggest killers in puppies as described in Wikipedia, is Canine Parvovirus so having your puppy vaccinated is the best start in life you can give your little bundle of fun memories ahead. Great thing is, if you have pet insurance this will be covered.
Another tip I will give you is to shop around when it comes to getting vaccinations as you will save yourself a lot of money. Different vets will charge different amounts.
I tested this by ringing 4 different vets in my area (Pert, Western Australia) and they ranged between AUD$85.00 to AUD$173, As you can see that is a lot of money to be save just by making a few phone calls.
Will Fixing My Dog Save Me Money?
As a registered breeder of Mastiffs, I can tell you having a litter of puppies is not a cheap exercise.
Once you add up the food bills, the vet bills, setting up a whelping box and living, not to mention the damage they can do to the house and garden the cost soon builds up.
Now after reading this, imagine having a litter of puppies that you were not expecting!
Fixing your dog or neutering as it is commonly known is the best thing to make sure no surprise litters come your way. It will also help to lower two types of diseases seen in dog’s which is prostate disease in male dog’s and what is known as a uterine infection in female dog’s.
If your dog gets either one of these diseases it could be a costly exercise in treating them, especially if you have decided against getting pet insurance, and a lot more expensive than the cost to get them fixed.
Again, I made some calls to another few vets in the area and the costs again varied for castration (Male Dogs) and spaying (Female Dogs), ranging between AUD$210 to AUD$730 for spaying and AUD$$185 to AUD$600 for castration.
It always pays to shop around for vet pricing as you will save money.
What can I Do to Lower the Risks Of Trips To The Vet?
My Dogs Weight
As humans if we are overweight it normally leads to health concerns and as such more and more trips to the doctors.
For dog’s being overweight, you guessed it, it means more trips to the vet, and this then leads to more vet bills, and it has now thrown your budget pet care plans out of the window.
Fatty Poombahs as I lovingly used to call my black Labrador Narla before putting her on a strict diet are likely to get some following.
- Arthritis – This is sped up because of the extra weight they are carrying.
- Heart problems
- Problems with the liver and its functions
- Becoming out of breath
As the old saying goes “Prevention is Better Than Cure” so by feeding your dog’s a well-balanced and complete food diet along with regular exercise will drastically reduce your visits to the vet.
Please have a read of an article I did recently on The Best Dog Nutrition – For Healthy Dogs where I outline what foods are good and which foods to avoid.
Do you get in a head spin when it comes to knowing how much to feed your dog?
There are so many factors to take into consideration, which is why I wrote an article explain exactly this which you are more than welcome to have a look at.
The article is on raw feeding, however I do cover how much your dog should be fed, how often they should be fed, and what level of activity are they at.
The article, Raw Dog Food Feeding Guide – A Starters Guide explains all of this with an easy to understand table and information guide.
In my work I have seen most pet owners love giving there dog’s treats!
What I want you to remember is that treats are for training purposes only and should always be a healthy alternative, not a part of your dog’s regular diet.
What does this mean? Pet treats bought from the supermarket and pet stores can be expensive, so if you cut these out when money is a little short your bank balance will thank you. If training with treats remember to take out the amount of treats, they have had for the day from there main meal.
I cannot emphasize enough how important exercise is.
Not only is it good for us it is also great for our dog’s, and it costs nothing! It is a great mental stimulation and just like humans will ensure they live a longer and healthier life and again reduce any unwanted visits to the vet.
Depending on the breed and the size of your dog the amount and type of exercise will vary which is covered in my article Raw Dog Food Feeding guide as mentioned before.
Along with the body it is also especially important to keep the dog’s mind active and healthy which is why I will now and again make what I call “The Wrecka Package” which is simply a cardboard box filled to the brim with bits of torn paper, an empty egg carton with some of there favorite treats (Carrots) buried in the middle along with some more tasty treats scattered throughout the paper. I then close the box, place it in a room that I do not mind them making a mess in and let them go for it! This is a great mental and physical workout for them and some great FREE entertainment for you.
One important thing if you are reading this and have a puppy, is not to over exercise them.
Puppies in there early years have growing bones, so you should be starting with short gentle exercise and slowly increasing this week by week as they grow, to avoid any long-term problems which could lead to regular and costly vet bills as they grow older.
Should I Be Brushing My Dogs Teeth?
Imagine the state of your mouth, not to mention the bad breath if you did not brush your teeth regularly?
Not brushing a dog’s teeth or giving them some kind of oral hygiene chew can lead to some serious problems with your dog’s teeth and gums, and if left can cause gingivitis and gum disease with the treatment of both these being another costly trip to your vet.
To make sure a visit to the doggy dentist is avoided make sure to either brush your dog’s teeth every day or give them the oral hygiene chews. I use Dentastix along with there brushing routine and I have never had any issues with my dog’s teeth and gum health. You can speak with a vet in your area/country to see what oral hygiene chews they recommend.
Do all this, to keep your dog’s’ mouth in the best possible condition and you will be saving yourself more money, and if you are like me giving your dog those kisses, they love will be a pleasure!
Do I Need To Give My Dog A Flea Or Worm Treatment?
I have always given all my dog’s a regular flea and worm treatment as it gives me peace of mind that they are protected against all parasites that could lead to some serious health risks, and the fact I know they are comfortable.
The more protection you have against this the less likely you will have to take them to the vet.
I am not a vet so it would be advisable to speak with your local vet about different flea treatment and one that also works against ticks.
While the best of the best treatments for the above will be prescribed by a vet, I have always had my dog’s on the cheaper, safe and in my opinion just as effective brands that don’t require a vet’s prescription, and they are.
These 3 do not cover lung worm so you would need to talk to your vet on treatment for this.
With regard to the tick treatment, if you are not in an area known for ticks or do not exercise your dog’s in known areas for them, you could save money by removing this from there regular treatment.
Checks You Should Be Doing Daily
Again, the old saying “Prevention is Better Than Cure” is highlighted when you do the daily checks on your dog.
Things I do every day for my dog’s and the clients’ dog’s I work with are.
- Checking the health of there gums and teeth.
- Lifting there ears to check for dirt or redness and making sure to give them a clean as required. A bad odor from a dog’s ear usually means an infection which will lead to a visit to the vet.
- Loss of fur.
- I always run my hands over a dog’s coat to check for any unusual lumps and bumps
- Lift each paw and check for any cuts. Remember they are forever walking around as we humans like to call it barefoot!
Budget Pet Care Is Possible
I sincerely hope you enjoyed our, Budget Pet Care Review and how easy it is to save money when it comes to the health and happiness of your best friend.
Prevention really is better than cure and if you follow these principles, you will save money.
Vet bills are the most expensive aspect of owning a dog and if we can do all we can to reduce those visits then that is money we are saving.
If you have any more questions on this or would like to leave your own personal tips or advice on Budget Pet care, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond to them as soon as possible.
May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair.
Founder of our Dogs World 101