10 Money saving tips for dog owners in the cost of living crisis
With the cost of living going up, the average household is really starting to feel the pinch.
Having a dog makes us feel rich in many ways but is also a great expense. The average cost of owning a dog in the UK totals around £1,875 a year (or more depending on dog size).
Here are 10 money-saving tips from your truly to help you save a little on your dog-related expenses but still spoil, treat and give your pooch a rich fulfilled life. Your dog may actually come out of this feeling richer than ever and you can rest easy knowing you’ve saved some pennies!
Searching for charity shop dog toys. Depending on how much your dog shreds toys this is an excellent option for saving some cash and providing enrichment for dogs! Dogs love to shred and de-stuff toys and giving them an outlet for these natural behaviours will not only save your sofa, but also lead to a calmer happier dog with its needs met. Charity shops are filled with cheap stuffed animals and for safety, you can cut out any plastic eyes. Always watch your dog as they play or shred toys to ensure they are not ingesting anything – we’re looking at you Mr Labrador 😉.
You can even re-use the stuffing to make a snuffle or dig box (cardboard box filled with stuffing and toys for dogs to play in) or bag up the collected stuffing and sell it on eBay to someone who might want cheap stuffing for a sewing endeavour. Win-win!
2. Cover your dog’s ears as we tell you this one but… break those treats into smaller treats. We know it sounds a little mean, but some dog treats are so huge! Did you know that 40% of the UK pet population is overweight, we promise those treats can be smaller! Some can be broken into 3-4 smaller bite-sized pieces and all training treats should ideally be the size of a pea, even for big dogs. Something smelly and high value but small will be far more rewarding than a large dry biscuit for your pup.
3. Bake your own dog treats, honestly! You can make huge batches of delicious healthy homemade dog treats for very little using liver and other offal that is very cheap to buy. We recommend checking out some simple ingredient treat recipes online!
4. On the topic of treats and chews, go to your local butcher and ask if they have any marrow bones or bones (always supervise dogs with bones). These raw meaty bones are excellent for mental stimulation, enrichment and keeping teeth clean. Some butchers will even offer you cut-offs and bones free of charge or for very little. If feeding bones isn’t for you then consider making bone broth with them (a delicious easy to make soup with health benefits that you can add to your dog’s meals).
5. Since we brushed (see what we did there) on the topic of keeping your dog’s teeth clean, dental disease affects most dogs from the age of four. One in every 8 dogs suffers from a dental disease every year. Dental issues in dogs are seldom covered by insurance companies as they are a ‘preventable’ issue and the average cost to clean your dog's teeth is around £233 with extractions costing between £180 to £700 depending on the vet.
How can this save me money I ‘ear you ask? Well, this huge cost is preventable with simple brushings and a good quality dog toothpaste. Daily brushing is best if possible, but at least weekly brushing will greatly reduce build-up and prevent dental disease for your dog thus preventing dental DENTS in your wallet in future!
6. Search the Facebook marketplace for steals or set a budget for dog related spends. We’re looking at you insta dog mums! Are you telling your partner you’ve won another giveaway when secretly you just couldn’t resist that new collar and lead set? Do you really need that harness that you already have in purple in orange just for autumn? If you answered YES then perhaps budgeting is a lost cause for you 😉 but fear not! If you can’t budget your spending or the amount of dog gear you ‘need’ then try out one of the many Facebook ‘swap and sell’ pages dedicated to dog gear (yep, really!). You’ll find not only dog gear but enrichment toys, backpacks, beds and crates frequently popping up! We bagged 6 lickimats for £4 once and a new Ruffwear harness for just £15!
7. Make your own enrichment & tug toys. Enrichment is so important for dogs, but most dogs don’t care about having a shiny new toy to roll about on the floor to dispense treats. You can easily make enrichment toys (or party boxes as we like to call them) with old cereal boxes, Amazon boxes and a few kitchen and loo roll tubes. Just fill the boxes and tubes with treats and squash, fold and roll them closed then let your dog shred them to get the treats inside! You can also use an old towel to scatter treats on and then roll it up or even tie it in knots for dogs that like a challenge. You can recycle an old fleece or buy offcuts from a fabric shop and knot and plait them to create tug toys too!
8. Set your dog up to earn some keep… Wai
t, hear us out! Pets and pet influencers are the largest growing advertising avenue for brands, with some pet influencers earning up to £4,000 per social media post! It’s not about having huge amounts of followers either, smaller accounts with around 1,000 followers can still receive gifted items to review including food, treats toys etc, or even a % off food for life in return for posting (so long as you have a community). An engaged audience follower count doesn’t matter as much as you would think. So how do you become a pet influencer? Check out our ebook here
9. If your dog has a longer coat, make sure you are brushing appropriately to avoid matting. Matted dogs need to be shaved and this will be expensive – and also very uncomfortable for your dog as matting pulls on the skin. You will also save money at the groomers if you can even teach yourself how to groom and save on a few extra trips! You should still visit the groomers for full cuts and trims when needed, but researching and learning to groom will help cut the cost (note that you may need to invest in some equipment).
10. Add steamed veggies to your dog’s meals. It’s no secret that adding vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes or pumpkin has health benefits for dogs, but they can also make meals a little more filling. It also provides an antioxidant boost for all dogs, especially if they’re older or overweight. We recommend replacing 50% of a dog’s kibble with fresh, whole foods.
If feeding raw veggies, they should be finely grated, ground in a blender or food processor, or juiced so the cellulose is broken down. Also snapping up any last-minute end of shelf-life mince that can be gently cooked and shared between their meals will not only make your dog’s food healthier and richer, but help their usual food go that little bit further too.