Being a dog owner is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Dogs provide us with companionship, love, and security. They quickly become part of the family. But before you run out and adopt a furry friend, it’s important to be aware of the costs of dog ownership. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, you’ll likely spend over $1,000 in the first year of dog ownership. With that in mind, here are a few budgeting tips for new dog owners.
1. Start By Doing Your Research
Before you get a dog, it’s important to do your research and understand the costs of dog ownership. This will help you decide what type of dog is right for you and your budget. There are many breeds of dogs, each with different needs in terms of food, medical care, and exercise. Some breeds are also more expensive than others. For example, purebred dogs typically cost more than mixed breeds. Doing your research will also help you budget for one-time expenses, such as buying a dog bed, a crate, and toys.
2. Identify Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to identify which expenses are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves. For example, food and medical care are must-haves, while dog toys and designer dog collars are nice-to-haves.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may need to make some sacrifices regarding the “extras” you can afford – but don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to save money on your dog-related expenses. For example, you can sign up for a pet insurance policy to help offset the costs of unexpected medical bills. And there are also plenty of ways to entertain your dog without spending a lot of money, such as going for walks, playing fetch, and teaching them tricks.
3. Invest in Preventive Care
Investing in preventive care is one of the best ways to save money on your dog-related expenses. This includes spaying or neutering your dog, vaccinations, and preventing obesity. This is important because, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, as of 2018, approximately 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.
Obesity can lead to several health problems in dogs, such as joint problems, diabetes, and respiratory issues. By investing in preventive care, you can help your dog stay healthy and avoid costly medical bills later on.
4. Pet-Proof Your Home
Pet-proofing your home is another way to save money on your dog-related expenses. This includes things like buying chew toys for your dog, which can help prevent them from chewing on furniture or other household items. It also means locking away anything that could be harmful to your dogs, such as cleaning supplies or medications. By taking these precautions, you can help avoid costly vet bills down the road.
Also, make sure your lawn is ready for your pet. Given that, in 2018, Americans spent about $47.8 billion on their gardens and lawns, it’s important to ensure that your pet doesn’t damage your lawn. You can do this by creating a designated area for them to play in or by fencing off certain areas of your yard.
5. Buy In Bulk
Another way to save money on pet-related expenses is to buy in bulk. This includes things like food, treats, and toys. Many pet stores offer discounts when you purchase items in bulk, so it’s worth checking out their deals before making your final purchase. Additionally, you can also sign up for a subscription service that offers discounts on pet supplies. This can be a great way to save money if you plan on being a long-time pet owner.
By following these budgeting tips, you can help make sure that you are prepared for the financial responsibility of owning a dog.