6 Top Tips for Living with Dogs on a Budget
By Samantha Randall, podcaster, blogger and editor at Top Dog Tips
I had lost my job and was working part-time to make ends meet until I could find another career position. I didn’t know what to do to help my family pay the bills that continued to pile up. If you’ve been in a similar situation, you’ll understand the importance of finding a way to live with dogs on a tight budget.
No matter how difficult it is to pull through the hard times, you simply can’t get rid of your fur-babies! So, it is time to buckle down and put yourself (and your dogs) on a budget. Here are my 6 tips to prevent your dogs from breaking the bank. Remember, the family who saves together, stays together.
- Share Food – No, not you eating the dog’s food! While it is generally not good to give dogs table food, you can give them food that will not harm them. Dogs are actually omnivores, so they can eat a lot of the same foods you can. Just make sure the food you feed them is not spicy and is low in preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Also remember that there are foods dogs should never eat. Do not feed your dogs these things: chocolate, avocados, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, milk, cheese, macadamia nuts, candy, artificial sweeteners, yeast dough, bones, fruit pits, fruit seeds or raw meat and eggs.
As long as you steer clear of these foods, there is no reason you can’t cut costs by sharing meals with your fur-baby.
- Share Shampoo – Some dog shampoo is more expensive than people shampoo. What to do? You can get baby shampoo and share with your dog. As long as you are not using flea shampoo as your only means of treating your pet for those parasites, there is no reason you can’t save money by using baby shampoo.
Dogs are fine with people shampoo as long as it isn’t harsh. The mildest shampoo out there is baby shampoo, so pamper yourself and your pet with gentle, no-tears, sweet smelling baby shampoo. Just remember that unless you’re a baby yourself, you should never use your own shampoo on your dog.
- Walk More – Does your four-legged friend go through pet toys like there is no tomorrow? Take him for more walks to cut the cost of buying new dog toys on a weekly basis. A tired dog is a happy dog. If you walk Fido more or play fetch with a stick in the yard, it is a cheaper way of amusing him than by buying expensive rubber toys, ropes, and plushies that are often destroyed within a couple of days.
- Get a Doggy Door – This small expense will save you money in the long run especially if you are a do-it-yourselfer. If you live where your dog is safe to go in and out whenever he wants, you save. No more money on dog walkers, pee pads or an abundance of cleaning supplies.
- Cut Out the Treats – Unless your dog is still in training and you use treats as rewards, you can cut out the dog treats. When you are back on your feet, you can always go back to feeding treats to grow that special bond that comes with giving your dog something he loves. If your dog is in training, try the famous clicker method instead of using treats.
- Walk Dogs – Maybe you don’t have a yard or you rent your house and you can’t install that doggy door. If you have to walk your dog, you might as well earn a few dollars by walking the neighbor’s dogs as well.
Don’t be shy! Knock on some doors and see if anyone needs a dog walker temporarily. You never know, someone could be sick or going on vacation and could really use someone to help out. You might try putting up a flyer at your local grocery store. During this financial crisis, put your pet ownership to work for you!
These are just a few suggestions to help you through a rough time in your life. Don’t limit yourself to these ideas. Get creative! Sit down and think of a few more ways you can get your budget in the green and still care for your four-legged friend.