We get it, being a dog owner is expensive. Between vet bills, dog food, toys, and boarding (not to mention hoodies, harnesses, and oh-so-adorable accessories), those credit card bills can pile up. But luckily, there are ways to save money as a pet parent without cutting corners.
Today, we're breaking down 10 ways you can save money as a dog owner while still giving your furry family member the best life, like, ever!
10 Money-Saving Tips for Pet Owners
1. Adopt, don't shop.
This is good for your wallet AND good for your pup. When you're considering taking the plunge as a pet parent, look into adopting a dog from a reputable shelter or rescue. There are reputable breeders out there, too, but unfortunately there are still a large number of "puppy mills" in the US. When you're ready to adopt, do your research no matter what -- many rescues will allow you to put in a general application and pet deposit so you can take your time looking for the perfect pup, rather than having to pay a premium to adopt the first dog you find.
2. Buy used supplies when you can.
Kennels, snuggle blankets, bath day towels, and food bowls can all be purchased second-hand. And many toys can too! If your puppy suddenly sprouts long legs and has completely outgrown her kennel, see if you can make a straight swap with another dog owner on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace before you head to the big box pet store. Often, people have exactly what you need listed online, for a fraction of the price!
3. Invest in quality products you'll use forever.
At the same time, be careful not to spend too much on cheap products your dog will shred in a heartbeat. Those dollar-store fluffy toys are cute, but the cost adds up every time your dog rips one of their heads off or discovers that his leash is his new favorite chew. Invest in harnesses, leashes, collars, and more that will actually LAST -- and consider items like brushes, nail clippers, and food bowls that can take a beating, especially if you've got a power chewer in the house.
4. While you're at it, invest in that puppy coupon book.
If you have to shop at a big box store, pay the ten or twenty bucks for a coupon book. We get it, those adoption days are CRAZY, and the impulse to spend your whole paycheck on everything you think your pup could possibly need is a tough one to tamp down! Many big-name pet stores offer a "new puppy" or "new adoption" coupon book that includes discounts on things like food, bedding, toys, treats, and even vet care or boarding services. Most stores charge around $10 to $25 for these booklets, but the savings can go up to $200 or more -- just ask the cashier if you can take a look at the booklet first to see if the savings make sense for you!
5. Shop around for your vet.
Vet care is one of the biggest "uh oh" items for a pet parent's wallet. Instead of going with the first boutique pet hospital you find, do your research before you make that first appointment. Ask your friends for their recommendations, read online reviews, and find the best value for your money. At the same time, the one thing you absolutely SHOULDN'T be stingy on is your pet's healthcare. Prioritize quality care over savings, particularly if your pup deals with issues like allergies, diabetes, or breathing issues.
6. Practice preventative healthcare.
While we're on the subject of healthcare, don't scrimp out on preventative healthcare like heartworm medication, flea/tick preventatives, and dental chews or toothbrushing sessions. While these may feel like an expensive up-front cost (lookin' at you, heartworm chews!), they are designed to keep your pet healthy and safe. And the cost of a monthly preventative medication is small potatoes compared to the lengthy, stressful, and EXPENSIVE action you'd need to take if your pup got sick with any of these preventable conditions.
7. Shop small.
A lot of Mom and Pop shops and women-led businesses (like ours!!) offer top-quality products designed to last a lifetime. While you may be able to find cheaper products in the clearance bins at big pet stores, you'll find that over time, higher quality really does lead to better savings. Plus, a lot of local pet stores have kick-butt loyalty programs to thank their customers for choosing them over their mainstream competitors. When you can, take care of a store that will take care of you. (P.S. The best way to save on your favorite Frenchie products is to sign up for our emails and SMS! That's the first place we announce things like sales, giveaways, new collections, and more.)
8. Learn what your dog likes.
This is another argument for "quality over quantity". We've all made the mistake of buying the entire toy department at the pet store, then discovering our dog is WAY more interested in a cool stick she found in the backyard. Especially if you're a new pet parent, start out with five or six toys to give your dog some variety and find out what she likes. Maybe she loves to snuggle with fluffy critters and gives squeaker toys a wide berth, or maybe she shreds anything with a seam and needs tough nylon toys for a power chewer. Once you know what your dog likes, invest in those toys instead of spending crazy amounts of money on random things she'll play with once and then ignore forever (or destroy). The same goes for things like treats, food, and dental chews -- find out what she actually enjoys so you're not sitting on bags and boxes of unused top-dollar puppy products.
9. Groom at home.
Alongside vet care and boarding, grooming can become one of the most expensive parts of a pet parent's budget. Unless you're lucky enough to own a short-haired breed without much maintenance, odds are good you'll at least be taking your dog in for a nail trim and a bubble bath. When you can, choose to practice basic grooming at home instead of shelling out for professional services. Nail clipping, baths, and quick de-shedding treatments with a brush or a specially-made comb can save you TONS of money over time. This goes into preventative care, too -- matted or super-dirty fur needs professional care, so a simple brush, trim, and wash at home every few weeks or so can greatly reduce or eliminate the need to go to the groomer.
10. Buy in bulk.
This applies to pet food, preventative meds, boarding, you name it! A lot of the time, you can "buy in bulk" for practically anything your dog needs. Ask your preferred boarder or daycare center about their "package" discounts -- if you know your pup has a lot of vacation time coming up, you can save mega bucks by buying a package of overnight credits up front rather than paying full price for every stay. Similarly, you can order dog food, medications, treats, and other must-haves online at larger sizes than you'd find in a pet store or grocery store. While the up-front cost is higher, the unit price is much, much lower -- and the savings stack up over time!
And there you have it! These are 10 easy ways to save money as a dog owner. Now that you've got all that extra cash in your wallet, why not invest in a top-quality harness or two? We've got you covered with our newest styles, like the brand-new CABANA PINK and CABANA GREEN collections.
Enjoy those savings, Frenchie fam! 💸