This guest post is kindly written by the lovely LadyJaney.

Who would have thought pets could be so expensive? Especially if you have a privilegedpup like mine who is very much spoilt as an ‘only child.’ It’s just so difficult to resist that little face! But……… he’s now 5 year old Labradoodle and over the years I’ve picked up a trick or two to save money and be a thrifty dog owner whilst at the same time keeping privilegedpup aka Barney in the comfort to which he has become accustomed.

Treats

There are so many different types of treats for dogs; everything from chicken cubes to meaty twists and gravy bones and each with a varying price tag. Barney dearly loves them all and would be happy to graze on them all day but what I discovered after years of trying new treats is that his most favourite is carrot! That’s it, just plain carrot. He also loves a tiny bit of cheese. In comparison to the cost of the pre packed treats, it’s just a few pence for some carrot or cheese. Job done! Both raw and cooked carrots are fine for dogs to eat and make a lovely thrifty nutritious treat. It’s advised to cut them into bite-sized chunks to avoid choking especially in smaller dogs.

Toys

I’ve always needed strong and durable toys for Barney who destroys anything less within minutes. This makes it very hard to pick up anything with a frugal price tag. To save money, I use reward card points for Sainsburys and Pets at Home, which I have built up anyway by just doing my usual shop and use them towards any suitable toys that catch my eye. I’ve also discovered that Barney’s favourite toy is actually a good old-fashioned tennis ball and with a neighbour as a very keen player, we always have ample supplies of free ones! Now all I need to do is to get Barney to understand that the game is Fetch and not Finders Keepers!

Doggy Daycare

I try not to leave Barney too long on his own as he’s a real people dog and loves company. Doggy daycare can be an expensive job depending on how often it’s needed. When looking for someone to take care of Barney, I put the word out among friends and friends of friends. As a result, he now spends time with his second family every time I go out or away PLUS it’s a lot cheaper and he’s a lot happier. In the absence of willing friends and family, there are sites such as borrowmydoggy.com where people who can’t have a full-time pet of their own want to ‘borrow’ your pet. It’s a good way to save money whilst having peace of mind that your pet is being taken care of by another animal lover.

Shop savvy!

Make sure you do your homework when purchasing for your pooch especially with higher value ticket items. Check out price matches and compare products across pet stores for the best options and sales. Crates and dog beds can also be sourced cheaper from online retailers or via pet-related Facebook selling sites and online selling platforms. Please do be aware though that animals for sale ads have been banned on Facebook so if you see any, please just report them. Finally, it’s not just for purchases where you can make some thrifty savings, as taking the time to shop around for pet insurance just as you would do with home and car insurance, can reap financial rewards. It’s also worth contacting the provider direct to see if you can get a better deal and barter with existing companies when renewing.

Train your dog yourself

Youtube is a Godsend for dog training. There’s a wealth of information on there with everything from dog walking tips to stimulating games and cool tricks. You can also pick up second-hand training books on Ebay for next to nothing. Failing that, there are some excellent television programmes, where experts offer some pawfect advice when your pooch is misbehaving. One such example is the Dogfather himself Graeme Hall whose programmes Dogs Behaving Badly and Dogs Behaving Very Badly contains lots of top tips for dealing with any unwanted behaviours. Invaluable advice for free!

Create a puppy budget

Last but not least, creating a monthly budget plan for your four-legged friend can help you and your bank balance by tracking each and every expense. That way, you’ll know when you can splash out on new purchases and when you need to put some pennies away and save up instead. It’s a good idea to record all pet-related expenses separately in a spreadsheet. You’ll be surprised where your money goes and can budget accordingly.

Privilegedpup and I hope you find these tips useful!