We’re thinking of getting a new dog in the spring. Our current dog is nearly 10, and we know he won’t be around forever, unfortunately. I have always wanted a second dog, but we could never decide on breed, whether our second dog should be hypoallergenic, etc. I was also nervous about the prospect of introducing a new dog to our existing dog, I wasn’t sure how they would get along. Our first dog is a mix breed who we rescued when he was 8 weeks old, and he is a very dominant animal. Fortunately, we had the privilege of babysitting a friend’s dog over Christmas, and it went great. I warned my friend about my dog’s dominance and that I wasn’t sure how they would get along. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well the dogs got along. My husband took them into the woods together, and they romped and played together like nobody’s business. I would like my firstborn doggy to have that companionship all the time. After reading this article on if we can afford a pet, I decided we could, with a few cost-saving tactics in mind. With that being said, we’re looking at our best options for adopting a second dog, and we’re trying to do so in the most cost-effective way.
Breeder vs. adoption
We have toyed with the idea of looking for a specific blend of characteristics in our next dog, such as family-friendly and hypoallergenic. We adopted our first dog from a rescue organization that rescues dogs from local native reserves. A bred dog can be extremely costly, especially if you are looking at one specific breed that might not have a breeder close to your home base. As an example, we were thinking about our second dog being a schnauzer, but the closest breeder to us is a nearly 2 hour drive away. We would be spending money on gas to get to and from the breeder, and if there were any future issues with the dog, it would be costly and a hassle to rectify them due to the distance. A dog from that breeder would cost us approximately $1000. Conversely, there are some amazing rescue groups in our hometown, such as the one we adopted our first dog from. Adoption fees vary from $200-$500, depending on the organization we go with. Most of my friends’ dogs have been adopted too, so we have had lots of good referrals from people. Another option is to buy an older dog from a breeder. These dogs generally have been taken care of from the breeder, but they have had their litters, and are ready to move on to a forever home. We have found those dogs to cost about half the cost of a puppy, and they are already trained. There is also the ethical issue of paying for a bred dog, when there are literally thousands of local animals who need (and deserve) to be adopted. Check out petfinder.com for lots of adoptable animals to choose from!
What to feed your dog
To be honest, before we had kids, we spent a lot of money on dog food. We used to spend upwards of $80-$100 per month on either raw or organic food for our pup. Once our kids came along, though, our finances became strained, and we had to make decision on what to spend our money on. We just didn’t have $100 per month to spend on dog food any longer. We have moved to either President’s choice nutrition first dog food or Costco’s Kirkland brand of dog food. Although they aren’t as nutritionally sound as raw food, they both score a 4 star rating according to Dogfoodadvisor.com. Since the switch, we spend about $30/month on dog food for our pup. He is a large, active dog, so he eats around 4 cups of food per day. Your dog food costs will range based on the size, breed, and activity level of your dog.
Invest in training
The very best item we invested in for our dog was puppy training. Our trainer is amazing, her company is called Awesome Dogs. Although we spent money on this service, it has truly been a long-term investment for us. By properly training your dog you will be saving money on potential longer term issues and problems such as your dog acting out and destroying items in your house. Also, people will be much more likely to volunteer to look after your dog when you go away if your dog is well-trained. You are also lessening the chance of your dog causing potential legal issues for you, such as dog bites, if s/he is trained.
Borrow if you can
Remember that you don’t have to purchase all your pet items first-hand, in fact, you don’t even have to pay for them, if you can help it! Ask around, it’s likely that a friend has a crate you could borrow, and maybe even an old dog bed they no longer use. We lent our friend our dog’s old crate, and it has worked out well for everyone. If you can’t get pet items free, look on kijiji. We recently bought a very large fish tank, which came fully equipped with a stand, filter, light, and everything we could possibly need for our new fish menagerie.
Find a good veterinarian
Finding a good veterinarian is so essential for saving money on your new pet. If you find a good vet who will partner with you in caring for your beloved pet, it’s likely you will save money on your vet bills. For example, by establishing a good relationship with our vet, he was able to give us a few options recently for caring for our dog’s cyst on his neck. We didn’t have thousands to pay for an expensive surgery, so he recommended a topical treatment that worked like a charm, and cost a fraction of what surgery would have cost. Check out this article on reducing your vet bills for more ways to reduce your vet costs.
Pets are expensive, but they are so worth it. Your canine or feline friend will be with you (hopefully) for a long period of time, make wise choices to reduce your costs, but make sure you spend money where you need to. See your vet on a yearly basis, and if you feel comfortable with it, purchase pet insurance for peace of mind.
How do you save costs on your pet costs, Bargainmoosers?
Photo credit: Eva Webster