August 14

DIY: Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Posted by on August 14, 2015 at 7:00 AM

DIY: Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Is it just me or does it seem like the price of dog treats just keeps rising? If you find some spare time, you may want to try this four ingredient recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Treats to spoil your pooch without emptying your wallet. You should even have these ingredients in the house already, so these treats truly are frugal. Keep in mind that the ingredients do include peanut butter, but if you or your pet have allergies then you can easily substitute that ingredient with almond butter or another similar butter. This recipe will create between 23 and 27 cookies. The recipe says 27 but I may have used larger cookie cutters and only ended up with 23 cookies. My dogs love them, and one is a picky eater so that is saying something. Read the rest of this entry »

Moose Rating (5 votes)
July 29

Akoma Dog Products Hound Cooler Was $146 | Now $25 + Free Shipping @ (EXPIRED)

Posted by on July 29, 2015 at 10:19 AM

Akoma Dog Products Hound Cooler Was $146 | Now $25 + Free Shipping @ (EXPIRED)

This is an excellent way to keep your dogs cool during this pretty intense heat wave we have been experiencing. The Akoma Dog Products Hound Cooler from Amazon Canada is on for 83% off the regular price, which leaves you paying just $25. Shipping is even included.

I don’t expect this Akoma Dog Products Hound Cooler to stay at such a low price for long, so if you want to snag it for just $25 instead of $145.75 then I would do so now. This Akoma product is known to effectively cool down your dog, which is so important during hot weather like this. Read the rest of this entry »

Moose Rating (2 votes)
July 26

Save More Money on Your Vet Bill

Posted by on July 26, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Save More Money on Your Vet Bill

Last year, Bargainmoose shared 4 Tips to Save Money on Your Vet Bill, and it focused on preventative care like brushing your dog’s teeth to avoid tooth decay and shopping around with your veterinarian for quotes.  Pets are expensive so you should think twice about whether you can afford a pet before you get one.  However, if you are planning to get a pet, check out this Bargainmoose post on how to save money on a new animal.

This year, my article will focus on another way to save more money on your vet bill, and it is related to the dispensing of medications. Read the rest of this entry »

Moose Rating (5 votes)
July 22

One For Pets Indoor/Outdoor Large Classic Pet Bed Was $162 | Now $45 + Free Shipping @ (EXPIRED)

Posted by on July 22, 2015 at 3:00 PM

One For Pets Indoor/Outdoor Large Classic Pet Bed Was $162 | Now $45 + Free Shipping @ (EXPIRED)

It is hard to find an affordable, quality dog bed for large breed dogs. I have been on the hunt for quite a while, and have had my eyes on the One For Pets Indoor/Outdoor Dog Beds. has the One For Pets Flora Large Indoor/Outdoor Classic Pillow Bed on sale from $161.27 down to just $44.72. Plus, you’ll get free shipping since this item is over $25.

Whether you are looking for a dog bed to use inside the house or out in the yard, you’re not going to find a large pet bed like this for this low of a price. By shopping at you will snag this One For Pets Indoor/Outdoor Large Dog Pet for 71% off their original price. Read the rest of this entry »

Moose Rating (1 votes)
June 10

SPCA Freebie: Free “No Hot Pets” Window Decal

Posted by on June 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM

SPCA Freebie: Free No Hot Pets Window Decal

Tired of seeing people leave their dogs in their car while they shop or go in for a doctor appointment? Spread awareness with a free No Hot Pets window decal from the SPCA. In particular, the Ontario SPCA is giving these window decals away for free, but any Canadian resident can claim theirs. These stickers will be available only while quantities last, so snag yours quick.

It drives me absolutely crazy when people head over to the grocery store and leave their dog in the car. Sure, sometimes grocery shopping may take just 5 minutes if you just need milk and bread. What about those times where you totally get carried away and take an hour or more? While my beloved pooch immensely enjoys car rides, I would never risk leaving him in the car so that I could shop. Do you realize that on a fairly warm day, it would just take 7 minutes for your vehicle to get too hot for your furry friend to survive? Sometimes even with the windows open it can become unbearable for a dog. It is so important to spread awareness about this issue, and that is where the SPCA comes into play.

For a limited time, or while quantities last, you can take the pledge to support the OSPCA and get a free No Hot Pets window decal in the mail. Simply fill out the short and sweet form providing your name and address to claim your freebie. This information literally took me about a minute to enter, and then I received confirmation that my window decal is on the way. You can opt not to receive future updates, but sometimes the SPCA has exclusive offers and discounts at different pet stores, so I always like to stay informed.

There are quite a few retailers that seem to be turning pet friendly lately. This is to encourage people not to leave their pets in the hot car while they shop. tells you about many of the stores that are pet friendly. I was surprised to see that stores like Bass Pro Shop, Holt Renfrew and other high end retailers welcome pets inside their stores. The window decal is another great way to prevent deaths of dogs that are left in the car. Please allow about 4 weeks for your free No Hot Pets window decal to arrive.

(Expiry: Unknown)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
February 21

Walmart Canada: Supergate III On Rollback For Just $20 & Free Shipping

Posted by on February 21, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Walmart Canada: Supergate III On Rollback For Just $20 & Free Shipping

Got a baby, kids or maybe even a dog? Then you need a gate! The Supergate III is currently on rollback at Walmart and can be yours for just $19.88 instead of its usual price of $29.94 — that’s 34% off!

Going, going, gone! That’s exactly how I feel now that my baby is crawling all over the place and cries as soon as I try to keep her entertained within a superyard in the living room. Having her crawling around is definitely great in of itself but sectioning certain areas would help to make my life as a mommy much easier but since I don’t exactly want to shell out loads of money on gates and baby products in general, getting them on rollback is the best way!

The Supergate III is a gate produced by North States in a vanilla colour. It can easily fit openings from 25.5″-42″ wide and is 26″ high.

As for a price comparison, I found this same gate at 2 others stores:

Reviews are largely mixed for it as well. Users either totally love it or totally hate it, so the fact that it’s currently on rollback is definitely a huge advantage, especially if you don’t have the biggest of budgets to spend on a gate. Here’s what a reviewer on Walmart had to say about it:

I bought the Supergate III and I am happy with it.

And here’s another review.

If you are trying to mount it- watch the YouTube video. Instructions are a little confusing. I put this gate up last night and its kinda hard for me to open let alone my kids (its for the dog). It only closes if its in a groove properly which is quite frustrating because my proper length is right in between. Good enough for the price but like others have said..spend the extra money if you can…

The YouTube video in question is the North States Supergate Classic, which clearly demonstrates how to install it.

If you don’t have a car or are just feeling lazy because of the cold and snow outside, then you will be happy that this gate will also be shipped absolutely free. That is a major advantage as getting large items can be a pain sometimes, even with a car.

Moose Rating (2 votes)
February 10

PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Pet Fountain Was $100 | Now $50 + Free Shipping @

Posted by on February 10, 2015 at 10:53 AM

PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Pet Fountain Was $100 | Now $50 + Free Shipping @

Check out the Petsafe Drinkwell Zen Stainless Steel Pet Fountain. This fountain was $100 but now is only $50 @ This item also qualifies for free shipping from Amazon.

In our house, our kitty is a member of the family. He does not get everything he begs us for but we tend to cave when he gives us the right pleading look. Fresh food and water is of course important to have available for our pet. I know we do not always clean his water bowl as fast as we should to ensure his water is fresh.

Check out the PetSafe Drinkwell Zen Stainless Steel Pet Fountain. This bubbler was $100 but is now only $50. This large fountain with a pump should keep that water in your pets bowl moving. Keeping the water moving ensures that the water will be fresh for longer. This bubbling fountain also includes filters to help keep out odours, bad tastes and bacteria.

One of the great features about this pet fountain is the size. This fountain would easily accommodate a larger dog or multiple pets with its 1-gallon capacity of water. All of the pieces, with the exception of the pump, are dishwasher safe. That means this bubbler will have a quick clean up. I have a small basic plastic fountain with no pump for my cat, and the base gets scummy when I leave it alone too long. I end up over the sink scrubbing off that nasty scum. I know that mildew growth is not good for my poor kitty.

I am not seeing many other stainless steel pet fountains on the market at the major retailers.  I found one stainless steel 360 degree fountain at a shop called Ren’s Pets for $89. Ren’s Pets is based out of Ontario and ships all across Canada. has a fountain with a bubbler made of BPA free plastic at $77 that is only available in store but looks to be a similar size. If not having the fountain made of something other than plastic is important to you, also has a stonewear fountain for $99. I also found a larger 360 degree fountain in plastic  at New Egg that could handle multiple pets for $130. I would pick up this fountain from

Reviews overall are mixed on this fountain. The fountain is clocking in at three and a half stars with fourteen people who have rated it on Amazon. Some people love it and say it is a great product. Other reviewers say the pump is a bit noisy and expected to be able to clean this water bowl less often than it calls for. Keep in mind the number of times a week you have to clean the water bowl is impacted by how large your pet is and how many pets you have.

Overall, I would say this is a good deal. Most of the bubbler style fountains with a pump run between $75 to $100. This fountain has the added benefit of a large capacity to accommodate a larger pet or multiple pets. I would try this for my kitty and I only have one pet. Shipping is free with this order on Amazon. Grab it before it is gone and it should be to your house in a snap.

(Expiry: unknown)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
February 3

Canadian Freebie: Free Taster Pack of LifeForce Pet Food and Treats

Posted by on February 3, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Canadian Freebie: Free Taster Pack of LifeForce Pet Food and Treats

Pet lovers, I have another great freebie for you if you have a cat or dog. Click below to grab a free taster pack of LifeForce food and treats for your favourite pet. Samples do not always stay around long, so sign up quick to make sure you grab yours.

My kitty loves treats especially if it has anything to do with turkey or bacon. Sign up now to grab a free taster pack of LifeForce food. This promotion is in partnership with Animal Wellness Magazine. If you are unfamiliar, Animal Wellness Magazine promotes itself as the top natural health magazine for cats and dogs in North America.

Included in the taster pack promotion you will receive:

  • Wholesome Beef Food
  • Beef Super Strip Treat
  • Super Nutrition Nuggets Daily Health Treat

I checked into this promotion a little bit as there is simply not a whole lot of information listed on the webpage where you sign up. LifeForce Pet Health  offers all natural, healthy food and treats for cats and dogs. These products are designed free of all fillers and full of good healthy food for your pet. If you read a little more about their food, it is a raw dehydrated pet food.

The pet food and treats can be given to your pet as is or can also be rehydrated. LifeForce recommends rehydrating the food especially for cats to ensure your pet is not overeating. They also mention because it is a raw product that you should treat this pet food the same way you would any other raw meat and make sure to wash your hands and clean surfaces. They recommend not allowing young children to feed the food to the animals as it is raw, but the treats are perfectly fine for children to handle. My kid would not be digging treats she was not allowed to give to the cat. I am glad those are safe for her to handle also. He can give her his begging for a treat look instead of me.

My neighbors feed their dog a whole foods diet that they cook in the crock-pot every week. I am not sure that I am ready to make the switch to raw food for my cat but I am willing to give it a try for free. If my cat does not dig this sample, it is going to my neighbours house. I received a confirmation email for singing up pretty quickly. Make sure to check your e-mail inbox to make sure you got yours also.

Bargainmoosers have you looked into feeding your pet a raw or dehydrated diet?

(Photo Credit: Little Orange Crow)

(Expiry: Unknown)

Moose Rating (1 votes)
January 31 $16 & Free Shipping For 1st Monthly Pet Treat Box!

Posted by on January 31, 2015 at 5:00 PM $16 & Free Shipping For 1st Monthly Pet Treat Box!

“Treat A Dog” is another one of the monthly subscription boxes, the likes of which we’ve written about here on the past on Bargainmoose. This time, it’s a subscription box for your canine family members, filled with treats and goodies for the doggies. And there’s an offer on your first box – it will be half price, plus it comes with free shipping! This means you can get a box of goodies for your dog for only $16 with free Canadian shipping.

Here’s a quick blurb which shows you what you are getting: $16 & Free Shipping For 1st Monthly Pet Treat Box!

When you are signing up for, you can select the size of your dog, in order to make sure they send you the right type of food and treats for them. Choose from small, medium or large. $16 & Free Shipping For 1st Monthly Pet Treat Box!

If you only want to take advantage of the first box for half price, then you will have to remember to cancel the service once you receive your treats box. You’re signing up to a subscription of pet boxes, but there’s no obligation to keep the service and you can cancel it at any time.

From this review on Subscriptionboxmom, it looks like it is a really nice mix of treats and toys for doggies. Obviously the contents change from month to month, but if you read that review you can get a general idea of what to expect. I think it’s very good value for only $16 with free shipping.

From the website, I think this might be a US company but I cannot tell – they don’t state anything about this on site, in the FAQs. Even so, all that could mean is that the products may ship from the US or Canada, I am not sure which. But as they’re low value anyway, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting hit by any extra customs fees or charges.

Note: I had some trouble with the domain, it was directing me between the dot com and the dot CA on some sort of never-ending loop. It sends you to the right domain depending on what country you are in, but hopefully you won’t have any issues with this!

(Expiry: Unknown)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
June 14

Amazon Canada: Up To 60% Off Snoozer Cozy Cave – Now From $36

Posted by on June 14, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Amazon Canada: Up To 60% Off Snoozer Cozy Cave   Now From $36Get your furry best friend the cave of his/ her dreams and save a pretty penny with Amazon! For a limited time, you can save up to 60% off the Snoozer cozy cave and get it starting from just $35.99.

Available in small, large or extra-large (not available in medium), this cozy animal bed also comes in either khaki, plum or navy. To determine the size your pet needs, it is advisable that you measure carefully, especially since the cave is actually much larger than it appears on the picture.

Prices depend on the size you need. While the small features the highest discount: 60% off at $35.99 (reg. $89.95), the large is 54% off at $45.99 (reg. $99.95) and the extra-large is 55% off at $49.99 (reg. $109.95).

Although I, myself, don’t have a dog, I have seen countless videos on YouTube of dogs pulling the covers over themselves. Cute, for sure, but it also points to the fact that they like to be warm under the covers, just like us and this bed would definitely make it easier! Here’s what one reviewer had to say about it:

We have an almost naked Boston Terrier, we spend half the night covering her up. this bed or “pita pocket”as my daughter named it, is perfect for that cold dog that drives you crazy, make sure to measure because my bed is too big.

Although it might make me sound like a crazy cat lady, I’m really tempted to get this for my cat. I have two cats but one of them really loves coves and has even slept under the covers with me on more than one occasion. She already has a pouch-like bed but doesn’t go into it unless I open it for her, so I’m sure she would love this cave.

Even better is that you don’t have to worry about shipping because Amazon automatically offers free shipping on all orders over $25.

(Expiry: Unknown)

Moose Rating (3 votes)
April 9

Petcetera Canada: $25 Gift Card on $100+ & Inventory Blowout Deals up to 80% Off

Posted by on April 9, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Petcetera Canada: $25 Gift Card on $100+ & Inventory Blowout Deals up to 80% Off

Not only is there are great free gift card deal this week at Petcetera Canada, there is also an inventory blowout sale as well.  You will get a free $25 gift card when you spend $100 or more on almost everything and you can also save up to 80% on items with their inventory blowout sale.

The free gift card will be given on almost all purchases of $100 or more.  It excludes the purchase of gift cards, services or adoptions, but anything else you buy will get you this free gift card. The free gift card has no expiry date and you can use it on any future purchases with absolutely no minimum charge required.

Additionally, I mentioned that there is an inventory blowout sale.  They have deals on up to 80% off right now.

  • Pet fashion 80% off
  • Cat toys 70% off
  • Up to 60% off cat litter
  • Up to 50% off dry cat & dog food
  • Pet life jackets 80% off

I laughed when I saw that they have all pet life jackets on sale for 80% off but I guess they are pretty popular for people that like to go boating. One of the great things about this blowout sale is that you can use any of these items towards the $100 purchase to get the free gift card!

(Expiry: 13th April 2014)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
March 17

Costco Canada: $20 Off PetDek – Now $90 (Was $110)

Posted by on March 17, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Costco Canada: $20 Off PetDek   Now $90 (Was $110)

Do you have a dog or do you often haul stuff in your backseat? Then have a look at the PetDek, especially since Costco currently has a great deal on it. For a limited time, you can save $20 on the PetDek and get it for just $89.99 instead of $109.99.

Dubbed the “A Car Space Pet Place”, the PetDek converts the backseat of any car into a more functional space for either dogs or the transportation of items, such as those pictured on the banner above.

Even at full price, Costco’s price on the PetDek is still much better than its competitors considering both and PetDek‘s own site sells it for $129.95, though the former lists its regular price at $175.43. In fact, here’s what one reviewer had to say about this handy product on Amazon:

I really like my PetDek. It works just as it was stated. very easy to put in and remove. Really saves my leather seats and provides a stable place for my dogs to ride. I have found it handy to have in the back seat during the garden season hauling plants and soil. It does not work in the back of my husbands truck though. He is a tall man and has to have his seat back all the way. That doesn’t allow for the PetDek. Wish it was somehow adjustable for seat width.

For anyone considering this product, I would definitely recommend taking a look at PetDek’s list of advantages. One of the advantages listed is that it can be used in miscellaneous ways, such as for the transportation of baked goods, and I have to admit that I didn’t even think of that but for anyone who bakes or even cooks a lot in their spare time for family gatherings, this would definitely be a great investment! Heck, I could even see myself using this to bring groceries from Costco home since those boxes they provide tend to be too large for my car’s small trunk. Plus, once you’re done with the PetDek, it can easily be folded and stored away.

Shipping is also absolutely free.

(Expiry: 30th March 2014)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
March 2

How To Pick The Right Dog Food For Your Budget

Posted by on March 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Pick The Right Dog Food For Your Budget

I recently wrote an article about saving money on your new animal, and one of the items I wrote about was to consider the type of food you are feeding your dog.  We received lots of commentary about that article.  Bargainmoosers are passionate about their animals, awesome!   We all love our dogs, and we want to provide them with the best possible life.  Food is a huge contributor to that.  It just makes sense that the better you feed your dog, the healthier they *should* be.  Of course there are factors that we can’t control, like some breed-specific physical issues like hip dysplasia in some giant breeds of dogs.   But food is one area we have complete control over.

We have been very fortunate with our dog. He is nearly 10, and he is still very active and healthy.   I have always regularly run with him.   He trained for my half marathon with me last year, and he actually ran 21 kilometres!  Rocky is an amazing dog, and we want him to live a long, long time.  What things should we consider when picking the dog food for our precious pup?


I found an amazing website called Dog food advisor, which has comprehensive ratings of each type of dog food available in Canada.  Foods are listed by type:  hypoallergenic, raw, high carb, low carb, etc.  Talk to your veterinarian to figure out which food is best for your dog, given his/her breed, health, and activity level.  Then you need to consider the cost of each type of food.


I learned through researching this article, that Canada does not regulate pet food that is manufactured in Canada and sold domestically.  What this means to us, the consumer, is we need to do our own research.  Bargainmooser CeeCee told us that there is an organization called Association of American Feed Control Officials, or aafco, which is a voluntary organization designed to regulate the sale of animal food in the U.S.  The good news for us is that there are some foods in Canada which carry the AAFCO label.  Keep your eyes open for this in the pet store, or when you’re conducting online research on the food you are feeding your pup.

What fits with your lifestyle?

Although I’d love to consider feeding my dog a raw diet, I think it would be difficult to fit that into our lifestyle.   I know that lots of people do it successfully; I feel that for my family it isn’t a realistic option given that it requires time in the procurement,  the preparation and storage of the food.  Check out this article from Dog Food Advisor about the benefits and risks of the raw food diet.  I have a co-worker who feeds her dogs the raw food diet, and unfortunately, one of her dogs (a beautiful great dane) passed away because he choked on a bone fragment that got lodged in his trachea.  My friend was beyond sad about the loss of her dog, but she still believes in the benefits of a raw food diet.  She now feeds her 2 dogs a raw food diet, and says that she spends about $200 per month for her food.  Additionally, she has to drive to a nearby city to pick up the food, which is an hour drive, both ways.   If you live in a larger city centre, there is greater certainty that there will be a local raw food supplier.  The costs of raw food will depend on the size of your dog and the growth stage in which s/he is at. For example, my friend feeds both her dogs about a pound and a half of raw food a day: a mix of chicken carcass and veggies and fruits.  Her great dane will continually eat that volume of food, but her puppy’s food amount will decrease as she gets older.  My friend’s costs will then therefore decrease.  There are different forms in which to purchase the raw food.  Some suppliers put the food into “pucks” which are frozen, and you de-thaw and feed your dog the appropriate number of pucks per day.   Maybe it’s easier than I initially thought!


As much as we would each love to feed our dog the best food possible, we also have to be cognizant of our budgets.  Check out as many ratings as possible about the food you are considering, and choose the highest quality food that your budget will allow.  Don’t skimp on food, the better-quality food your dog gets now, the more likely s/he will grow to be healthy and fit in their older age, hopefully reducing your veterinary bills.

Dog food is one of the most expensive parts of owning a dog.  It is an essential part of your dog’s life, and we all want to provide the best of the best for our fur babies.  Do your research, examine your budget, and ensure you choose the best possible food that you can afford.  Don’t forget to ask your friends for referrals of dog food providers, and remember that many pet stores will offer coupons and frequent customer discounts if you ask.

Photo credit: David Yu

Moose Rating (3 votes)
February 24

How To Save Money On A New Animal

Posted by on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM

How To Save Money On A New Animal

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 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  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

Moose Rating (2 votes)
December 10

Can You Afford a Pet?

Posted by on December 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Can You Afford a Pet?

It is the time of year where people want to make others happy by buying them unique gifts. Pets seem to be one of those gifts people think others want. Being a sort of animal activist, I have to stress that getting someone else a pet is not a gift. Unless you absolutely know the pet is wanted, do not get someone else an animal to take care of. This includes your children, who will probably not do the work, so if you aren’t doing the work and paying the expenses, don’t get someone else a pet as a gift. Most shelters and rescue groups will not even adopt animals out before Christmas for the simple reason that they are not a gift that should be returned.

If knowing all this, you have decided a pet is in the cards for your family this Christmas, lets talk about if you can afford a new pet. Animals are expensive, more expensive than you’d think and everyone should be aware of this. I had a friend who was stressing about getting a dog because she thought the asking price was high. I remember telling her that the cost of buying the animal is just a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll spend over the next 10+ years. In eight short years I spend tens of thousands of dollars on a dog I got as a puppy because of the many health issues she had. Are you prepared for that?

Obviously different pets cost different amounts. Maybe you’ve decided you want a pet, but want to find out which is the cheapest.

Fish & Other Swimmers

I say other swimmers here because I have two African Dwarf frogs who swim only. These frogs were a gift from my well-meaning mother, but only for me to find out that they live over 20 years. My kids will be in university before these frogs die and I will still be taking care of them. The cost seemed minimal at first, a small container, a few pellets a day, until I did my research to find out that the frogs needed more. Now while the initial cost of your swimmers/fish will be minimal depending on which ones you buy, there is much more to it.

Initial Cost - $1 – $100s depending on type

Shelter – tanks can be expensive, plus all of the equipment needed. Walmart sells small tanks starting at $40, but you can spend thousands the larger you go. Add in the cost of filters, starting at $15 and needing replacement pads every month. You can also add in rocks and other adornments.

Food - My frogs eat bloodworms, which cost about $5 a month, but you can probably get pellets and other fish food for about $5 a month or less.

Vet bills - Most likely if your fish is sick, you won’t really know it and I don’t know many aquatic vets. If your tank is sick, that’s another story and could cost you upwards of $50 finding solutions to why your tank is acting the way it is.


My son is always asking for a guinea pig, but with frogs, two cats and a dog, I think our home is full enough of animals.

Initial cost - Depending on if you are ok with just a mouse, which you can get for as low as $5 or you want a skinny pig for $75, your cost will vary. You can also check out the humane society, who will often have rodents for adoption for a small fee.

Shelter - You’ll need a cage, a water feeder and a dish plus bedding that will need to be changed frequently. These items will initially run you about $30 and up from there because you’ll also want to give the rodent exercise like a wheel or one of those critter trails. Your starting cost will probably be at least $50 and then about $5 a month for the bedding.

Food - Your rodent can eat items you get from the grocery store or get rodent food, which will probably cost about $20 a month.

Vet bills - This is where it gets tricky. While it is easy to find vets for dogs and cats, small animal vets are harder to find and therefore will probably charge more. You won’t have to go as often as you would with a dog or cat as they don’t have vaccines and general wellness visits, but if something goes wrong, you could be looking at a few hundred dollars minimum for something minor.


My family and I had many a reptile over the years. From bearded dragons to full-size iguanas, we’ve had them. They do make a great pet and are more exotic, but you need to be prepared for their cost.

Initial cost - Again this will vary depending on what kind of reptile you get, as low as $10 to up to $200.

Shelter - You’ll need a cage for your reptile, but you’ll also need heat. Many of these reptiles are cold-blooded and need special lights and/or rocks to lay on or they will die. Add to this the increased hydro bills you’ll be paying to keep their areas well-heated. My family actually built a huge wall cage for our iguanas, and this could save you some money. Check out the Reptile Ranger for instructions to do one yourself. This will not be that cheap with all materials, probably coming in at about $100-$200.

Food - Reptiles eat many different things, like crickets, fresh greens and more. Sometimes you also have to give vitamin drops too. Fresh stuff like this could get expensive, although not anywhere comparable to a dog or cat. Count on $5 a week.

Vet bills - Here you will run into the same problem of having to locate a small animal veterinarian, and your bills could be high if something is wrong.


I’ve had two cats for almost 15 years now and find them to be an enjoyable and easier pet than a dog to take care of. But their bills can add up.

Initial cost - My cats were kittens that I adopted, one with a small fee, one that was free. There are so many homeless cats out there, including kittens, that I don’t get why anyone would pay a certain amount of money for a purebred cat. Cats are not like dogs with certain characteristics based on breed (well I’m sure they somewhat are), but a cat is mostly a cat – similar in size and their temperaments can vary greatly. Adopting a cat or kitten is definitely the most affordable option, with it being anywhere from $20 – $100.

Shelter - Cats are probably the cheapest when it comes to shelter, needing only a litter box, which can cost as low as $2. You can buy a cat a bed, but most times it is almost happier lying in a box.

Food - Generally cats eat cat food, wet and/or dry and cat treats. You can also buy catnip as a treat, which is affordable and you can even grow it yourself. Cat food costs about $20 a month for a good-quality food per cat for dry food.

Vet bills - Vet bills will all depend on the cat’s health throughout his/her life. You will want to vaccinate your cat, especially if it will be going outside, although an indoor cat will need less vaccinations and sometimes people will only give it the Rabies shot if it will never be outside. The Rabies vaccine is about $50 every three years now. The other vaccinations and initial vet visits for a kitten will probably cost about $200 – $300. You should also always sterilize your cat and this cost will depend on the clinic but ranges from $150 to $300.

Other - I had to add other here to cats because my cats haven’t cost me much in terms of vet bills or food, but instead in ruined items. One of my cats has a little bit of urination issue because the dog and the kids stress her out. I’ve had to replace a couch, a mattress and numerous pillows and blankets, plus two wall-to-wall carpets. Obviously this has equalled thousands. Cats are known to ruin items with scratching too, so be prepared for these added expenses. There is a pheromone spray or plug-in called Feliway, that is known to help, and I’ve tried it, but it comes in at about $25 a month or $45 for the can.


I love having a dog and will always have one, but I’m going to say they are the biggest expense of any animal.

Initial cost - If you are looking for a purebred dog, you should not answer ads on kijiji for purebreds for $300. Most times these are backyard breeders who have not done the research into how to breed the animal and are only looking to make a quick buck. This may sound like a great idea at the time, but remember my story about tens of thousands of dollars in vet bills? That’s what happens when you get a dog from an unrepeatable source. Mine was from a pet store where animals are notoriously bred in puppy mills. If you want a purebred you should find a breeder who has a good reputation, or adopt one from an all-breed rescue. In the case of a bred puppy, consider yourself down $1000 – $2000 on the spot. If you’d rather adopt, the fees for that vary but normally come in around $250-$400. Check the CKC for information about what you should look for in a breeder.

Shelter - Dogs need quite a few items in the beginning like a bed (unless you want them on the couch), a leash and collar, a crate and chew toys. Budget yourself at least $200 for these items. Then consider that a puppy or dog with separation anxiety will no doubt chew many of these items and you will have to replace them. My dog wears a special harness so she doesn’t pull and we’ve gone through six of them for various reasons at $30 each.

Food - A good quality food will depend on the size of your dog. My dog is medium-sized and I spend about $40 – $50 a month on her food, plus treats and chew treats.

Vet bills - Just like a cat, a dog will need vaccinations and sterilization. This will be about $500 for the first year then another $100 a year after that or more. Consider getting pet insurance, which varies depending on breed, but is generally about $25 a month or saving a few hundred dollars a year in case of accidents or illness. Many dogs will also need grooming and nail trims, so budget this as well depending on your animal’s fur type. I spend about $10 every two months on nail trims, but you could do it yourself and spend $15 on a nail cutter instead (I’m too nervous).

Other - Dogs are notorious for wrecking things. Just YouTube dogs wrecking stuff and you’ll lots of videos. My dog has eaten a number of toys, shoes, bedding and even my son’s mattress. This stuff sometimes needs to be replaced and sometimes doesn’t, but this cost can add up. You should also consider dog training, which is about $100 for six lessons at somewhere like Petsmart, and goes up from there depending on how far you want to go.

So, Bargainmoosers, had you considered all the expenses that go along with getting a pet?

Photo Credit: Cyberslayer

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