Depending on the statistic you want to believe, somewhere between 50 & 60% of the nation’s population owns a pet with dogs and cats being by far the most common. Fewer than 40% of our population own at least one dog according to the Humane Society
Animals can be a great addition to the family; I wouldn’t even consider raising my kids without giving them the joy of a dog. Animals can also be very expensive.
Some things cannot be avoided. You will need the basics like a collar and food and water bowls. Overall these types of expenses are minimal compared to the long term ownership costs.
Depending on the size of your dog, food will be a large portion of the costs. Watch out for coupons in the paper and your local stores websites. You should also troll the discount stores like Target, Walmart and Costco.
Based on your community laws you may have to pay for a dog license which will require a battery of shots including vaccinations for distemper, parvo and rabies. You and or your vet may also consider shots for coronavirus, bordatella, or lyme disease. These shots may run from $15.00 – $25.00 or more.
Some things can be avoided. Bathing and nail care are two areas that you can save substantial money. When we bought our yellow labrador, my wife was spending $25 for a bath once or twice a month and up to $12 to have his nails trimmed every couple weeks.
When we started tracking expenses these two charges raised a red flag quickly. It didn’t take long to get a process for bathing nailed down. With two of us working strategically we can get the bath process done in less than 15 minutes in the bath tub.
Trimming nails was a problem initially because of the potential of injuring the dogs quick (the root of the nail containing nerves and blood vessels). We had purchased a pair of clippers but a labrador’s nails are quite thick and proved difficult.
Watching a commercial on TV for Pedipaws we were quickly sold on the idea and ordered one for about $25 with shipping. We found that the machine was underpowered for the purpose and basically ineffective. Goes to show, you get what you pay for!
Interestingly the basic design was not much different than my dremel multi-tool that I used for routing the binding on a homemade guitar.
I attached the rough sanding drum tip that came with the dremel and we gave it a shot. It worked wonderfully. Our dog is a little uncomfortable with the process so I will lay with him while my wife sands off the nail ends.
These two changes to how we care for our dog have saved us over $750 each year! (Shhhh don’t tell my wife, she will use it as an excuse to justify another dog) A Dremel is a little more expensive, ranging in price from about $50 to well over $100 for the corded version which I recommend. The basic version that I linked to has plenty of power and comes with the sanding attachments we use on our dog. The mandrel is the tip that attaches to the tool and it holds the sanding “bands”. You can also purchase the bands from Amazon for less than $.50 each. Using the coarse bands you will find they last a long time. We usually get at least a dozen nail trimmings before we change the band.
There are many other ways to save on pets and their care that I will be looking into in the future. Please share any tips you have by leaving comments below. If they are used in future posts you will receive credit for your contribution and even a link to your website.