When household income drops for whatever reason, adjustments have to be made in all areas of the budget. If you share your life with a dog, the cost of caring for it definitely affects your budget. There are several things you can do to reduce the financial requirement of pet ownership without being a neglectful owner.
Dogs are like children in that there is no way to protect them 100% of the time. Accidents do happen even when the best precautions are taken. However, keeping your home and yard in pet safe condition can greatly reduce the chances of an accident occurring that could lead to large bills at veterinarian office.
Feeding Your Dog
You want your dog to be healthy and one of the best ways to assure that is to feed them good quality dog food.
My dogs love doggie treats and I love to give them treats. However, those treats can be expensive. When trimming my budget, I started sharing some of my fruits and vegetables with them as treats. You need to do some research to find out what foods you should and should not feed your dog. My dogs love to chew on a carrot just as much as they do a prepackaged dog treat. They also like apple slices and chunks of banana. Celery sticks aren't quite as popular as a treat unless I spread a little peanut butter on them. I agree with them on that issue. Tidbits of boiled or grilled chicken or pieces of salmon are very special treats for them.
My dogs helped me find another very inexpensive treat for them. They have always made a dive for an ice cube if I dropped it. I decided to make the ice cubes a little more special, so that they really would be a reward. I started freezing diluted beef, chicken, or vegetable broth. This way I can control the size of the cube so that the smaller dog has some that are more her size while the larger dogs crunch on the full size cubes.
Toys for Your Dog
There is no reason to spend money on toys for your dog. They can be very happy with something you make for them. When we have worn holes in our socks or a shirt is too small or too worn to wear, we put them in a special bag that is reserved for items to make dog toys out of. Sock toys are a favorite with our dogs. Yard sales are a good place to find items that can be converted into toys for your dog.
Old pillowcases, towels, pillow shams, or tee shirts can be used to make pillows for your dog. Your dog won't even mind if your sewing skills aren't very good.
Grooming Your Dog
Grooming your dog yourself will save you money. If you get a puppy, you need to start at an early age with trimming their nails, cleaning their teeth and ears, and bathing them. They will accept this as part of their regular routine. If you adopt an adult dog or if you are not in the habit of doing your own dog grooming, you may have to exercise some patience to make this a pleasant experience for both you and your dog. One area you definitely should not skimp on when caring for your dog is flea and tick control. The cost of preventing flea infestation is far less than the cost of trying to eradicate them.
There's nothing as wonderful as the love and companionship of a dog. They love you no matter what your financial situation may be. The greatest way to reward your dog for their loyalty and love is to spend time with them, play with them, hug them and love them like they love you.
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