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Frugal Tips for the Pet Pooch

As a few of you know, my husband and I share our home with dogs – a 13 year old Dachshund, Miss Doxie, and an 8 year old Pug, Mr. Pug. I say “share” because I don’t see anyone saying they “own” Miss Doxie…she is almost cat-like, I swear.

Thanks to major allergies, Mr. Pug is already a pretty expensive pet, so we do cut back where we can as long as it keeps everyone happy. Here are a few frugal tips I can suggest for your pet pooch.

Dog Tip#1 – Doggy Treats

I know that dog treats can easily add up if you are buying $5 bags every couple of weeks. I realized that our dogs were going just as nuts for a dropped ice cube as they did for a liver-flavored whatever.

So now, I am a big fan of using frozen green beans to make our dogs flip out. They’re healthier, cheaper, and we have them around all of the time anyway. Any frozen green vegetable works – broccoli, spinach clumps, lima beans, etc. Mr. BFS and I just like green beans better, so that’s what we have in the house. It works for us.

The point is that you probably do not need to buy doggy treats to keep your puppies happy. There are a bunch of cheaper and healthier options.

Dog Tip #2 – Doggy Beds

We splurged on a few doggy beds in our time, but soon realized that a $25 doggy bed that lasts a year is actually way more expensive than a $5 bed pillow that lasts 2-3 years. Go figure, right? Seriously though, our dogs curl up the same way on either fluffy thing. From here on out, it’s basic bed pillows for our pups. I have found the best deals at Sam’s Club or even Target – 2 or even 3 pillows for $10 and our dogs are set for a few years.

Dog Tip #3 – Doggy Bowls

Take it from a dog-owning veteran, your dog doesn’t care if his/her water dish is shaped like a T-bone or not. Our dogs drink the same amount from a shallow serving dish as they do from a shallow doggy bowl. This realization saved us from splurging on a bunch of dog-related items that are inherently 3 times more expensive than their human counterparts. $3 fleece throws from Big Lots work just as great as a $20 fleece blanket with paw prints on it from Petsmart. Trust me, the dog doesn’t care.

What other frugal pet tips can you think of? Come on, help a girl out! :-)

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22 comments to Frugal Tips for the Pet Pooch

  • Our boxer’s bed is a cut-up piece flakati rug that was going to be tossed, now recycled into a doggy bed. She likes it well enough. The other rug pieces are stored in the attic, eventually to be deployed as the present one wears out.

  • We have cats but many of the same rules apply. I actually do buy them cat treats but we usually find coupons so that a bag (which lasts 2-4 weeks) costs between zero and fifty cents.

    We had little beds for them but the one cat revolted and peed all over his one time, so now they get blankets to rest on (or under depending on their mood)

    As far as a water dish, I have a huge plastic white dish that gets changed out regularly. I had smaller dishes for them but the one cat thought it was ‘fun’ to tip it over and spill out all the water. He’s older now so I doubt he would even do that anymore but it still works as is!

  • Max

    I never thought about using vegetables for treats. That is a great idea! Thanks for the insight! You know I thought Hoover was weird because he likes pickles and lettuce and all that, but I guess other dogs to as well.

  • My old dog used to love ice cubes. Definitely the cheapest treat ever. Although humorous when guests would come over to our house for the first time and Dainty would hear the ice machine and come running. “No wait, you are supposed to give one to me!”

  • My dog loved carrots and cheerios too. They are also cheap and healthy. He just passed away in May. I still miss him so much.

  • Melissa

    My cat goes absolutely bananas for the scrap pieces of fleece leftover from making a quilt. I don’t know why anyone would pay for a special pet blanket when an entire yard of fleece can be had for only $5. And they even have paw print fabric!

  • I bought Frankie a $10 bed from Walmart. Our vet suggested veggies, and we have a bag of baby carrots so I’ll definitely let him think it’s a treat since there’s no way I can eat them all. He also loves my Snuggie and fleece throw so I’ve donated them to him.

  • You should try experimenting with using praise to treat your dogs; if you can eliminate treats, then you’ve saved even more from your pet budget! I keep some treats around for my dog for training aids since I use positive reinforcement training techniques (dog does what is requested, dog gets a reward!). I’ve found that my dog responds just as well to praise as she does treats now, so the treats are given out only as a very special reinforcement.

  • Buy gift cards online for the stores you buy your food from. I just talked about how much I save for my cat on my blog.

  • It is so funny how we as pet owners think we have to give our dogs the best and that they actually KNOW the difference. We have bought into the lie of marketing! We give personification to our pets that are totally inaccurate. Great tips–my girlfriend’s dog eats practically anything…doggy treats definitely don’t have to come from a $5 bag.

  • JT

    Along with number three, my dogs don’t seem to notice that their outside bowl is nothing more than an empty 1-gallon plastic container of ice cream. It’s perfect in that it’s large enough to hold a lot of water, and cheap (free) enough that it doesn’t matter what happens to it, which dog kicks it, etc.

  • Carrots and ice cubes – dogs are simple. :-)

    @Linda, I do belive in the value of praise as well, but my Pug is on Prednizone, a steroid that makes him very hungry all of the time, so we “treat” both our dogs with quite a few vegetables.

    @Melissa, I honestly forgot about just buying fleece by the yard…great tip!

    @JT, our outside bowl is a pan we were throwing out… :-)

    @Ginger, buying giftcards online is a great money-saving tip for anything including pet food, thanks!

  • @Jenna, hahaha.

    @Money Beagle, with your name, I was surprised you only own cats. :-)

    @101 Centavos, scrap rug is awesome!

    @Max, veggies are great! My Pug is allergic to meat, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn, so we are very happy that he loves fruits and veggies or he’d be dead…

    @Miss T, I am so sorry. Miss Doxie is getting up there and I can only imagine…

    @20 and Engaged, today it’s your Snuggie and tomorrow the whole house belongs to him, lol.

    @Jon, yep, they are not picky eaters. :-)

  • Do you have frequent pillow swaps because of the allergies for your pug?

    What is your pug allergic to?

    I used to think mine was food, but now I’m starting to think it’s just everything in general :)

    I use towels to cover the doggy beds and then wash the towels so the doggy bed lasts a bit longer.

  • I live close to a “pet spa” and every time I drive home, I see their signs advertising services like “Free Paw Treatment with Purchase of Blueberry Facial!” It makes me laugh and reminds me of how much some people spend on their dogs, when all Fido really wants is some food and love.

  • I really enjoy target for pet supplies. They are a great deal.

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