With the spring air finally making its way through the blustery winter gusts, many people have already moved into puppy season mode. Spring is one of the most popular times for baby animals to be in the market, may it be in pet stores, the classifieds or in your local animal shelters. However, getting a new puppy can be a very pricey thing. Luckily, there are many ways you can cut back on the price and care of the new addition to your family. This season, you may finally be able to give in to your puppy fever thanks to these amazing tips.
1. Always Adopt
One of the best things you can do for animals, your local economy and the world is to adopt a puppy. Generally, puppies you see in stores are puppy mill animals, which is a terrible practice. You will be spending a lot of money for an animal that may have many issues they have to overcome in their life. You are also funding the puppy mills even more if you wind up buying their products. Local breeders can also overcharge for their animals and may treat them poorly. Adopting a pet is a great way to show you care and it will also save a life. You may not be able to find the breed of your dreams, but the animal you choose will quickly fall in love with you. During puppy season, many shelters often hold puppy fairs, which allow locals to pick out pets for a lower price, if not free. This usually occurs when the shelter is overfull, so keep an eye out for local events or simply go to a shelter to see if there’s a match for you.
2. Think Before Adoption
Although adoption is a great option when you want to bring a puppy or older dog into the home, you still need to think it over before you do so. One of the first questions you need to answer is, “Am I ready?” If you have the time ,money, space and ability to take care of a puppy then you’re good to go. If not, then maybe put this plan on the back burner for a while. You should also consider the type of animal you can care for. Take into consideration the size of your home and yard when you think about the dog you plan to adopt. You can also consider the type of coat you can deal with. If you have allergies, then this might be a big issue. Also, you should consider how much time you have to brush and bathe your dog. Another thing to look into is the health of the breed you are bringing home. Some breeds can have major problems that you will need to care for throughout their lives, so if you don’t have the money for vet bills and treatments then this shouldn’t be an option for you. You can find basic health information on each breed online with ease and the shelter might have knowledge to share before you adopt too.
3. Crate Train
A lot of people will spend a small fortune on things to help housebreak their pet. From puppy pads to incentives, you don’t want to go this route if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have a lot of time. One of the best ways to housebreak a dog quickly is to do crate training. Generally, dogs will not use the bathroom where they sleep, thus you won’t have messes all over the place when you first bring your puppy home. As long as you take your pet out after every period of time in the crate, you should be able to form the habit that bathroom time is for the outdoors. You should also keep in mind puppies need to be taken out quite a bit if you want to avoid accidents. So, make sure to consider your dog’s age when crate training, as having your pet hold it for too long can cause physical problems.
4. Consider Obedience Training
Bad habits can be a huge problem when it comes to dogs, which is why you should nip them in the bud as soon as you possibly can. That is why training your dog right away is the best possible answer. Luckily, there are lots of obedience classes to choose from. You may even be able to sign up for one at your local pet store, which will allow you to save even more money. Of course, taking this course with your first pet is always a great idea. Plus, it will allow you to understand the basics of training, so you might not need to take it again. There are lots of free tutorials online too, to help you hone your dog training skills.
Vaccinations are one of the major keys to health for humans and it is equally important for your dogs too. This is especially important when they are puppies, as there are many diseases that puppies can not bounce back from. Vaccinations tend to not be priced high and many adoption dogs come with their first set of vaccinations already taken care of. Generally, vets will include these shots in your pet’s yearly checkup. If you aren’t crazy about the prices your vet office offers, there are many vaccination clinics across the nation. You can even pick up some of the vaccinations at feed stores, so you can administer them for even cheaper. You will have to check with state laws to see which states you can legally administer though, as many do not allow rabies to be administered at home.
6. DIY Accessories
It is very easy to spend a small fortune on your pet, especially when it comes to their accessories. Everything from pet beds to treats and toys can be made with your own hands too. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on these toys. You can have fun with your pet with a homemade knotted rope that will help them use their teeth to prevent chewing. Treats can be made with peanut butter and a lot of other ingredients you have lying around the house. Best of all, you can even make your own shampoo. This is perfect for dogs that tend to have drier skin and need oatmeal to ease their pain. There are numerous tutorials for all of this online, so make sure to search what you’re looking to make and have fun with the results.
7. Secure Yard
You might be surprised how hazardous your yard can be. Before you bring home a puppy, you will need to go over the yard thoroughly. One of the first things you will need to look for is a fence that might be unsecure. Your fence will need to be able to withstand the weight of your dog as many dogs tend to jump against your fence. If you are getting a larger breed, then keep in mind the height of your fence too. You should also look for holes that a dog, especially a puppy, could easily dig through. There are many other potential dangers to look for too. For instance, large sticks or rocks can be swallowed by your dog, which could lead to death or expensive surgeries. Sharp objects from tools, toys or even a shed should be worked on too, as you don’t want your puppy to wind up injured while playing on their own outdoors.
8. Play Time
Your dog is going to need lots of time to play outside and inside. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on toys and whatnot though. Instead, take some time out of your day to go outside and play. Many dogs are happy with a run, a game of rough housing or even just fetch with a stick you find while you’re out. You have to think further than just keeping your dog’s body happy too. It is equally important to work on the mind. Luckily, you can make your own puzzles to keep their mind active. This will ensure you both get to have some fun for less money than you’d spend on a store-bought toy.
Without a doubt, dog food is one of the most expensive items on your pet’s bill. This is especially true if you plan on keeping your dog on a vet approved diet. However, if you want to save money then you can always make your own dog food. Make sure to talk to your vet about diet plans before you do this though, as the vet may be able to give you some pointers based on your pet’s breeds and personal health issues. There are many recipes online to get you started though. Best of all, they won’t cost you a fortune and may even coincide with your family’s meal plan. Of course, if you are planning to buy food then it is important to stick to some of the pricier brands. Read the ingredients before you commit to a brand though, as this will let you know if it’s worth the money. The better quality foods will not only offer more nutrition, but will help prevent your dog from overeating.
10. Shop Sales
Of course, one of the most important things to do is shop sales when you have a pet. Make sure to keep an eye out for sales on food, which is the perfect time to stock up. Of course, you will also see many pet sales on toys, especially after holidays. Your dog won’t mind chewing on a toy Santa in May, so stock up when you can on items that your pet might go through fairly quickly. During the spring, you should be able to find deals on pet sweaters and other cold weather accessories. If you calculate size appropriately, you can stock up on supplies to make next winter a breeze.
Having a puppy can be pretty expensive, but it can also be a lot of fun. These tips will help you find the best way to get through the early days of puppyhood without forcing yourself to spend a small fortune. Before you know it, you’ll be living a frugal life with your new fur baby.