When I first got my Boston Terrier puppy last year I wrote about the costs of raising a puppy. Trust me… if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you shouldn’t buy a puppy. While the average puppy can be expensive, some can be excessively expensive due to allergies or other issues that might arise. To try to save money in the long-term there are five steps you can take to save money on a dog.

Find a good Veterinarian and stick with them
Yelp is a great place to start when searching for a vet for the first time. You want to find the perfect balance between service and price. For our vet, we actually travel over to the shadier side of town. But the vet cares tremendously about our dog and gives us a lot of great deals and freebies. Your loyalty to one vet will not only help to keep your dog healthier because the vet is able to see changes in your pet, but vets will also offer discounts to their loyal customers which will definitely help you save money on a dog.

Get your dog spayed or neutered
Spaying or neutering your dog offers a lot of benefits, to both you and your pet. There are actually a lot of health benefits to spaying and neutering that are unrelated to pregnancy. Spaying your dog greatly reduces that chances of mammary cancer and eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer. Neutering your dog decreases the likelihood of prostate cancer and removes the risk of testicular cancer. Spaying or neutering your dogs will also make them friendlier and less likely to mark their territory. Spaying a female dog will also eliminate her heat cycle.

Don’t purchase pet insurance
As with all insurance, it’s always less expensive to self-insure if you can afford it and the worst-case scenario won’t bankrupt you. The reason for this is simple. Insurance companies pool together money to cover the expenses of all owners i the pool, plus some portion for profit. So unless your dog is unhealthy (which you can’t know before purchasing the insurance), then you’re going to come out ahead by not purchasing pet insurance. For other reasons to stay away, one only needs to read online about people needing to pay way more than expected for their portion of surgeries and having to fight to get reimbursed for “covered” surgeries.

Make DIY homemade dog toys
Purchasing bully sticks for your dog can get expensive quickly, especially if they like to rip through them in 15 minutes. The alternative is dog toys, which should last you quite a bit longer. But sometimes stores don’t have quite what you’re looking for. In these instances, it might make sense for you to make your own dog toys.

Exercise your dog
All animals need exercise to remain healthy, and dogs are no exception. Taking your dog on a jog or walk is great exercise for your pet, and for you. If you’re not much of a runner but you want your dog to be able to run you can ride your bike while your dog runs. Another great way for your dog to get exercise and socialize with other dogs is to take them to a dog park (if you have one near you).

By taking some of these steps now you can not only save money in the long-term, but the time you spend with your pet will also be more enjoyable. Keeping your pet healthy and happy, and your wallet more full, will make a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)