Owning a dog is certainly fulfilling. And even though they pay you in endless licks and love, make no mistake, dogs can be expensive. Even rescues cost money because as the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a FREE pet!”

From vet bills to food, the yearly costs of owning a four-legged friend can get a little out of hand. For those dog lovers looking to save a few bucks while keeping your furry friend happy, these tips are for you!

1. Make your own treats!

There are simple DIYs on how to make dog treats online. One recipe that has worked for us in the past is freezing Pumpkin Puree. Yes, that is right, just purchase one can of the substance at your local grocery store. After doing so, take an old ice tray and place the puree into the squares. Freeze it overnight and you will have approximately 12 treats. Perfect to cool your dog down after a long day at the park!

"Not ready for Monday" writes @_wand_wand #dogsofinstagram

72.9k Likes, 384 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""Not ready for Monday" writes @_wand_wand #dogsofinstagram"


2. Complete physicals

This may sound a little silly, but we recommend planning complete physicals with the veterinarian once a year. As Vet Street reports, by requesting a complete physical, it will be the most cost-effective way to catch an illness before it gets worse. In the appointment, your vet will do a full blood work panel as well as conduct other diagnostic tests in order to catch any condition.

"When you're torn between wanting to be both a hippie and a princess, you tie your headscarf as a big bow and only lie down on your personal rag rug while out in nature" writes @chiathechihuahua #dogsofinstagram

44.7k Likes, 535 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""When you're torn between wanting to be both a hippie and a princess, you tie your headscarf as a..."


3. Don’t go crazy with toys!

We know it’s hard not to purchase toys all the time for your pet. However, they only need around 3 to 4 favorite squeakers to keep around the house. If they have more than that, hide them in a place where they cannot see them. Once a toy becomes ruined or damaged, switch the toys! And make sure they’re not using your socks and underwear as chew toys…that can be dangerous and surgery can be really expensive!

"When that Claritin kicks in!" writes @jones_the_aussie #dogsofinstagram

70.3k Likes, 463 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""When that Claritin kicks in!" writes @jones_the_aussie #dogsofinstagram"


4. Brush your dog’s teeth

Yes, this may make you a crazy dog lady, but it will save you money in the long run. As reported by the Huffington Post, “a professional tooth cleaning and extractions can easily cost close to $1,000, and as your dog gets older you might have to do it every year.” Yikes, brush those pearly whites!

"It's Archie's very first Spring, and he's loving all of the new smells!" writes @ilovearchie #dogsofinstagram

65.7k Likes, 256 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""It's Archie's very first Spring, and he's loving all of the new smells!" writes @ilovearchie..."


5. Create a budget

For most people, there is a set number that one can spend on a pet per month. Vet Street recommends keeping track of your expenses so that you know where your dough is going. You will be much more mindful once you see the numbers.

"Let's play ⚽️!" writes @billy_spoodle #dogsofinstagram

55.5k Likes, 415 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""Let's play ⚽️!" writes @billy_spoodle #dogsofinstagram"


6. Be your dog’s personal groomer!

Sending your dog to the groomer can cost a lot of money! Instead, And Then We Saved recommends, “purchasing a bottle of pet shampoo and a pet comb”. If your pet sheds or plays outside a lot, taking on this task will definitely save you in the long run.

"Grab your backpacks, it's time for a day hike!" writes @brussels.sprout #dogsofinstagram

76.6k Likes, 1,202 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""Grab your backpacks, it's time for a day hike!" writes @brussels.sprout #dogsofinstagram"


7. Skip pet insurance

It is becoming a popular item for Americans to purchase pet insurance. Yes, it will help to protect you against hefty vet bills, but can cost you a per month fee. Depending on the animal, U.S. News reports that a “plan can range from $10 a month for limited accident coverage to $50 per month covering illnesses and accidents.” But, read the fine print before purchasing. Often times, customers can be better off with an investment “in a high-interest savings account.”

"Life's a beach" writes @kodee_kleekai #dogsofinstagram

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8. Buy secondhand items

Does your dog need a new food bowl? Sometimes local thrift stores will have these items for a quarter of the price of pet stores. Plus, you’re reusing someone else’s goods will ultimately be good for the environment!

"Flash flying into Monday" writes @franciscas__photography_ #dogsofinstagram

90.9k Likes, 717 Comments - DogsOf (@dogsofinstagram) on Instagram: ""Flash flying into Monday" writes @franciscas__photography_ #dogsofinstagram"


9. Neuter or Spay at the ASPCA

If your dog needs to be neuter or spayed, it can cost less going to the ASPCA. Learn vest states that a local vet quoted them $800 for a small puppy. On the other hand, the ASPCA told them that it would only cost $100 for this procedure. We recommend searching around for different prices before you book your dog’s procedure.



Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp.