With the ongoing cost of living crisis we are all looking for ways to save cash – including on our beloved pets.
Here are her top tips.
Time is the most important investment
Puppy owners often underestimate the importance of spending time with their puppies. Spending quality time interacting with your pup is one of the best ways to maintain their health. A happy puppy will ultimately be a healthier puppy. In fact, it could even improve your health too! Research concludes that pets help to reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
This can be as simple as giving them a cuddle or playing with them for half an hour. But it should also include structured training, which will help build stronger bonds between dogs and their owners.
Expensive training isn’t always necessary
Many new dog owners avoid structured training for their puppies as they assume it involves expensive coaching sessions. But owners should know that they can also train their dogs themselves from the comfort of their own home. This can start even before the dog is allowed out on walks. Following a well structured training plan at home that also focuses on key lifeskills and not just obedience or tricks, like Zigzag, can help build really strong foundations and prevent potentially undesirable or difficult behaviours in the future.
To lead-train your dog, for example, you can practice walking up and down a hallway or across a room with your puppy at heel without the lead, dropping treats as you go to encourage them to follow. If they walk ahead, drop a treat behind your heel and wait for the puppy to return. Once the pup has mastered that, you can take it outside - it’s as simple and affordable as that!
Price is not always an indicator of quality
Most puppy owners want the best for their dogs. As a result, many choose to feed them with the most expensive food available (even prime steaks!) While this approach is admirable, it’s important to remember that price does not always match quality, and there lots of great foods available at affordable prices. Larger bag sizes are also often cheaper on a per/kg basis, so whilst it may seem counterintuitive to go to a specialist pet store vs a supermarket - most supermarkets can’t do these large bags, so it’s worth shopping around.
DIY and second-hand accessories can work well too
New owners might feel anxious about the cost of all that kit their puppy needs. Toys, beds, cages, and leads from specialist pet shops can all add up to a lot of cash. But there are several ways that puppy owners can avoid this and source kit of better value from unexpected places.
DIY puppy toy ideas are easy to find online. One of my favourites is the sock and ball toy. All you need to do is push a ball (old tennis balls work well) into the end of an old sock and tie a knot above the ball. And there you have a brilliant toy that your puppy will love messing around with.
Also consider shopping around for marketplace deals and 2nd hand shops for used items of bedding and clothing that can be used for your puppy or even 2nd hand beds and puppy playpens. Consider mum and baby sites as often lots of baby items are also suitable for dogs such as baby gates!
Find the best pet insurance deals
Consider using aggregate insurance pages (such as moneysupermarket, comparethemarket, gocompare etc) to find the best possible deal. Make sure you do your research and don’t scrimp on pet insurance as whilst it seems like a large cost – it can save you potentially thousands of pounds in the future on vet bills and medication. Most insurance claims for dogs happen in the dog's first year, so having insurance as a puppy really will save you money in the long-term.