This post is in partnership with the dog bark collar store.  All opinions are 100% mine!

When my husband and I first got married I had a husky that I had gotten in college.  I wouldn’t go anywhere without Scuffy and after hubby and I were married, Scuffy became OUR dog.  After we got settled into our new home a little white puppy wandered into our yard and never left.  We named her Bubbles.  When Scuffy and Bubbles crossed over the Rainbow Bridge due to old age, I didn’t want anymore dogs.  I had a hard time coping with the loss of those two dogs and accepting another one into the family just wasn’t what I wanted to do.  But, the hubby and kids overruled me and our next dog was a black Lab we named Shiloh.  We were a one dog family for quite awhile and then hubby brought home Summer and then Scout.  My son had to join in and he brought home Teddy and then Ash.  At one time, we had five dogs!  Summer and Shiloh have both since crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and Phe has now become a part of the family.  I guess what I am getting at is that we seem to have several dogs at all times and because of this, I have had to learn how to be careful with the money.

Having four big dogs isn’t cheap so I have had to be frugal and find ways to stretch the bucks!  Here are some ways that I have used to help cut the costs.


Labs going for a ride

Left to Right:
Shiloh, Scout, Teddy and Summer


Vet Bills

I guess the first lesson I learned and the most important lesson is to keep your dogs vaccinated.  Keeping their vaccinations up-to-date will save you money in the long run.  I learned this the hard way with Bubbles.  When we were first starting out we were dirt poor – and I’m not kidding!  We didn’t have the money to get Bubbles vaccinated so we were waiting until we did.  Long story short, she got sick and I took her to the vet.  Diagnosis:  Parvo.  It ended up costing us way more treating her for the Parvo than if we had just gotten her vaccinated in the first place.  It is important to keep your dogs vaccinated and to keep them on heartworm medicine.

Another lesson learned…if you think something is wrong with your furry friend, don’t doubt yourself, take them to the vet and have them checked out.  Summer, our yellow lab, had stopped eating and I knew something was wrong with her but my husband and our vet kept saying that she would eat when she felt like it.  The dumbest thing I ever did was listen to them.  I should have taken her in immediately but against my better judgement, I didn’t.  Same case scenario as above…if I would have taken her in when I wanted to, we may have spent less money because we would have caught the cancer in its early stages.  Of course, she may have lived longer so we may not have spent less.  I would have rather she lived longer.  What do they say?  Hindsight is better than foresight!

I could probably go on and on about the vet bills, but one last thing that I have done with my vet is trade services.  I tutored his son in Pre-Calculus and College Algebra for 1 1/2 years and I didn’t charge him and he didn’t charge me.  Sometimes I think he probably got the better deal because I tutored his son twice a week all those weeks, but hey…I didn’t have to pay a vet bill during that 1 1/2 years and he is still giving me some good deals.   Call me cheap but with four dogs I’ll take any discounts I can get!  If you have some kind of service you can trade off with your vet, you might ask.  It never hurts to try!


My dogs aren’t dogs that need to be groomed several times a month so I save on grooming costs by giving them baths myself.  I took Scout in to be groomed once and it cost me $60.  I haven’t taken him back since.  Heck, why take him in for a bath when I can do it myself?


Another place to save money is on treats.  Instead of buying expensive treats, it’s cheaper and healthier if you make your own treats.  Easy treats that you don’t have to make and that are cheaper and better for your dogs are carrots, celery and watermelon to name a few.  Instead of buying Frosty Paws, I freeze yogurt in ice cube trays that I have mixed with bananas and peanut butter.  My dogs love it and it is much cheaper than buying frozen treats at the store.  There are a lot of websites and blogs that have recipes for homemade treats if you don’t have any recipes of your own. 

Dog Beds

We just bought a really cool dog bed on Ebay.  Well, we bought it but didn’t pay anything for it.  I don’t do much shopping on Ebay but my husband does, and he gets Ebay points.  We used them to get the dog bed and it didn’t cost us a thing.  Use points or rewards if you can and if you can’t, instead of buying expensive dog beds at PetCo and PetSmart, try using an old comforter.  My dogs love to lay on a comforter that has been folded over several times.  They like it just as much as they like a dog bed that I have spent big bucks on.

Dog Food

My personal opinion is that feeding your dog cheap dog food will only cause more problems for your dog in the long run and will probably end up costing you more money than if you had bought a little more expensive dog food that was better for your dog.  Be careful what kind of dog food you feed your dog.  Use coupons for dog food, but don’t change your dog’s food just because you have a coupon for a different dog food.  Look for coupons for the dog food you are already feeding your dog.  Check online to see if you can get it cheaper and if you buy at PetCo or PetSmart, use their rewards program to save a little bit of money.

Don’t Buy A Pet, Rescue One

It is much cheaper to rescue a dog than to buy one from a dog breeder.  We just adopted a dog from the animal shelter and it cost us a whopping $25!  I know that is cheaper than most animal shelters but it is still cheaper to adopt at most animal shelters than to buy from a breeder.  If you want a purebred dog you can still adopt. There are rescue groups that specialize in purebreds.  Check with the rescues before you buy from a breeder. Our adopted dog is awesome and we couldn’t be happier!  Please check out the shelters and rescues and save a life.

These are just a few of our frugal dog ideas.  We would like to know what you do to save money!  Please leave your ideas in the comment section!


Full Disclosure: We are suppose to receive a dog bowl for writing this post but we were not paid cash to write the post! All opinions are our very own!

Filed under: Dog Care

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