Keeping Up with the Cost of Caring Sadly, the cost of living is continuing to rise and owners are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to providing the necessities for their dogs. Food bills, vet costs, equipment and grooming; while these costs will vary for each dog, they are all important and being unable to cover these costs can be a source of stress for owners as they worry about how it could negatively affect the welfare of the dog. Here, we have gathered some tips which can help you cut costs a little, while continuing to meet your dog’s needs. Make your own toys - Dogs don’t care how much you spend on them so instead of buying pricey toys to keep them occupied, consider making your own enrichment devices out of old packaging and newspaper or repurpose the fabric from old clothes and give it a new life as something exciting for your dog. Just ensure what you are creating is safe and appropriate for your dog. You can find an example here. Use your dog’s toys smarter - You can even use your dog’s existing toys more thoughtfully to get the maximum benefit from them. By rotating your dog’s available toys, you can maintain the novelty of their existing toys to keep them exciting and make them last longer! Consider pre-loved - Local dog rescue centres or charity shops will often have pre-loved dog items for sale, such as harnesses and beds, so you will be able to pick up a bargain. Keep up to date with their regular vet care - Emergency vet bills can be the most worrying cost that comes with owning a dog. By their nature, it is difficult to be prepared for them, especially when there are other strains on your finances. The easiest way to reduce the chance of encountering an emergency vet bill is to protect your dog against preventable common illnesses with vaccinations, wormer, tick and flea treatments. This is known as preventative veterinary care and while it does come at a cost, this cost is vastly smaller than the potential cost of treatment should your dog contract one of these illnesses, not to mention the possible risk to life. Some vets even offer payment plans or subscription options for their preventative veterinary care, which works out cheaper in the long run. Talk to your vet to find out if they have anything like this available. Look after their teeth - Dental issues are another common problem, which can come with costly vet treatment. Working with your dog to get them to accept having their teeth brushed can help to keep their teeth healthier for longer and reduce the chance of expensive treatment. Here is an example of how to introduce tooth brushing to your dog. Long lasting, natural treats, like pigs' ears and trachea chews, are a great way for your dog to remove their own plaque; our centre shops provide these items at an affordable price. Weigh up your insurance options - Consider whether dog insurance is a suitable option for you. Although this does come at a cost, it could potentially save a larger cost further along the line. Make sure you are aware of your excess, any exemptions in your policy and the value you are covered for so you don’t get any nasty surprises when it comes to making a claim. If the cost of lifetime cover is a little too steep for you, gather quotes for a 12-month policy to give you peace of mind during the current economic crisis. Talk to your vet about your dog’s prescriptions - Shopping around for medications for your dog could help you shave a few pounds off their cost, which, for long-term medications, can soon add up. If your dog is prescribed medication by your vet, there is the option to pay a fee for this prescription, which you can then fill online at a reputable veterinary dispensary, such as VetUK. It is important to note that you will be unable to purchase from such places without a legitimate prescription so talk with your vet for advice on this. Learn the grooming basics - Dogs have many different coat types, which all require different kinds and frequency of grooming. By making sure that you are aware of your dog's grooming needs and learning how to best care for their coat at home, you may be able to save a little on grooming bills or stretch the time between clips. If you are unsure, talk to a reputable dog groomer or your vet. Getting your dog used to grooming should be done gradually, with lots of positive reinforcement; here are some tips to get you started. Review your dog’s diet - Food costs for a dog can be quite substantial, especially for larger dogs. Be sure to check that you are feeding the correct amount for your dog. If you are feeding more than the recommended amount, you will be spending more on food than you need to and may be putting your dog at risk of overfeeding related health concerns. Feeding guides can be found on the back of most commercial dog foods, which will give you a recommended daily allowance to feed a dog based on weight. Remember to feed your dog based on their ideal weight rather than their current weight. Buying in bulk can also work out more cost effective per serving; just ensure that you are able to get through the entirety of the bag within the use by date. A complete, balanced diet, fed in the appropriate amount can help reduce the risk of a multitude of costly health concerns. For more nutrition information, you can download our ‘Good Nutrition Guide’ here. Call on your friends and family - If you use a dog sitter or walker, why not try building a relationship with your neighbours or setting up a group of family, friends and colleagues, they may be more than willing to come and spend some time with your pooch and save you hiring a professional. If they are fellow dog owners, be sure to offer the favour in return! If you are struggling to keep up with the costs of caring for your dog, please reach out to your local Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre, their details can be found here. Our team will do our best to provide you with support, be that dog food provisions, assistance with vet costs or advice and sign posting to organisations which will be able to help. We know how valuable the relationship between a dog and a human can be and so will do what we can to support families, to keep much-loved dogs in their homes, through hard times.