The pet industry is big business, and millions of pounds are spent every year pampering our pooches. So where can we save money?
Pet food really is a multi million pound business. Pet food manufacturers often spend more money on marketing and advertising than they do on actually making sure that the diet is right for your dog.
Your dog doesn’t care if the food is in the shape of little bones, or if it has a wide range of colours, but you will be paying a premium for these things. In fact, it is often these types of food that have nasty additives which can lead to health and behavioural problems in your dog.
Quality foods often seem a lot more expensive per bag than supermarket varieties. However, when worked out on price per 100g, you will be surprised by the difference. With good quality foods you also feed much less, therefore saving money, and feeding a good diet reduces the risk of needing veterinary treatment which is another big cost!
Take a close look at the feeding guidelines on the packaging. Many dogs are seriously overfed, and not only does this add to the expense, it can lead to health problems. Buying your food online is also often cheaper. If you can buy in bulk and you know your dog likes the food, then take advantage of the offers.
HOME AND TOYS
If you have a dog under the age of 1, they may well be going through a chewing or destructive phase. And if they haven’t yet, chances are that there may be one yet to come! If you know your dog is destructive, the best thing you can do is prevent it happening.
Training at home or in classes is important for mental stimulation, which will increase the likelihood that your dog will settle in-between times. Try to make sure your dog has plenty of stimulation, such as a walk, before being left. Then make sure that the area that they are left in doesn’t contain anything tempting to chew, such as shoes or books. If this isn’t possible consider buying an indoor kennel, but always consult with your trainer before introducing it.
Make sure you leave toys, chews, and maybe a snack to occupy your dog. Hardwearing toys are better value for money than cheap ones that won’t last, so look for those which are sold as ‘practically indestructible’ such as Kong toys. Even though they seem expensive at the outset, they will last for years.
Insurance is one area where you really do get what you pay for. It is well worth the money, and if you know you haven’t got a spare £10,000 to cover emergency vet’s fees, I would consider it an essential.
When looking at policies, pay close attention to the cover that is given. Make sure it is a lifelong policy (which means if your dog gets a lifelong illness, they can’t cancel the policy), and check that there is a generous annual limit for claims. Also make sure that there isn’t a limit per illness. Make sure the excess is per illness, not per claim, as vets will do continuation claims for ongoing problems.
Insure your dog while he or she is young and healthy as it will be cheaper. If you wait until an illness occurs, this will be classed as a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by the policy. Many animals have to be put to sleep each year after an accident or an illness simply because the owners can’t afford the treatment necessary. With pet insurance, peace of mind is priceless.