Redditors Share Their Favorite Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners

Happy young African American man petting his dog outdoors in nature.


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Frugal Fido

Americans love their pets. Almost 69 million U.S. households have at least one dog as a family member, according to a 2022 survey by the American Pet Products Association.

Pet owners spend hundreds of dollars a year on basic canine care such as food, vet visits, and boarding. But is there a way to care for your pup while sticking to a budget? Here are some tips, according to dog-loving, money-saving Redditors.

Related: The Most Popular Dog Breeds in America

The veterinarian doctor treating, checking on dog at vet clinic
Supitnan Pimpisarn/istockphoto

Don’t Skimp on Preventative Care

Both vets and dog owners on Reddit agree that it’s less expensive to spend money on prevention. Regular vet visits and vaccines are better than waiting until a dog needs to be treated for a health issue, which may cost thousands of dollars to treat.

Related: How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

golden retriever eating dog food from metal bowl

Invest in High-Quality Food

Redditors also agree that high-quality dog food is worth the upfront expense. A well-fed dog who is not overweight is more likely to be in better health and have fewer health problems than a dog who eats the human equivalent of junk food on a regular basis.

Related: The Best Costco Dog Food, According to Experts

French bulldogs love tug wars

Make Your Own Dog Toys

A number of Redditors suggest making toys from plastic bottles — just fill one with kibbles or treats and watch the dog bat it around to get the food out. Another cheap game: Hide treats in an old blanket or box and make your dog use its nose to sniff out the goodies.

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Miniature Golden doodle leaping in air for a tennis ball

When You Do Buy Toys, Buy Cheap Ones

One Redditor shares that they always buy dog toys in January when all the holiday-themed toys are on sale, as a pup doesn't know what time of year he’s shredding Santa Claus. Another owner heads over to a local tennis club to buy discounted tennis balls in bulk for their ball-crazy pup.

Sit to Attention!

Make Your Own Dog Treats

Rather than spending money on overpriced bags of treats, some owners make their own. One easy DIY dog treat: Thinly slice chicken breast, then bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Or, if you have a dehydrator, throw chicken slices in there for cheap treats.

Golden retriver dog taking a shower in a pet grooming salon.

Learn How To Groom Your Dog

Learning how to trim nails and brush your pooch’s teeth can be a huge money saver. Buying a Dremel nail grinder for dogs will likely pay for itself after a few uses.

Vet Doctor Examining Labrador Dog

Have an Emergency Pet Fund

You don’t need to pay for pet insurance if you have a solid emergency fund built up for veterinary care, according to Redditors. Otherwise, research pet insurance carefully, and keep an eye on restrictions and extra charges hidden in some policies.

Woman taking supplements next to her dog

Sign Up for Pet Medication Discounts

Some vets may price-match the cost of medications on sites like If they don’t, you may be able to ask for a written prescription, which can be submitted to different pharmacies at a potential discount.

Homeless dog behind bars

Adopt From a Rescue or Shelter

Dogs from rescues or shelters will likely be caught up on their neutering, pills, and preventatives, all of which will be covered in the low adoption fee. It’s also likely that rescue dogs will have had some basic training from fosters who have previously worked with them.