Research shows that the average American dog owner spends $100 per month on their dog, and pet ownership in the US continues to rise. $45 of that is spent on dog grooming services – almost half a dog owner’s monthly budget on a haircut, blow dry and pedicure. Dog ownership can get expensive, so knowing how to trim some of those expenses would be a huge help for pet owners on a budget.
We've previously compared dog grooming prices, but that aside, dog training expenses aren't cheap either. Six weeks of professional training can cost anywhere from $600 for a private dog trainer to $2,500 for a full boarding school – and that’s just for a single training episode. Some dogs go through several types of training during their lifetime.
Not necessarily, especially if you’re prepared to take a little time to do your homework. There are many ways to save money on dog grooming and dog training expenses, but it could mean doing some of the legwork yourself.
Most of us pet owners are on a budget, but we don't want to skimp on our pets' health, hygiene, products or training. Canines require a lot of various dog supplies, and those vet bills won't pay themselves, too. No one said being a dog owner would be cheap, but there are certainly some ways to save yourself a few bucks here and there if you're being smart.
In this article, I'll walk you through some of the ways that for me helped saved quite a bit of money as a dog owner. To start off, read here how much owning a dog cost in total.
How to Save Money on Dog Grooming, Dog Training & Dog Supplies
Saving Money on Dog Grooming Expenses
1. Do it yourself
You can save HUGE amounts of money by learning the skills to do the job yourself. The initial outlay for dog grooming supplies and tools can be costly, but your kit will pay for itself in no time if you compare to how much you'd spend at a dog groomer's salon.
Where do you start? Here on Top Dog Tips, we have tons of free articles and videos on DIY dog grooming – browse through that to learn all the basics of grooming a dog.
Then, there are also hundreds of other YouTube explainer videos for every aspect of dog grooming. Your local college might have a short dog grooming class too either free or very cheap. I wouldn't recommend spending tons of money on dog grooming schools. Okay, so your dog might have a bit of a mullet hairdo for a while, but you’ll get the hang of it.
All first-time groomers are anxious in the beginning. Are you scared of clipping your dog's nails? It’s actually very easy when you know how. Watch the video below that explains every detail of the process, and check out our YouTube channel for more daily content.
2. Get a low cost cut
Some dogs may cost more when it comes to grooming them; however, it all depends.
Let's say you own a Poodle, but there’s no law saying that it has to have a weird and wonderful haircut. Keeping to a low cost, functional cut can save you a lot of money. Try a ‘field’ cut for a no-fuss trim to one inch all over.
3. Bathe your dog yourself
Roll your sleeves up and work up a lather between professional grooming visits. Bathing your dog can help to prevent his coat from matting and reduce shedding, allowing you to go longer between visits to the salon. The process is, again, simple – watch it below!
Don’t want to clog up your bath with dog hair and are willing to spend a little extra money? Then you can try to find a self-service dog wash in your area. Use purpose-built washing and drying facilities at a fraction of the cost of a visit to the groomer.
WATCH THE VIDEO: How To Bathe A Dog at Home – The Easy Way
4. Hit the coupon sites
Sometimes, you just have to go to a professional, whether it's because you don't have the time to groom your dog yourself, you're scared or you just want to rest and have someone else do it for a change while you watch and learn. There are ways to save here too.
Coupons for dog grooming services are all over the internet. Sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot.com offer discount codes on professional dog grooming services all the time. Sign up to get alerts for deals in your area and hunt those down as soon as possible.
5. Brush your dog daily
Not only is brushing important for keeping your dog's appearances, deshedding him and dematting his coat, but regular brushing of your pooch can extend the time between visits to the groomer, as well.
When you brush your dog on a regular basis, it keeps his coat tangle free, reduces shedding and stimulates the hair follicles for a shiny coat. It’s also a wonderful bonding time and provides the opportunity for you to check for any skin problems and lumps.
6. Loyalty discounts
On top of online discount coupons, many dog salons offer discounts and free services for regular visits. Buy your pup’s grooming sessions in blocks to reap the rewards.
Unfortunately, they don't advertise this – you'll have to find a local groomer by Googling “dog grooming near me” and then call them up to inquire about any loyalty discounts.
7. Ditch the fancy stuff
Do you book every treatment available to keep Fido looking luscious? If you're trying to save some money, then I can guarantee that most of those sessions aren't necessary for your canine.
The only real dog grooming necessities at are brushing, occasional bath and nail cliping every 4-8 weeks. Long-haired dogs will need a trim as well. Stick to the ‘no frills’ 8-week rule and you’ll more than halve your costs. All of this can also be done at home with next to nothing spent on dog supplies.
8. Choose a short clip
Consider going for a doggy crew cut. It will buy you more time between visits and keep Fido’s coat as low maintenance as possible. Don't shave the dog's coat completely, but give him a shorter cut than you'd normally would. A pair of dog hair clippers will do well.
WATCH THE VIDEO: How To Use Dog Hair Clippers to Trim or Cut Dog’s Hair
9. Discounted services
You could score savings of up to 30% by letting a student groomer practice on your dog. Get in touch with your local animal care college or dog salon to find out if it’s an option.
Another easy way to find people who are just starting out is to search on dog forums, Craiglist or places like reddit.com and see who's living in your area and willing to do your dog's hairdo for free. Of course, always be careful when dealing with strangers.
10. Ask for vouchers as presents
Like hairdressers, dog salons sell treatment gift vouchers. How about asking Auntie Maud to give you a voucher for Fido for your next birthday present?
Not only that, but you can even ask dog grooming salons and pet stores for free vouchers too. Some of them have free gift cards for small amounts, but every little helps. They don't give away those to anybody, but you may get lucky if you ask nicely.
11. Get your Fido ready
If you still choose to use a professional dog groomer's service, then know that many of them charge by the hour. If you don't pay a flat fee, then you can reduce the time a grooming session takes by giving your dog a bath and thorough brush before the visit.
In fact, try to pre-prepare your dog as much as you can for the grooming session ahead of him, and only use a professional for things that you cannot or would not like to do yourself, or simply don't have the means to do that (like having a dog bath at home).
12. Ask about your options
Often times, pet owners come into a dog grooming salon not knowing what exactly their dogs require. So if you don’t tell your groomer what treatment you want for your pooch, you’ll probably get the full works and the groomer will charge you a hefty price.
To avoid that, mention that you've already prepared your dog for the session, and also tell them if you've given him a bath, a brush, nail clipping, etc. On top of that, always ask for a price list from the groomer before you come in- that way you can make an informed decision about how much you'll spend. Don't get sucked into unnecessary spending!
Also, don't forget to account for a tip to your groomer. Here's how much to tip them.
Here's some additional resources on dog grooming to start you off:
- Dog Grooming Supplies 101: The Ultimate Buyers’ Guide
- Dog Grooming Product Reviews (Best Value for the Price)
- VIDEO: How To Train A Dog To Enjoy Grooming
Saving Money On Dog Training
13. Start ‘em young
Whilst it’s not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it’s certainly harder to undo bad habits your pooch has been taught over the years than to train him well in the first place. It's not impossible, but it will take more time, effort and – of course – money.
Save yourself costly correctional training and any behavioral problems by getting your puppy or young dog into good habits right off the bat. Again, if you need help with training your puppy, we've got free resources and videos for you right here.
14. Read, watch and learn
You'll see that we've got a big database of videos and articles on dog training where you can learn all the basics. If you want more, the internet is full of them and it's a great way to start learning about training a dog. Best of all – it's all free!
If you're on a budget, I would not recommend spending money on dog training courses and schools, unless you want to go really advanced. The web is full of quality dog training videos and reading material, so take time to read articles, dog training books and watch training DVDs and online video tutorials. You might not even need to hire a trainer ever!
15. Only use a dog trainer for the tough stuff
You can significantly reduce the cost of training if you lay the foundations yourself. Save professional dog classes and your own dog training lessons for aspects of training that you’re finding very difficult or that are too advanced. Basics can be learned quickly.
16. Look for free or low cost dog training
Your local animal shelter probably runs low cost or even free lessons. If you have adopted a dog, then look for dog trainers that offer a discount in the first 6 months after adoption.
Also, similar to dog grooming, you can look for people are only getting into the field of dog training, starting a dog training business or otherwise are exploring this area. They may give you a huge discount or even offer their services for free.
17. Exercise, exercise, exercise
Dogs need plenty of physical and mental stimulation. Make these things a priority and you’re less likely to have a dog that develops problem behaviors and other bad habits in the future. The best dog is a tired dog.
18. Don’t buy gizmos
The market is flooded with unnecessary dog training aids that claim to be the “right” way to train your dog. Dog owners often try one method for a short time, hit a roadblock and move on to the next big idea. First of all, this confuses your dog; and second of all, that's where most of the dog ownership money goes to, so try to avoid it.
Buy only the most essential stuff for training your dog, and make sure that you get the best value for the price. Something that's expensive isn't necessarily the best. I recommend you check out our reviews on dog training supplies to see what fits best.
Here are a few recommendations for your “dog training starter pack”:
- 15 Best Puppy Potty Pads for Toilet Training Dogs
- 5 Best Dog Training Treats
- 5 Best Dog Toys Made in America
19. Attend a group class
Unless your dog has some specific behavioral issues you need addressed, chances are you don’t need to fork out for one-to-one dog training sessions at all. Those are usually meant either for dog owners who simply don't want to ever train their canines, or for dogs that require for a professional to do a thorough job. These cases are rare.
Instead, I recommend you opt for dog training group sessions that are cheaper and give your dog a chance to socialize at the same time; it's a win win. Look for these group classes of dog training on reddit, Craigslist, dog forums or just search online.
Another great way to get “free” dog training tips, advice and have fun at the same time while your pooch also socializes is to join Meetup.com groups for dog owners. Search those in your local area. For example, here are Meetups for dog owners in Austin, Texas:
- Austin Dog People
- Austin BarkHappy Users
- Labs and Golden Retriever Owners
- …and a lot more dog playgroup meetups
20. Shop around for a dog trainer
If you absolutely need to, and you're positive you cannot train your dog yourself, then you may need to spend some money on professional dog training classes.
Canine training standards vary wildly, so choose your dog trainer wisely. Check their qualifications and recommendations. Notice how your dog responds to them. It’s better to take time choosing the right trainer than to have to start all over again with another.
Compare rates too and discuss your budget and your dog's training requirements. What are you getting for your money? Are there specific training aspects that you're looking for and are willing to pay extra to learn? Just so you know, here's how much trainers get paid.
21. Book in bundles for 15-20% saving
As with any other service, professional dog trainers usually offer a discount for bulk class bookings. Don't get this on the first go, because you want to see if your dog fits the class and if the dog trainer is well-suited for your pooch.
Once you're happy with what you saw on the first dog training class, you can book several classes in advance and negotiate a decent discount. Make sure to ask your dog trainer in advance if they offer this, pick those that do, and see what deal you can strike.
22. Don’t have the trainer come to you
It should be obvious, but remember that it's significantly more expensive to have a dog trainer come to your home. Save yourself money and give your dog more stimulation by traveling to dog training sessions at the trainer’s base, home or whatever it may be.
23. Put it into practice
Here's the most important tip – whatever you and your dog learns from every single session, try to immediately put that into practice yourself with your pooch at home.
You’ll achieve those training goals with your dog much faster if you put the learning into practice between sessions without skipping a day. Go the extra mile and ask your trainer if there’s anything extra that you can do at home to maximize results. This way you'll need significantly less training sessions and therefore less money spent on the service.
24. Treat your dog like a dog
Understanding your dog as a dog is really important. There are plenty of doggy books, DVDs and online resources available to help you understand canine behavior. The more you can work with your dog using his language, the easier and quicker training will be.
Owning a dog will never be like owning a cat. You'll need to be there for him, and you'll need to continue to learn. The more time you're willing to sacrifice for this, the less money you'll have to spend. Of course, it all gets easier with time, so don't fret!
READ THIS: 15 Must-Know Tips For New Dog Owners
So that’s the cost of grooming and training slashed, but what about dog grooming and dog training supplies? Very often, dog owners may complain about the prices and how much dog products costs these days. Fortunately, there are plenty of savings to be made there too, so hang on before you head to the pet store and fill your cart.
Saving Money on Dog Grooming Supplies
25. Shop online first
What I found for myself is that 99 times out of 100, all dog grooming supplies will be cheaper to purchase online. In fact, it's now a running joke everywhere that people go to stores to look at products and later buy them on Amazon. What can you do? It's cheaper!
For example, if a dog grooming kit with all the essentials is $130 in your local pet store, I can almost guarantee you that the same product will turn up cheaper on Amazon, or any other online dog supplies retailer, because they can cut many costs that stores cannot.
I buy most of my things on Amazon, and it's because as the biggest retailer, they offer cheapest prices, quickest delivery (free 2-day delivery with Amazon Prime) and no-fret refund policy. Their customer service is top notch and the company has been voted the most customer-centric. It's why we usually link to Amazon from Top Dog Tips as well.
Naturally, it's great to see and feel things for yourself in a local pet store, but be sure to check for better deals online before making a purchase. If you have a smartphone, you can shop online while you're looking at the product on the shelf of your local pet store.
26. Buy the best you can afford
It’s easy to think in the short-term when spending on dog training supplies or dog grooming tools, but short-term gains generally mean long-term expenses. If you have to purchase new stuff because the cheap one breaks, it'll cost you a lot more in the long run.
Again, reading dog supplies reviews from our site, or following the link to other dog owners' reviews and reading what others have to say about a specific dog product, how long it lasted them, what quality is it and so on will help you save money in the long run.
If you want to save some money, you need to spend some time doing the research.
27. Hit the coupon sites
As I mentioned before, internet sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot.com offer discount codes on dog training equipment, too. Sign up to get alerts for deals in your area.
28. Pool resources
This is becoming more common among dog owners. Can’t afford to fork out for a full-on dog training kit yourself? Then why not see if some of your dog owner friends want to share the cost with you? How about your neighbors?
29. Buy second-hand
Some dog grooming tools, such as clippers, can be very costly, especially if you buy professional, high quality ones. Not that you need these very expensive tools at all.
You can make some huge savings by buying reconditioned tools. For example, check out calibex.com. You can also find ‘bought but unused’ dog grooming equipment for sale on Amazon. Simply find the products that you need, and then see “Other sellers” section.
30. Trawl the internet for deals
Most online stores have sales and discounts happening daily. On some, you can save big, on others – very little. Either way, doing some research can save you quite a bit of money.
Also, if you're not in a rush, you can always wait for holiday sales and buy plenty of dog supplies for the year to come. Sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually have discounts up to 80% off the original price, so get surfing to steal a deal.
31. Do your research
It’s important to research the products on the market, whether you’re shopping online or at your local pet store. Impulse buying can be costly, although if you follow advice from reviewers on this site or other dog owners' reviews, it may be a safe buy after all.
Nevertheless, I always recommend doing your own due diligence; it’s easy to be wooed by “revolutionary” dog products that claim to have lots of features, only to find out that they don't even work or are not the thing that was advertised.
When you're shopping for your dog, stop and think – what do I need the tool to do? What is my budget? Check customer feedback and review sites to reduce the risk of buying equipment that isn’t up to the job. Video reviews are best so you can see the product.
32. Stock up on baking soda
Here's a little trick. Raid your kitchen cupboard and add a little baking soda to your dog shampoo. It will make it go further, give it more cleaning power and you won’t need to buy a separate whitener. You can also use it to make your own dog toothpaste!
READ THIS: How to Make Homemade Flea Shampoo for Dogs
33. Reward schemes
This one's pretty simple – look for local pet stores and online dog supplies vendors that offer a reward scheme or loyalty cards. Clock up points and pocket the savings.
34. Pay with free gift cards
With Amazon, you can earn discounts when you choose a 5-day no rush shipping instead of quicker delivery. So if you're not in a rush, you can collect $1-$5 discounts per single order which you can use for future orders. Pretty neat.
It’s hit and miss, but there are people out there who are giving away unwanted dog grooming equipment. Try Freecycle.org, CraigsList or a local Facebook page. You can browse the ads or submit a ‘wanted’ post and see what comes up.
36. Clearance sites
Overstocked items and end of line products can come with truly massive discounts without any compromise on quality. With a bit of research, you can turn up clearance sites like Dog.com. Scour those places and see what you can use instead of buying what's in fashion.
Saving Money on Dog Training Supplies
37. Buy new on Amazon or eBay
As with dog grooming kits, items are generally cheaper on sites like Amazon and eBay than they are in your local store. The range of training kits is much greater too, giving you more chance of finding the right product for your specific needs.
38. Buy the best you can afford
This is particularly important with dog training equipment. It’s always worth spending more money for a kit that provides a good fit, is easily adjustable, comfortable and made from durable materials. Don’t risk having to spend more because your harness rubs or your lead broke.
39. Free tutorials
There are hundreds of free, good quality dog training tutorials on YouTube. Be cautious though, there’s some rubbish out there too.
You can usually get a feel for the online trainer’s credibility from the comments below the video.
40. Reward points
Look for pet stores and online pet stores that offer a reward scheme or loyalty card. Clock up points and pocket the savings.
41. Do your research
Whether you’re shopping online or at your local pet store it’s best to take your time when buying training supplies. There are so many types of aids on the market and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some will be suited to your dog, others won’t.
You won’t always get it right the first time, but you’ll save yourself time and money if you do. Ask yourself if the item is fit for the purpose, does it fit well, will it be comfortable, will it last? Check customer feedback and review sites to reduce the risk of buying equipment that isn’t up to the job.
TRAINING GUIDE: How To Train A Dog Basic Commands
42. Buy second-hand
Dog owners often buy training aids that they only need for a short period of time. You can buy great quality ‘nearly new’ training leads, collars and harnesses for a fraction of the cost of new ones.
EBay, Amazon and local Facebook pages are good places to start. Always take care to check for signs of wear and tear. For the safety and comfort of you and your dog, only buy supplies that are in good working order.
43. Borrow or trade
If you’re not sure what harness to go for, then maybe you know someone you could borrow one from. Try before you buy. You may even be able to borrow or trade gear to see you through your training phase.
44. Buy collars and harnesses that will grow with your pup
Think ahead. Your Pointer pup is the size of a Jack Russell now, but not for long. Try to by training equipment that can expand as your dog grows so that you don’t have to upgrade.
45. Make your own pet treats
Fido could get through a lot of training treats in the coming months. Cut your costs and know what your feeding by making your own. You could save up to 50%!
FREE VIDEOS: Homemade Dog Treats and Dog Food Recipes
46. Coupon codes
47. Free products in exchange for a review
Trawl through the reviews of any Amazon product and you’ll probably find a number of reviews given in exchange for a discounted or free product. Be one of those people.
You don't have to review the product positively, because it's against Amazon's TOS, so give your most honest opinion, help other pet owners, and receive a free product!
Some sites even give away free dog food samples and free dog supplies for you to try without you having to write a review. If you do, great! If not, well, nevermind…
48. Buy tough toys
Remember the need to keep Fido stimulated? That requires toys – treat dispensers, footballs, rope toys, tug toys, cuddly toys, etc… It can get costly. Buy tough, durable dog toys that will take a beating and last more than a few months. KONG dog toys are best!