American dog owners spend $100 per month on their dogs, on average. Dog grooming alone can get pricey, going up to $45 per month – almost half a person's monthly budget on a haircut, blow dry and pedicure.
Dog training expenses aren't cheap either. Six weeks of professional training can cost from $600 for a private dog trainer, and up to $2,500 for a full boarding school (and that’s just for a single training episode).
No one said being a dog owner would be cheap, but there are many ways to save a few dollars if you're being smart, and don't mind doing some of the legwork.
How to Save on Dog Grooming Services
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 if you compare that to how much you'd spend at a groomer's salon.
I wouldn't recommend spending money on grooming schools – your local college might have a short dog grooming class, either free or very cheap.
2. Get a Low Cost Cut Instead
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, simple and functional cut can save you money. Try a ‘field’ cut for a no-fuss trim to one inch all over.
3. Bathe Your Dog At Home
Roll your sleeves up and work up a lather between grooming visits. Bathing your dog is simple, and it can help to prevent his coat from matting and reduce shedding, allowing you to go longer between visits to the salon.
Don’t want to clog up your bath with dog hair and you're willing to spend extra? 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 a groomer's salon.
4. Scan Through 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 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, reducing shedding and dematting his coat, stimulating the hair follicles for a shiny coat, but it can extend the time between visits to the groomer, too. It’s also a wonderful bonding time and provides the opportunity for you to check for any skin problems and lumps.
6. Ask About Loyalty Discounts
On top of online discount coupons, many pet grooming salons offer loyalty 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 so 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 your pup looking luscious? Most of those sessions aren't necessary, so skip them and become more picky. The only real dog grooming necessities are brushing, occasional bath and nail clipping 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 simple pair of cheap hair clippers will do well.
9. Seek Out 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, Craigslist or Reddit.com. 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 your next birthday or Christmas present? You can even ask grooming salons and pet stores for free vouchers, too. Some of them have free gift cards for small amounts, but every little helps.
11. Get Your Dog Ready
If you have to use a professional groomer's service, note that many of them charge by the hour. If you don't pay a flat fee, you can reduce the time a grooming session takes by giving your dog a bath and thorough brush right before the visit.
In fact, try to pre-prepare your dog as much as you can for the grooming session ahead, 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 accomplish.
12. Inquire About Any Other Options
Oftentimes, pet owners come into a dog grooming salon not knowing what exactly their dogs require. And if you don’t tell your groomer what treatment you want, 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. Always ask for a price list from the groomer before you come in so you can make an informed decision about how much you'll spend. Don't get sucked into unnecessary spending.
How to Save on Dog Training Services
13. Start Them Young
Whilst it’s not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it’s certainly harder to undo bad habits. Save yourself costly correctional training and any behavioral problems by getting your puppy into good habits right off the bat.
14. Read, Watch and Learn
When you're on a budget, spending on dog training courses and schools is inadvisable, unless you need advanced training. The internet is full of educational videos (just look at our YouTube channel), and it's a great way to start learning about training a dog by yourself, and it's also free! There are plenty of free online guides and tutorials, and cheap books, DVDs and other resources as well.
15. Hire a Trainer Only for the Difficult Stuff
You can significantly reduce the cost of dog training if you lay the foundations yourself. Save professional classes for aspects of training that you’re finding very difficult or that are too advanced. Most basics can be learned quickly at home.
16. Look for Free or Low Cost Dog Training
Your local animal shelter probably runs low cost or even free lessons. If you've adopted a dog recently, look for trainers that offer a discount in the first 6 months after adoption. Similar to grooming, you can look for people that are just getting into the field of dog training – 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 problematic behaviors and other bad habits that would require dog trainer's or canine behaviorist's services.
18. Don’t Buy Unnecessary Gizmos
The market is flooded with unnecessary dog training supplies 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. So don't buy them. First, this confuses your dog; and second, that's where most of your dog related budget will be flushed to.
19. Attend Group Classes Instead of Private Sessions
Unless your dog has some specific behavioral issues you need addressed, you don’t need to fork out for one-to-one dog training sessions. 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.
Instead, opt for dog training group sessions that are cheaper and give your dog a chance to socialize at the same time. Look for these group classes dog forums, Reddit.com, Craigslist, or just search online.
Another great way to get free dog training tips and socialize is through Meetup.com. Search those in your area. For example, here are some 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 Carefully
Dog 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, discuss your budget and your dog's training needs. 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?
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 pooch fits the class and if the trainer is well-suited for your pet.
Once you're happy with what you saw on the first dog training class, book several classes in advance and negotiate a discount. Ask the trainer in advance if they offer such deals, pick those that do, and see what discount 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 pet more stimulation by traveling to dog training sessions at the trainer’s base, home or whatever it may be.
23. Put It Into Practice
Whatever you and your dog learn from every single session, immediately put that into practice at home. You’ll achieve those training goals much faster that way. Go the extra mile and ask the trainer if there’s anything else you can do at home to maximize results. This way you'll need less training sessions and therefore less money spent on the service.
24. Treat Your Dog Like a Dog
Understanding your dog is a dog is really important. There are dog books, DVDs and online resources available to help you decipher canine behavior. The more you can work with your pooch using dog language, the quicker the training will be.
How to Save on Dog Grooming Supplies
So that’s the cost of grooming and training services slashed, but what about supplies? Very often, dog owners may complain about the prices and how much dog products cost. Fortunately, there are savings to be made there, too.
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.
Chewy, Walmart, Amazon and others are some of the biggest retailers, and they offer cheapest prices, quickest delivery (free 2-day delivery with Amazon Prime) and no-fret refund policy.
26. Buy the Best You Can Afford for Long-term
Short-term gains generally mean long-term expenses. If you have to purchase new stuff because the cheap one breaks, it'll cost you more in the long run. Reading reviews on dog products you're about to buy to see about the quality or how long it lasted will help you you with purchasing something that lasts longer.
27. Search Through Coupon Sites First
As mentioned before, internet sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot.com offer discount codes on dog grooming 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 grooming 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 like clippers can be very costly. Save more by buying second hand 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. Doing some research can save you a bit of money. If you're not in a rush, wait for holiday sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday which usually have discounts up to 80% off the original price.
31. Do Your Research
Impulse buying can be costly. I 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 properly.
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.
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 whitening shampoo to keep that fur clean. Use it to make your own DIY dog toothpaste too.
33. Find 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.
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 pages. You can browse the ads or submit a ‘wanted’ post and see what comes up.
36. Use Clearance Cites
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.
How to Save on Dog Training Supplies
37. Buy New on Amazon, Chewy, Walmart or eBay
As with dog grooming kits, items are generally cheaper on sites like Amazon, Chewy, Walmart 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 Affordable but Quality Stuff
This is particularly important with dog training equipment. It’s always worth spending more money for products that provide a good fit, are easily adjustable, comfortable and made from durable materials. Don’t risk having to spend more because your harness rubs or your lead broke.
39. Watch Free Tutorials
There are hundreds of free, good quality dog training tutorials on YouTube. You can usually get a feel for the online trainer’s credibility from the comments below the video.
40. Don't Forget About Reward Points
Look for local brick-and-mortar pet stores and online dog supplies sites that offer a reward scheme or loyalty cards. Clock up points and pocket the savings.
41. Do That Research Again
Whether you’re shopping online or at your local pet store, take your time. There are many types of aids on the market. 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?
42. Buy Pre-owned Things
Dog owners often buy training aids that they only need for a short period of time. You can find great quality ‘nearly new’ such as 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.
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 Supplies to Grow with Your Dog
Think ahead. Your Pointer pup is the size of a Jack Russell now, but not for long. Try to buy dog training supplies that can expand as your dog grows so that you don’t have to upgrade every few months.
45. Make Your Own Dog Treats
Your 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 – we have over 100 videos and articles on DIY dog treats and foods recipes. You could save up to 50%!
46. Use Coupon Codes
47. Get Free Products in Exchange for a Review
Trawl through reviews of products on Amazon, and you’ll find a number of them 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. 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.
48. Buy Tough Toys That Last
Dogs need toys for training and stimulation – treat dispensers, footballs, rope toys, tug toys, cuddly toys, and more. This can get costly. Buy only tough and durable dog toys that will take a beating and last more than a few months. KONG toys are great.