OWNING A PUPPY ON A BUDGET
You can certainly find cheap dog food out there but it isn’t something I’d recommend unless you’ve done some research into it. Some cheap food is good but some is crap, utter crap. Jarvis eats good food and hopefully it will mean less spent on vet bills in years to come. Diet is important, so not only is it worth asking your vet for recommendations but it is also worth while doing a little bit of independent research into the ideal food for your breed. Some vets are paid to recommend specific brands so I think it is important to top up their advice with independent research. There are lots of websites out there giving specialist information about each and every breed and size of dog.
Treats wise it is far, far cheaper to buy the treats by weight in pet shops than to buy them in small 100g packets. If you have a very small puppy you may find it wise to spend a small amount of time chopping the treats into smaller chunks. An effective puppy training treat for a Dalmatian and Yorkie will not be the same size, so when Jarvis was very small we chopped regular training treats into 12 so they went a lot further and allowed us to train him properly without feeding him too much. Vegetables like peas, carrots and swede make for inexpensive training treats too.
Depending on the age of your dog and where you got them from it is likely you’ll have to set your puppy up for basic injections, along with microchipping and flea and worm treatments. Phone around your local vets and get recommendations from local dog owners and your breeder or rescue centre.
Most dogs require treatments for flea and worms every 2-3 months but smaller dogs may need treating every month (like Jarvis because he is too small for the larger doses). Remember to factor this price into your budget. And remember if your dog will be interacting with other dogs it is well worth while getting him or her vaccinated against kennel cough which is a vaccination which usually doesn’t come as standard.
Some lovely folk on Twitter recommended some great flea prevention treatments such as adding rosemary oil to the bath or rubbing a tiny amount onto their collar. This should always be complementary to proper flea treatments but it is well worth giving a go if you’re flea phobic like me.
Dog walking/doggy day care
If you’re thinking about getting a dog and are out to work every day factor into your budget paying for either walks or daycare. Some dogs are fine to be left alone all day long and other aren’t, you never know which kind of puppy you’re going to get especially as their personality starts to develop so keep care costs in mind when thinking about brining a dog into your family.
Jarvis attends doggy day care once a week whilst I’m doing some technical audio work – the noise drives him crazy. It costs £16 and in our case is money well spent because it means I can get some important work done but it also means he is well socialised, gains a little training and is exhausted when he gets home.
I have a new deal with my neighbour where I walk her dog on a Thursday and Friday morning and she’ll walk Jarvis on a Monday and Saturday. This saves us each £20 a week, so it is really worth befriending local dog owners.
Jarvis is fairly well trained(ish) and everything we learnt came from YouTube videos and websites. Make sure to research training techniques and theories with regards raising dogs well before you commit to owning a dog. My friend is a vet (specialising in small dogs) and recommends taking at least 3 days off work to invest your time kicking off training your puppy in basic toilet training and commands such as sit and lie down.
As well as his crate Jarvis had a small fluffy bed in our living room and a second in the study where I spend a lot of my time. Our floor is very cold so soft, warm and cosy spots are essential for a happy and content dog. We picked up this bed on eBay first of all, followed by a polka dot bed from B&M which cost less than £5 and is nearly identical to one we found in a pet shop for £24.
For blankets we have 4 Ikea fleece blankets which cost under £2 each. They are easy to switch out every week and very, very simple and easy to clean.
Apart from one rubber ball Jarvis has managed to rip to shreds (within 20 minutes most of the time) anything with a squeak, so I won’t be buying anything squeaky for him again. Finding a dog toy without a squeaky element can be a hard task so we’ve moved away from dog toys and are now buying toys designed for children from charity shops and bootsales. They seem to be made to a higher standard and are far harder to rip apart plus I don’t mind paying 20p for a toy, especially because I end up seeing similar (poorly made) dog versions for £12 in the pet shop.
Rope toys, balls and the like are from either pound shops or B&M and are always durable and cheap – they’ve been great for his teeth and I firmly believe giving him toys to chew on has stopped him chewing on our furniture.
Don’t look at me like that, Jarvis is a Yorkie and as such doesn’t have regular dog fur and gets incredibly cold and fast. Puppies grow fast so don’t buy too many straight away, we made that mistake when won over by the sheer cuteness. Try to swap clothes with local dog owners and hunt out cheap deals. Some of my favourite places to buy dog clothes on a budget are TKMaxx, B&M, Pound World and eBay – this dinosaur puppy outfit kept Jarvis really toasty which enabled him to run around outside about 50% longer than when he was in his birthday suit.
The budget shops are your friends! We’ve loved B&M for poop bags, treats and cosy beds, Poundland for rope toys and tennis balls plus we’ve spotted some real bargains in Home Bargains including dog bowls, non-slip mats, blankets and treats.
WHAT TO BUY FOR BRINGING A PUPPY HOME
– Somewhere for them to sleep. I suggest a crate (we have this one).
– Blankets to make their crate cosy and for cover
– Food (you may get some from your breeder or rescue centre)
– Collar and I.D. tags
– Poop bags
– Harness and lead
– Toys – balls, teddy, rope toy, squeaky toy
– Small training puppy treats
– Food and water dishes – something like a tray or non slip mat to slip underneath is really useful – if the puppy is very small make sure the dish is shallow enough.
– Cloths and towels – designated for cleaning up after the puppy and the puppy himself. We have cloths and towels of a certain colour which we know only to use for Jarvis related cleaning.
– Appropriate travel crate, we have this raised car seat (we found others were odd sized even for our tiny pup) which has helped prevent car sickness because Jarvis is able to see out the window.
– The best insurance you can afford – make sure it includes the lifetime of any illness. (I feel like I could do a whole blog post about this one.)
– Brush/comb – whatever is appropriate for your breed.