Most of you are aware that I have a lovely Lab named Ellie who is my absolute bestie. She is a bundle of joy, but also requires a lot of care and attention. Having a dog is definitely not cheap, but I thought I could share with you some of the ways I care for Ellie to make sure she stays in tip-top shape without breaking my budget.
First of all, diet is very important for Labradors. They tend to have a big appetite and can easily become overweight if they eat too much or too often. We’re in a constant battle to try to get Ellie to lose a bit of weight. That’s why I feed Ellie a balanced diet of high-quality Kibble supplemented with budget-friendly human foods that are safe and nutritious for dogs.
Some of her favorites are grated carrots, sweet potato and sardines, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. I measure out her portions carefully and avoid giving her any unhealthy table scraps or treats that are high in calories or sugar.
One of the biggest expenses of owning a Labrador is dog food. They eat a lot and they need good quality food that meets their nutritional needs. To save money on dog food, I always do some online research before buying Ellie’s kibble, at the moment she is having the Purelife Tasmanian Salmon for adult dogs. I compare prices from different websites and stores, and look for any discounts or coupons that I can use.
I also have a Pet Barn membership that gives me regular savings on dog food and other products. Another way I save money on dog food is by using Shop Back, which is a cashback program that gives me a percentage of my money back when I shop online from certain retailers. It’s free to join and easy to use, and it helps me save some extra cash every time I buy Ellie’s food.
Secondly, exercise is essential for Labradors. They are active and playful dogs that need regular physical activity to burn off their energy and keep their muscles and joints healthy. I take Ellie for two walks every day, one in the morning and one in the evening, for about 30 minutes each. She is on the lower end of the active scale so this is more than enough for her.
Ellie, who is more slug than dog, only loves to run when I am too, so she’s helping me get my heart rate up as well! I try to vary our routes and destinations as much as possible to expose her to more of our wonderful world. In summer, we even go for a swim in the local lake or we visit the beach, which she loves. All of these activities are free and in my view, the best part of having a dog.
Thirdly, grooming is another important aspect of Labrador care. They have a thick double coat that sheds a lot, especially during the changing seasons. To keep Ellie’s coat shiny and healthy, I brush her every few days with a slicker brush to remove any loose hair and dirt.
I also wash her around once a month with a sensitive skin dog shampoo and conditioner to keep her clean and moisturised. Labradors don’t need to bathe too often, as it can strip away their natural oils and cause dryness or irritation – a cost saving bonus!
I also check Ellie’s ears every fortnight and clean them gently with a cotton ball and a dog ear cleaner to prevent any infections or wax buildup. Ellie gets a dental treat every day or two to help her chew and clean her teeth, and I brush her teeth with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste once a week to prevent any plaque or tartar formation. When neccessary, we clip her nails at home as well but find that they naturally grind down on the pavement during our walks.
Lastly, I give Ellie a monthly tablet to protect her from worms, fleas and ticks, and I visit the vet regularly to make sure she is up to date with all of her vaccinations.
Another big expense of owning a Labrador is vet bills. They can be very costly if your dog gets sick or injured, especially if they need surgery or medication. That’s why I have pet insurance for Ellie, which covers most of her medical expenses in case of an emergency.
To make the insurance cheaper, I chose a higher excess of $700, which means I have to pay that amount out of pocket before the insurance kicks in. To cover the excess, I have a separate emergency fund that I set up specifically for Ellie. Every week, I transfer some money into Ellie’s bank account for any of her regular expenses or emergencies. This way, I always have enough money saved up for Ellie’s needs.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about how to care for your Labrador on a budget. Ellie is more than just a pet to me; she is part of my family and my best friend. She deserves the best care possible, but that doesn’t mean I have to spend a fortune on her. With some planning, research and creativity, I can keep Ellie healthy and happy without breaking the bank.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to save? Let me know in the comments below!