We’re facing ruff times here in the UK. With soaring rates of inflation, British households are suffering unprecedented income cuts, escalating energy bills and pawsitively horrifying petrol costs. As for food, inflation is the highest it’s been for 13 years and it’s not just butter we can’t afford. While millions of families struggle to feed themselves, the cost of pet food and vet bills is forcing some to give up their beloved furry friends. It doesn’t help that the price of dog food has risen by more than 16.75% over a year. At THE PACK we are doing our very best to keep our prices as affordable as possible and while other dog food brands have increased their prices we have kept ours the same. We want to offer you stability at a time when you most need it, now more than ever.
Below, we’ve put together some top tips for managing the costs of dog guardianship during this challenging year.
1. Insure your dog
The average cost of caring for a small dog is around £50 a month but if your pup gets sick, this cost can soar. A simple MRI scan can set you back a terrier-fying £3,000 and surgeries even more. That’s why it’s so important to buy pet insurance for your dog. It might seem counterintuitive to add an additional cost to your outgoings but paying £15-20 a month for basic coverage could save you a fortune in the long term. Ultimately, you can’t put a price on peace of mind: if your pup gets sick, the last thing you want is the extra worry of how you’ll pay their vet bills.
2. Keep your hound healthy
Insurance is a vital back-up but the best way to save money at the vets is to keep your dog healthy! Feeding a plant-based diet like THE PACK means you avoid the nasties in meat-based pet food. It also gives your pup the best possible chance against two of the main causes of ill-health in dogs: obesity and cancer. From tackling skin problems to easing arthritis, we’ve explored the myriad of health benefits a vegan dog diet can provide, backed up by recent research.
3. Make your own (free) fun!
While we’re talking about health, a great way to get in shape with your hound is to get out and walk. Our dogs are cheap dates: they don’t need a fancy holiday or an expensive day trip. With their sensitive noses, a simple walk is a sensory extravaganza - and it’s a shared adventure that costs absolutely nothing. Why not map out some new areas with your pup and broaden your horizons together? Another way to keep your dog mentally stimulated without breaking the bank is to practice training and tricks with them. Spend some time each day getting that recall pawfect or use a firm cushion to train some basic touch-pad agility. Just make sure you keep your dog’s safety in mind: don’t attempt anything advanced at home!
4. Get inventive with treats
Of course, training means giving out plenty of yummy treats as motivation and reward. While THE PACK try to make our wet food as affordable as possible, we recognise that shop-bought dog treats can significantly add to the cost of feeding your pup. Instead, why not freeze some of your dog’s regular food into Pawsicles or add it to a squeezy tube to treat on the go? You can also bake your own homemade dog biscuits with some basic cheap ingredients. Just blend together two cups of oats, 1/3 cup peanut butter (dog-friendly), a pinch of salt and one large banana. Then add ¼ cup of water, cut and flatten the dough into small biscuit shapes, and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. If you want to get fancy, you can even add a bit of cinnamon! Once cooled, you can keep the biscuits fresh in an airtight container for up to a week, or you can freeze them for up to three months. Other cheap treats include raw carrots, celery, courgettes, small amounts of ripe banana and any other veg your dog loves!
5. Adopt don’t shop
As the cost-of-living crisis forces devastated pawrents to give up their dogs, rescue centres in the UK are at full capacity, some having to turn dogs and cats away. If you’re considering bringing a four-legged friend into your pack, by adopting you won’t just be saving the life of a dog in need, you’ll also be saving precious pennies. While most charities charge a small adoption fee, this is generally a fraction of the price of buying a dog from a breeder (and you can rest easy that you’re not unintentionally supporting a cruel puppy farm). What’s more, adopting a dog instead of a puppy means you won’t have all those extra costs like early vaccinations, neutering, puppy pads and crates. Another option is to foster a dog, giving them a comfortable, loving stop gap while they wait for their fur-ever home. Most charities will pay your fluffy guest’s bills for you, so you get all the benefits of dog guardianship without the financial burden.
At THE PACK, we know that your dog is part of your family and there are many pawrents already making huge sacrifices to keep their pups. If you’re struggling to care for your dog as prices rise, speak with your vet about possible financial support. You can also reach out to charities like the PDSA, Blue Cross and Dog’s Trust who are providing help with vet bills for those in dire straits. If you’re worrying about what the future might hold for your pack, just know that you don’t have to cope alone.