3 Pricey Pet Services You Can Do Yourself

Photo (cc) by sapiamaia

I’m the proud owner of a stubborn dog who’s a little too smart for her own good. She’s definitely the alpha dog in my house, and she knows it. As I’m writing this, she’s strutting around my home office like she pays the rent.

Except she doesn’t pay the rent – I do. I also pay for all her other expenses, which, according to the ASPCA’s Pet Care Costs chart, is about $875 a year.

So while I probably can’t do anything about my pup’s attitude problem, I can do something about the cost of giving her highness a good and healthy life.

The two biggest ways I’ve found to save on her costs is by not paying for the services I can do myself. Here’s what I’ve cut out …

1. Training

Professional trainers and training classes get expensive. Costhelper, a site that compares people’s average costs, has this to say about it:

  • Cost of group classes – $45 to $125 average
  • Cost of private trainers – $30 to $100 per hour, $240 to $600 for six sessions average
  • Obedience boarding school – $950 to $2,500 average

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on training, I trained my dog at home free. And if I can train a giant, stubborn dog to stay when she’s told, anyone can. I learned all of my training techniques online. Here are a few sites worth visiting:

  • WebMD Pets – The pet section of WebMD has great one-minute training videos featuring a certified dog trainer. You won’t learn everything you need to know, but it’s helpful to watch the techniques in action.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder has a training section that covers everything from behavioral problems to basic dog tricks.
  • Perfect PawsPerfect Paws has a ton of helpful articles on positive reinforcement training. They also have a section on how to train cats.

2. Nail clipping

When I first adopted my dog, I was terrified to cut her nails, convinced I would cut into the quick and cause unnecessary pain and a lot of bleeding. So I had the vet cut them – for $43 each session. When that got too expensive, I started visiting a local groomer who charged $5 per nail, or $20 per session. But even at the reduced rate, six visits a year cost $120.

So I learned to trim my dog’s nails myself. The first try didn’t go too well – there was some snarling and lots of apologies – but after viewing a few how-to videos and reading some extremely helpful articles from the ASPCA, I now expertly cut my dog’s nails myself and save that money.

Before you start, check out the Nail Care article from the ASPCA that covers all of the basics you need to know, including buying supplies, proper trimming amounts, and how to handle fear in your dog. Then watch a comprehensive how-to video from the Self-Help Dog Training Blog to get the technique down .

3. Grooming

The American Kennel Club surveyed 1,000 of its online visitors on dog ownership costs. On average, respondents spent $190 a year on grooming.

While I wouldn’t suggest shaving a dog yourself (unless you have experience), you can easily give Fido a bath and eliminate the need for a groomer. I bathe and brush my dog myself using a $7 bottle of shampoo and a $10 professional brush I bought from a groomer. I go through three bottles of shampoo a year. Counting the brush, I spent $31 on supplies the first year, a savings of $159 over a professional groomer.

For help and advice, check out:

By learning to do those three things myself, I save about $400 per year – enough to pay for my dog’s pricey organic food for almost seven months, or buy dozens of toys and handmade treats from the doggie bakery in my neighborhood. I could even do something really crazy and spend some of that money on myself!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created
20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created

Amazon’s growing collection of private brands offers everything from toilet paper and coffee to motor oil and clothing.

11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference
11 Small Money Moves That Will Make a Big Difference

These small money moves will pay off big in the long run.

5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs
5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs

These free apps and websites can help you get cash back on groceries, shop more efficiently or squeeze the most from the ingredients you have on hand.

5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years
5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years

Even if you’re behind in preparing for retirement, there’s still a way to pull together a solid nest egg if you focus.

Never Buy These 19 Things Online
Never Buy These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.